There is a story in the book of Mark (Chapter 18) about a blind man being taken by the hand and lead outside of the city of Bethsaida. Mark is the only author of the Gospels to give this account.
It is a curious story for two reasons. First, Jesus heals the man in two parts, this is uncommon. Second, he leads the man outside the city.
Mark's placement of the account gives us a better understanding. He is using it as an illustration. Jesus asks in verse 21, "How is it that you still do not understand?"
Then immediately following the account Jesus asks his disciples, "Who do people say that I am?" He follows this question up with, "Who do you say that I am?" Peter answers correctly. "You are the Christ."
According to Matthew's account (16:13-20) Jesus affirms Peter, ". . . flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my father who is in heaven."
Jesus spits on the blind man's eyes and puts his hands on him. He then asks what he can see. The blind man replies,
"I see men, as trees, walking."
In the past, Jesus has been able to heal with a word, or from far off, his presence was not required. Here, he makes a point to touch the man and use his spit. Perhaps his spit was used to clean the man's eyes of hardened puss to release his eyelids. We can draw many applications, but I believe Mark is showing the intimate approach Jesus uses to heal this man.
Jesus now puts his hands on the man and directs him to look up. The man is then able to see clearly and understand.
The disciples were not understanding Jesus' purpose, The religious leaders did not understand the true intention of God. The people did not understand What Jesus was creating. Finally, Jesus asks, "Who do you say that I am?" The answer comes from God, not from man. "You are the Christ."
Salvation is a process. An intentional process. Paul writes about us being babies in the faith, needing milk, not yet ready for solid food (1 Corinthians 3:1). When we first come to Christ, we are not ready for solid food. We see, " . . . men, as trees, walking."
We continue in our faith, continue to study scripture, spending time with Christ, staying in step with the Spirit, and allowing him to continue his work in our lives until we see clearly.
Jesus lead the man outside of the town and commanded him to tell no one. We cannot be certain why, but perhaps not to excite the people. Perhaps not to give his enemies a reason to take him on accusations of sedition. The Pharisees had been asking for a sign causing Jesus to 'sigh deeply in his spirit (v.12).' Perhaps, this was a moment for his disciples and this blind man alone.
Mark uses this miracle as an illustration of our blindness. We are easily distracted by our appetites. We are easy to make sense of the world on our terms, the 'desires of the flesh.'
We see trees walking.
In His service and yours,