The healing of the blind man at Bethsaida is the first of only two healings of blindness in the Gospel of Mark. Jesus' first attempt at healing fails, and it takes a second touch after the man says, "I can see people, but they look like trees, walking" (8:24). Perhaps the incomplete effect of Jesus' first attempt explains why this is one of the few stories in Mark that does not appear in either Matthew or Luke. When the story concludes, the man "saw everything clearly" (8:25), meaning that at last he could see from afar. Jesus is the only one who is able to heal sight in such a way that we too might "see from afar" the way of the cross and resurrection, which is the central focus of Mark's second major section.
22 They came to Bethsaida. Some people* brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him.
23He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when he had put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, Can you see anything?
24And the man* looked up and said, I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.
25Then Jesus* laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
26Then he sent him away to his home, saying, Do not even go into the village.*
New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org
10 February 2011