Revelations from the Word

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Do not enter into the village

by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touchand heal him. So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spat on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he could see [blepo] anything. And he looked up [blepo] and said, I see [horao] men like trees, walking. Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up [ana-blepo, recover ones sight]. And he was restored [apocathistemi] and saw [em-blepo, stared at] everyone clearly. Then He sent him home, saying, Don't go into the town, or tell anyone there" (Mark 8:22-26).

The Greek verb blepo means 'to see', 'to discern', as well as 'to see with the spirit' (in the mind's eye); whereas the Greek verb horao means 'to see with the eyes', 'to see in the usual way'. Jesus led the blind man out of the village in order to lay hands on him to heal him. But the blind man did not see distinctly, that is why He had to lay hands on him a second time. The tree represents man; thus, the righteous man is seen as a palm tree planted in the Temple courtyard, "The righteous grow like the palm tree… planted in the house of the Lord, they prosper in the courtyards of our God" (Psalm 92:12-13). The first miracle allows the blind man to see things in a human way, but Jesus wanted to bring him to the place where he could see things distinctly and spiritually. In the same way He wants us to leave the courtyard in order to enter the Holy place, then the Holy of Holies.

When he met Jesus, the blind man was in the town. The town represents the place where the Pharisees exercised their power and sowed their leaven of unbelief (Mark 8:11,15). The first miracle did not allow the blind man to see clearly, and this was because of human Tradition which weighed upon him. The disciples were like the blind man, for Jesus said to them, "Do you not see [blepo]?" (Mark 8:18). They needed another miracle for their eyes to open spiritually, they needed a divine answer to the question, "Who do you say that I am?" (Mark 8:29). Through the healing of the blind man, Jesus therefore showed His disciples that they also were influenced by the leaven of the Pharisees.

The verb apocathistemi is translated by 'to heal', but literally it means 'to restore to the initial state', 'to re-establish', as it appears in the verses, "re-establish all things" (Matthew 17:11) and "re-establish the kingdom of Israel" (Acts 1:6). So the first miracle has re-established natural sight and the second, spiritual sight, that which man had in his original state in the Garden of Eden, thus allowing the blind man to see the Kingdom of God. It was only after having done that, that Jesus was able to truly explain to His disciples the spiritual purpose of His death in Jerusalem. In our spiritual conversion we often stop in 'the courtyard' or in 'the Holy place', and we live out the spiritual in the flesh, contenting ourselves with human traditions. But Jesus wants more, which is why He asks us, as He asked the blind man, not to return to 'our village'. The healing of the blind man is metaphor of new birth.