A unique miracle that differs from all others

“And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town,” Mark 8:22-26.

A feature of the gospel of Mark is the ‘immediacy’ of the Saviour’s responses to the requests for help and mercy that came to Him.

An example of this is seen in the previous chapter. “And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain,” Mark 7:33-35.

Please note the word ‘straightway’! It is a translation of the Greek word, ‘eutheos’. This word is also translated by the English words ‘immediately’ and ‘forthwith’. The words underline the urgent and immediate response of the Saviour to the needs of men and women. However, in the record of this miracle there is a two-stage working by which the man’s sight was restored.

Now all the actions and words of Christ are written down “for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope,” Romans 15:4. There is divine wisdom behind this change in methodology of the Lord Jesus in healing this man from his blindness.


“And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand,” Mark 8:22-23.

1. It was the kind hands of those who desired God’s blessing for this man that led him to the Saviour. Doubtless, it was the man’s family and friends that acted so. The Saviour had been in Bethsaida before and the people were aware of His mercy and power to heal and to bless. The disciples had been earlier directed by the Lord to sail over to Bethsaida. “And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people,” Mark 6:45. That followed the miraculous feeding of the five thousand, verses 37-44. The disciples did sail across, experiencing the mighty power of Christ to save them from the power of a storm, verses 47-51.

And so they came to Bethsaida. “And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore. And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him, and ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole,” Mark 6:53-56.

When He makes this return visit, the friends of the blind man, with haste, avail themselves of this wonderful opportunity to do their loved one good!

How many in heaven are there because of the kind hands of loved ones drawing them to the Saviour. It is not always so of course. In my own experience, it was the witness of young lassies I had never met before, especially one of them, called Hazel. They testified of the Lord Jesus to me and a friend, Albert, on a train travelling to Portrush on ‘Good Friday’, March 27th, 1964. Hazel’s final words to me as I exited the train in Portrush were, “You have mocked what we told you, but remember the Lord has said, “My spirit shall not always strive with man.” I had no idea where those words were found but just over a week later the Lord used them to bring me to Himself. That was on April 5th, a Sabbath day.

Doubtless, the prayers of my father and mother had a vital part in my conversion but it was the kind words of that young lassie which was the direct means the Lord used to awaken my soul and ‘open’ my eyes.

For the blind man whose blindness is wonderfully banished in the record before us, I believe it was the hands of a friend which led him to the Saviour.

2. Please note the element of ‘privacy’ in this miracle. “And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town.” How secret is the working of the Lord Jesus in the lives and hearts of those He deems to bless. We may testify of God’s mercy but there is that which will forever be known only to Him and ourselves, if only because of the difficulty we have in fully explaining ALL that the Lord has done for us.

As the old Christian lady long ago said: ‘It is better ‘felt’ than ’telt’. It is indeed so!

3. It was by the kind hand of Christ that he was led into the light! The Saviour took over from his friends and “took the blind man by the hand.” He who could not see was thus brought out of darkness. But the miracle differs from other miracles in a significant way. His sight was restored in two stages. At the first, he replies to the Saviour’s question, “if he saw ought”, “I see men as trees, walking.” Then we read, “After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.” His sight was perfectly and fully restored.

What is the Lord seeking to teach us here?


1. The Saviour uses His hand and His mouth. “He . . . spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him.” Often times we see the Saviour use no ‘visible’ means of working a miracle. It was so in the case of the “Syrophenician” woman’s daughter, whom He delivered from the power of the devil even though He was nowhere near her when she was delivered. “And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed,” Mark 7:29-30.

2. Here He uses two means. The hand of the Lord denotes His communicating to us His power to bless. “Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments,” Exodus 6:6. How often, Christian, the Lord has stretched out His arm and placed His hand upon our lives to bless us! As it was with Israel in this verse, so it has often been with all of His redeemed.

Burdens are lifted, blind eyes made to see.
There’s a wonder working power
in the blood of Calvary!

3. The mouth of the Lord, from which He ‘spits’ upon the eyes of the man, is likewise a source of healing, saving power. “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”1 Peter 1:23-25.

The same power that has healed this blind man, is to be experienced today from the mouth of the Lord Jesus, under the preaching of His Word when it is believed and received. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name,” John 1:12.

Thus every Christian experiences that which this man experienced!


1. It is to be recognised that while spiritual sight is immediately given by the Saviour, it was not fully developed. There obviously was a lack of total clarity in this man’s vision for he said, “I see men as trees, walking”. It is only after the second touch of the Saviour’s hands that his sight is fully granted. “After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.”

2. In like manner, we have a constant need of further touches from the Lord in order that our sight be further enhanced. Sadly, there are ‘motes’ in our eyes that need casting out in order for us to see fully and clearly. This a progressive process. Yes, the man’s eyes immediately began to function and light entered but there was a further work to be done by the Saviour. As at the first when we are converted, we have but a very slight view of things, particularly of Christ, the glory and fulness of his person, the efficacy of his blood, the excellency of his righteousness, of his ability, willingness, and suitableness as a Saviour; and of those doctrines of the Gospel, that are more sublime and glorious. But as this man afterwards had a more clear, and distinct view of objects; so it is with true believers in Christ; their shining light increases, and shines “more and more unto the perfect day,” Proverbs 4:18.

Consider these verses.

“I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon,” Hosea 14:5.

“But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall,” Malachi 4:2.

“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ,” Ephesians 4:15.

“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God,” Colossians 1:10.

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby,” 1 Peter 2:2.

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time,” 1 Peter 5:6. “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen,” 2 Peter 3:18.

Those are a few of the verses in God’s Word which indicate that grace works progressively and brings about advancement gradually. Indeed, we can never know full clarity of vision until that day when “he shall appear, (and) we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is,” 1 John 3:2.

3. Further down this chapter in Mark’s gospel, we see a perfect exposition of that which is set forth typically in this miracle. “And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ,” Mark 8:29. Here is Peter displaying the sight that God has granted to him. In Matthew’s gospel, these words follow Peter’s confession. “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven,” Matthew 16:17.

The word ‘revealed’ carries the meaning of ‘the lifting of a veil’.

Yes, Peter’s eyes were opened to divine truth but he did not see everything clearly as yet!

“And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men,” Mark 8:31-33.

Peter had not a full understanding of the purpose of God in Christ. He, as it were, saw “men as trees, walking”.

I have no doubt that in working this miracle as He did and departing from His usual methodology, the Lord Jesus was setting forth a wonderful lesson for us all.

Humbly, we must acknowledge that we are like the Corinthians in many ways of whom Paul said: “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able,” 1 Corinthians 3:2.

Let us heed the words of Peter, already quoted, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.”

There are many things yet for us to see. May the Lord gives us the desire of the Psalmist who prayed: “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law,” Psalm 119:18.


Rev Ivan Foster (Rtd)
28th July 2023