Stained glass, All Saints, Nazeing

Stained glass, All Saints, Nazeing (Photo credit: TheRevSteve)

Jesus and his followers came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch the man. So Jesus held the blind man’s hand and led him out of the village. Then he spit on the man’s eyes. He laid his hands on him and asked, “Can you see now?”

The man looked up and said, “Yes, I see people. They look like trees walking around.”

Again Jesus laid his hands on the man’s eyes, and the man opened them wide. His eyes were healed, and he was able to see everything clearly. Mark 8:22-25 Easy-to-read Version

What’s going on here? Why did Jesus have to lay His hands on this man twice to restore his vision? At first glance, it seems like Jesus had to double the amount of power before the miracle could be finished. But that doesn’t match the limitless power of God!

When I was growing up, I only thought how fun it would be to see “trees walking.” The story is part of the 6% of the book by Mark not repeated by the other gospels so it’s easy to miss. But, there is so much we can learn from it!

Seems like the only explanation I ever heard from a pastor or Sunday school teacher was that maybe the man didn’t have much faith, so it was his fault Jesus had to do it twice. But there are no signs of this in the passage. In fact, you see Jesus expecting the man not to see properly.

Years later, I read an article on doctors restoring sight to the blind. The more I read the more I recognized what Jesus was doing.

Baby Colt 3

Baby Colt 3 (Photo credit: xopherlance)

When a baby is born, they spend the first year building brain connections like crazy. Even a newborn who seems to do nothing but sleep, eat, and fill their diaper is developing nerves they will use their whole life. The more interactions they have with people and objects, the more brain connections they make.

These connections don’t have a chance to form when a baby is born blind; the part of their brain designed to help them understand what they see has nothing to do. We’ve found they start using this area to help them understand language and even to read Braille. But their brain never practices figuring out what their eyes see.

Jesus designed our eyes and brains. He knew how big a task it was to heal this man and apparently decided to use him to prove He knew. When He first spit on the man (I wonder if this means Jesus didn’t have any bad germs in His mouth?) and put His hands on him, He healed him perfectly. The man’s eyes were able to instantly see 20/20 or better.

But Jesus didn’t heal the man’s brain and He made sure the disciples and everyone who read the Bible would know it by asking what the man could see. Then, He touched him again and instantly gave the man all the brain connections he needed to perfectly interpret what his eyes were telling him.

Blind children and teachers at work!.

Blind children and teachers at work!. (Photo credit: Community Eye Health)

Jesus was way ahead of His time. In 1688, a man named William Molyneux wondered what would happen if something like this occurred. He realized sight is a complex thing. It took over 300 years before doctors could answer his question.

No, it isn’t an automatic thing for the brain to interpret images, but the younger a person is when they gain vision, the better their chances.

At least one adult has learned to get around pretty well with her new vision, but it will never match what a person who has seen since infancy can understand. This is why doctors are extra careful to screen babies for vision problems. If there is something wrong which can be corrected, like cataracts at birth, they usually try to take care of them within 3 months.

Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.  John 9:32,33

This is still true. These men not only had eyes to see but a brain to understand!

For more, check out Out of darkness, sight: How the Brain learns to see

Creation Ministries International:  Walking trees … Modern science helps us understand a puzzling miracle


Cheri Fields

I'm a homeschooling blogger and book writer. The gift God has given me for His kingdom is to understand complex stuff (mostly) and share it with others using everyday words. It is a joy to share God's wonders with all kinds of people and especially the next generation!


BibleScienceGuy · at

Very interesting post!!! Fascinating point suggesting Jesus’ two treatments may have been successive healings of the eyes and the brain.

Too bad Mark didn’t say whether or not the man had been born blind. It seems that he may not have, since he had some visual recognition of trees and people.

The volume on Mark by Rev. G. A. Chadwick (published 1887-88) in “The Expositor’s Bible” series of commentaries also gives this explanation of Jesus’ actions.

I think the miracle is also a good spiritual analogy. When the Holy Spirit first regenerates us, we often “see” very confusedly. As He continues His sanctifying work, we “see” better and better.

    Cheri-CreationScience4Kids · at

    Thanks for sharing! I like the Holy Spirit analogy. It is possible the man had once been sighted, but it also isn’t too hard to picture someone who had experienced trees without seeing them knowing something was still wrong with his sight. People today know they aren’t seeing as well as others when this occurs.
    I’d not heard of anyone else who saw the same phenomenon as I did. Being a Bible scholar is indeed good for the intellect. 🙂

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