*Minor differences ignored. Grouped by changes, with first version listed as example.
This miracle, which is omitted by the other two Evangelists, appears to have been related by Mark chiefly on account of this circumstance, that Christ restored sight to the blind man, not in an instant, as he was generally accustomed to do, but in a gradual manner. He did so most probably for the purpose of proving, in the case of this man, that he had full liberty as to his method of proceeding, and was not restricted to a fixed rule, so as not to resort to a variety of methods in exercising his power. On this account, he does not all at once enlighten the eyes of the blind man, and fit them for performing their office, but communicates to them at first a dark and confused perception, and afterwards, by laying on his hands a second time, enables them to see perfectly. And so the grace of Christ, which had formerly been poured out suddenly on others, flowed by drops, as it were, on this man. Mark 8:24. I see men. Our Lord had put the question to the blind man for the sake of his disciples, to inform them that the man had received something, but that hitherto nothing more than a slight commencement of the cure had been effected. The reply is, that he sees men, because he perceives some persons walking who are upright like trees By these words he acknowledges that his sight is not yet so clear as to distinguish men from trees, but that he has already obtained some power of seeing, because he conjectures from the motion that those whom he perceives to be in an erect posture are men; and it is in this respect that he says they are like trees We see then that he speaks only by conjecture when he says that he sees men
To Bethsaida - See the notes at Matthew 11:21.
And they bring a blind man unto him - The healing of the blind man of Bethsaida is recorded only by Mark.
Besought him to touch him - That is, to heal him, for they believed that his touch would restore his sight.
They bring a blind man unto him - Christ went about to do good, and wherever he came he found some good to be done; and so should we, if we had a proper measure of the same zeal and love for the welfare of the bodies and souls of men.
(4) And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.
(4) A true image of our regeneration, which Christ, separating us from the world, works and accomplishes in us gradually.
And he cometh to Bethsaida,.... The city of Andrew, Peter, and Philip, John 1:44; a fishing town, which was situated by the sea of Galilee. Beza's ancient copy, and the Gothic version, wrongly read "Bethany". The Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions read, "they came"; Christ, and his twelve apostles, who landed at this place:
and they bring a blind man unto him; for Christ had been here before, and was known by the inhabitants of the place; who, as soon as they heard of his arrival, and knowing what miracles were done by him, brought a poor blind man, of their town, to him, to be cured by him:
and besought him to touch him; having heard of, or seen cures performed by him this way. This man is an emblem of such who are spiritually blind: he had no natural sight at all; he could see nothing; he had not the least glimmering of any thing, until he was touched by Christ: so men, in a state of nature, are quite dark, even darkness itself, until they are made light by the Lord: they have no sight, nor sense of themselves, of their sinful, lost, and dangerous estate and condition they are in; they know not because they are blind, that they are wretched, and poor, and miserable, and naked: they have no sight of Christ, neither of the glory of his person, nor of the fulness of his grace, nor of the nature, necessity, and suitableness of his salvation: they are quite blind as to any saving knowledge of God in Christ, the way of life and peace by him, and the work of the Spirit of God upon the soul; or with regard to any spiritual experience of the power of Gospel truths, or views of the glories of another world: and as this man seemed to be unconcerned himself about the cure of his blindness, only his friends were affected with his case, and brought him to Christ, and solicited a cure, so it is with unregenerate men, they are insensible of their case, and so thoughtless of it, and unaffected with it, and do not, of themselves, seek for a deliverance out of it; nor do they make use of means for that purpose; but it becomes their friends, relations, and acquaintance, that are spiritual, who know their case, and their need of Christ, and his grace, to bring them to him under the means, and pray unto him, that he would put forth the mighty power of his grace upon them, and give them spiritual sight to see in what a lost condition they are, and their need of him.
Here is a blind man brought to Christ by his friends. Therein appeared the faith of those that brought him. If those who are spiritually blind, do not pray for themselves, yet their friends and relations should pray for them, that Christ would be pleased to touch them. The cure was wrought gradually, which was not usual in our Lord's miracles. Christ showed in what method those commonly are healed by his grace, who by nature are spiritually blind. At first, their knowledge is confused; but, like the light of the morning, it shines more and more to the perfect day, and then they see all things clearly. Slighting Christ's favours is forfeiting them; and he will make those who do so know the worth of privileges by the want of them.
He cometh to Bethsaida. Near the mouth of the upper Jordan into the lake. It was upon the eastern bank of the river. The account of the miracle that follows is only given by Mark.
And they bring a blind man unto him. The people, not the disciples, brought him. He was brought (1) either because he could not find the way alone, or (2) because he had not faith that would induce him to go, and so was brought by the faith of his friends. This man was not born blind. He had evidently seen men and trees aforetime.
*More commentary available at chapter level.