In our Bible Study last Wednesday, I wasn't happy with our understanding of this chapter the previous week and I thought we were missing something. It seemed odd that Jesus spoke of a leaven out of context with no explanation. That a healing of a blind man was inserted randomly. So we revisited this and as a group we saw something we thought remarkable.
11 And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him. 12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.
By "generation" Jesus is using the word to mean "type" just like we'd say "the new generation Lincoln is better than the previous", etc. Their type, having unbelief, will not recognize the signs in front of them, healings, earthquakes and resurrections! They are Blind!
13 And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side.
14 Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf.
15 And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.
16 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread. They are focused on the things of this world, not the world Jesus is trying to get them to see. What is the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod?
Leaven is representative of sin. In this case, the sin is unbelief that Jesus is the Messiah, or even more, the Son of God.
17 And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened?
18 Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? 19 When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve. 20 And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven. 21 And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand?
He's asking if they are blind!
22 And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.
Now in the middle of this chapter on belief we have a blind man as an example. Coincidence? I think not.
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.
Could Jesus not heal him completely the first time? Are you kidding me?
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.
My best friend, years ago, shared with me an article his daughter had shown him. It was the medical record of a man whose sight had been given to him by surgery. Link here The man, upon seeing for the first time, saw men as trees. The fact was that he could see, but could not interpret what he saw. This was also true of the blind man Jesus healed. It's not enough to see. He needed a touch from Jesus to have understanding.
We as humans can see, but our spiritual understanding is not clear until we get a touch from Jesus.
In the rest of the chapter, Peter shows some understanding as to who Jesus is ("You are the Christ") and then quickly demonstrates he has no understanding as he rebukes Jesus for foretelling His death and resurrection. Peter will understand later.
After he meets Jesus at the cross and gets his touch at Pentecost.