22 When they came into Bethsaida, a group brought a blind man to Jesus, and they begged Him to touch the man and heal him. 23 So Jesus guided the man out of the village, away from the crowd; and He spat on the man’s eyes and touched them.
Jesus: What do you see?
Blind Man(opening his eyes):24 I see people, but they look like trees—walking trees.
25 Jesus touched his eyes again; and when the man looked up, he could see everything clearly.
26 Jesus sent him away to his house.
Jesus(to the healed man): Don’t go into town yet. [And don’t tell anybody in town what happened here.][a]
Bethsaida is the hometown of at least three of Jesus’ emissaries—Peter, Andrew, and Philip—and possibly James and John as well. Jesus performs many miracles there, most notably the feeding of the 5,000. However, this miracle—the healing of the blind man—is the only miracle in all the Gospels that is done in stages instead of instantly.
Of course, there’s no way to know for sure why Jesus chooses to heal this man partly before He heals him entirely. Jesus frequently links faith, or lack of faith, with the healings. Bethsaida is a town He criticizes for its lack of faith (Matthew 11:21–22). So it’s likely He wants to demonstrate to His disciples that their inability to see His purpose can be healed, too, even if it takes time.
27 As He traveled with His disciples into the villages of Caesarea Philippi, He posed an important question to them.
Jesus: Who do the people say that I am?
28 They told Him about the great speculation concerning His identity.
Disciples: Some of them say You are John the Baptist,[b] others say Elijah, while others say one of the prophets of old.
Jesus(pressing the question):29 And who do you say that I am?
Peter: You are God’s Anointed, the Liberating King.
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