My father lost his sight after an accident in which he fell and his glasses broke into his eyes. I kind of think that the man in this story also was once able to see, but through some disease or accident lost his eyesight. First, he seemed to know what trees and people were supposed to look like. Second, it says his sight was “restored,” which seems to imply that he used to be able to see.
At any rate, Jesus went through a very interesting process to heal the man. First, he spit in the man’s eyes, and then he touched them. Why did he spit first? One commentary (Adam Clarke’s) says that perhaps it was for the practical purpose of separating the eyelids which may have been gummed together, as can happen in some cases of blindness. After touching the blind man’s eyes, Jesus asked if he could see, at which point the man said he saw people walking around, but they looked like trees. Jesus then put his hands on the man again, and after he did, the man could see clearly.
Just as Jesus gave physical eyesight to this man, so he gives sight to those who are spiritually blind. But as in the case of this man, it can be a process. He first loosens the eyelids by removing their old, sinful way of thinking. Then as he touches them, they begin to see, but not so clearly at first. But at his repeated touch, they come to a place where they can see clearly, and the first thing they see is him. And as he transforms their minds and lives, they are made completely new.
What am I trying to say? Don’t get discouraged if the people seem blind to Jesus and his life-transforming truth. It often takes time before they can see. And remember that you can’t make a person see. Only Jesus can. So keep bringing them before Jesus in prayer, and keep planting the seed.
And by God’s grace, the day will come when they will see clearly.