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Gospels and the Jericho Blind Man/Men

July 10, 2011
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I’m back now from my month-long hiatus. I really do want to more thoroughly analyze the Passion Story in the Gospels. I should start off by amending what I had written last time: Mark 14:20 is hardly definite that there was only one other disciple “dipping in the dish” with Jesus. Matthew 26:23 does, however, nearly say this. I suppose Christians will try to pretend that’s not what it means, and since it’s not completely direct about it, I can’t be sure myself.

Now I want to back up to the story of the healing of the blind man’s, or blind men’s, sight. I know this isn’t part of the Passion Story, but I was reminded of my desire to comment on it during my study of the Passion Story. It also helps to lead into the “Triumphal Entry” Story, which I want to review.

Healings of blind people are recorded often, in Matthew 9:27-28, 11:5, (curing of demon-caused blindness in 12::22), 15:30, 20:30-34, and 21:14. The stories in chapters 9 and 20, though, are very similar, with the number of men (2), the cry, “Mercy, Son of David,” and the act of just touching their eyes. The story in chapter 20 lacks the “believe/faith” segment, though.

Mark only contains two accounts of healing of blindness. Perhaps this is where Matthew got his two stories. However, the first of these two, in Mark 8:22-26, doesn’t have either the “Son of David” address or a simple touch. Instead, Jesus first spits on his eyes and puts his hands on them twice. (Is this to show that it was the touch and not the spit that made the difference? Why? Both came directly from Jesus. And why would Jesus spit on someone if it was unnecessary? Of course, the touch may have been unnecessary, too.)

Anyway, perhaps the most obvious question is why Matthew includes two blind men in the Jericho scene (chapter 20), whereas Mark (10:46-52) and Luke (18:35-43) only have one. Luke also only has one other incident of healing of blindness (7:21), but it’s much more impersonal than Mark’s and includes “many” people. The one from chapter 18, though, has a “Son of David, have mercy” call, but does not say whether he was healed with a simple touch. Unlike Matthew, Mark and Luke both have a “faith has healed you” comment in the Jericho scene.

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