Jesus heals a blind man
22: And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. 23: And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. 24: And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. 25: After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. 26: And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town.
Peters declaration – Christ
27: And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am? 28: And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets. 29: And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ. 30: And he charged them that they should tell no man of him.
Jesus predicts his death
31: And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32: And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. 33: But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men. 34: And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35: For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. 36: For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37: Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 38: Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
Here we have a miracle of Christ in two stages. Spittle in the ancient world was symbolic of the essential essence of man. Christ in using spittle was touching him with the lowest touch of humanity but it was also in the power of the Holy Spirit. What a wonderful thing Christ did for this poor man. The first touch brought sign but it was unclear sign then the Lord asked him what he saw and he said l see man as trees walking. His sight was still very unclear. So the Lord touched him again and he saw clearly. The first touch was grace and second touch was glory. We who have been touched by Grace do not see all things clearly but one day everything will become clear in the presence of Christ. Christ was bringing the discipleship of the disciples to a culmination. He asked them who do men say l am? They answered some say John the Baptist Elijah or one of the prophets. Then Christ homed in but who do you say l am? Peter spoke up for the group. You are the Messiah, he said. At this stage of Christ’s ministry he did not want his Messianic claims to be published aboard. That is why the blind man and the disciples were to keep this to themselves. From this point onward, Christ would reveal for the first time the second stage of his ministry – the cross. All the preaching and teaching up until now had centred on the Messiahs call to Israel to return unto the Lord their God but now having rejected him he turns to face the cross. And so the ministry of Christ had two stages. The Son of Man came to seek and to save them that were lost and to give his life a ransom for many. The first part of Christ’s ministry was left unfinished, (The Apostles would continue this in their ministry recorded in The Acts of the Apostles) The second part of Christ’s ministry was begun and finished on the Cross. All the preaching of the Gospel of the kingdom had no cross element in it. It was not a call to salvation from Sin but that Israel might return from their state of backsliding. Peter took the Lord aside to rebuke him! But Christ rebuked him saying that his thinking was of the Devil and that the cross was his goal. Then Christ called them altogether asking that they might follow him to the cross. At the time of Christ’s suffering they all forsook him, (It was not their time to die) but later they all, except perhaps John, followed him to martyrdom.