When Jesus heals the blind man at Bethsaida, he makes mud. Does this signal new creation (as when God created Adam from the earth)? Does it tell us that God can use secondary causes (such as medicine) to fulfill God’s healing purpose?
Is there a connection between Jesus’ healing the blind man and Peter’s confession of faith? What do we learn from the fact that the blind man’s healing was not immediate, but passed through stages?
The disciples' misunderstanding is a theme throughout Mark. It is especially prevalent in this section. In Mark 6, Jesus fed the 5,000. In Mark 8, he feeds the 4,000 and shortly thereafter, the disciples are concerned that they have no bread. The disciples argue about who is greatest, and later, the disciples try to keep the children away from Jesus. Sometimes the disciples’ misunderstanding follows immediately upon great revelation and insight, such as Peter’s confession (Mark 8) and the transfiguration (Mark 9).
Mark told readers who Jesus is in the very first verse (Mark 1:1). We watch the disciples’ struggle and misunderstand, but we know? What is Mark’s purpose: Is he trying to comfort? Warn? What are we to make of the fact that insight into Jesus’ identity is so often accompanied by misunderstanding? How is this like the man born blind?