September 8, 2002 / Volume 2, Issue 36
THE ATHEIST'S COMPLAINT:
Matthew reports two blind men healed at Jericho (Matthew 20:29-30), but Mark says there was only one (Mark 10:46-47). Is there a contradiction?
Let us look at the passages in question:
Now as they went out of Jericho, a great multitude followed Him. And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, "Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!"
Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
This week's supposed contradiction is parallel to last week's. By looking at the context of these two accounts, it is evident that the same event is being described by the writers. Again, as with last weeks' Answering The Atheist, Matthew mentions two men, this time who are blind, while Mark speaks only of one blind man. The apparent discrepancy is easily explained. Matthew would have been with the Lord, and was very specific in mentioning the fact that there were two blind men present, but did not give a specific detail which Mark provides. Mark was not present with the Lord, but writing of the incident as directed by the Spirit reveals that one of the men who called to Jesus was Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus. Perhaps to avoid confusion for the reader, Mark does not mention the second blind man.
For an present day illustration of this point, see last week's Answering the Atheist, September 1, 2002.
There is no contradiction.
This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible