Problem: Jesus healed one or two blind men
Verses: Matthew 20:30, Mark 10:46, Luke 18:35; Status: Minor

Mark tells us that Jesus healed a blind man as he left Jericho. Mark 10:46 tells us who he was:

And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. (ESV)

Luke 18:35 agrees with Mark that there was only one blind man:

As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. (ESV)

However, in Matthew we have two blind men. This is Matthew 20:29-30:

And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!" (ESV)

It's open to you to say that Mark and Luke do not explicitly rule out the presence of the second one that Matthew mentioned. Still, the natural reading of Mark and Luke is that there is just one man.

Looking Unto Jesus claims that Matthew's gospel is more accurate, since Matthew was an apostle of Jesus and was actually present at the incident; however the mainstream view of academic Biblical scholarship is that the gospel of Matthew was not written by the apostle Matthew. Indeed, it's very well established that the author of Matthew used Mark as a source, which he wouldn't have had to do if he had actually been an eye-witness to the life of Jesus. If you want a convincing argument for the primacy of Mark, see Fatigue in the Synoptics, a serious work that far surpasses us amateurs.

Updated: Summer 2008

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