“And he looked up and said, ‘I see men like trees, walking.'”
When Jesus healed people, they were usually immediately and completely healed. In several instances, He wasn’t even in the presence of the person He healed. Then we come to a curious instance of a healing in the Gospel of Mark. Mark 8:22-25 tells us that Jesus was asked to heal a blind man in Bethsaida. After spitting on His hands and touching the man’s eyes, He asked the blind man if he could see anything. The man announced that people looked like trees. After Jesus touched his eyes again, the man could see clearly.
Why couldn’t Jesus, Who created everything in six days, Who could raise the dead, heal this man instantly and completely? Of course, He could have done that. But He seemingly chose not to. Perhaps He wanted to send a special message to people today. First-century medicine knew of no way to restore sight to those born blind, but modern medicine can sometimes restore the sight of those born blind. On receiving their sight, such people usually suffer from a condition known as agnosia. They can see, but their brains have not yet developed the connections necessary to interpret what they are seeing. Such people often say, when seeing for the first time, that people appear upside down and look like trees. Over time, the connections form between perception and reality.
So the healing of the man born blind was really two miracles. Perhaps Jesus wanted those of us who live in a time when such knowledge is available to recognize that these stories of miracles are not just simplistic stories. They are medically accurate.
Dear Father, I glorify You for preserving Your Word, which tells me of salvation in Jesus Christ. Amen.
Creation, 9/11/99, pp. 54 55, “Walking Trees.” Painting: “Christ Healing the Blind Man” by Andrey Mironov (2009). (CC-BY-SA 4.0)