22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”
24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
Why couldn’t Jesus heal the blind man on the first try? Context, especially in this incident, plays a pivotal role. Let’s take a look and see the verses before the healing of the blind man took place.
14 The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. 15 “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”
16 They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.”
17 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
“Twelve,” they replied.
20 “And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
They answered, “Seven.”
21 He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”
Jesus was trying to teach His disciples what was happening to them in their understanding of God’s Word. Jesus’ healing of the blind man was purposely made in two stages to show His disciples that they were on the first stage like the blind man. In the first stage, the blind man only saw partially but not clear. Jesus’ disciples at the moment only understood partly what Jesus was teaching them. The second stage of the blind’s man healing was to show the disciples that ultimately on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) after they would receive the Holy Spirit they will understand everything that Jesus had taught them as seen in John 14:26 which says, But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. The process of the blind man’s healing was to show them where they were at but He was assuring them through the end result of the man’s healing that they wouldn’t stay with limited understanding for a long time.