Also, did this take place on His way to Jericho or from Jericho?
According to the gospel of Matthew, Jesus healed two blind men (Matthew 20), while according to the gospels of Mark and Luke, He healed only one blind man (Mark 10 and Luke 18). The gospel of Luke also states that Jesus was entering Jericho (Luke 18), nevertheless, the gospel of Mark states that Jesus was going out of Jericho.
How can we reconcile the difference between these biblical accounts?
Those who doubt the authenticity of the bible are diligent in searching for any discrepancy that might prove the existence of a contradiction in the bible. Yet they barely exert the same amount of effort to understand the historical and geographical background of the text which explains most of these alleged contradictions. Additionally, they only read the Bible in their own language without returning to the original language in which the Bible was written.
One of the famous events that at first glance might seem confusing or contradicting is the healing of the blind men mentioned in the different gospels. But before getting to that event and explaining it, let’s just illustrate what happened with an example. Imagine a friend of yours who owns two mobile phones and one of them got broken. Later that friend told a group of your friends that he was going to fix his phone. Does that statement make him a liar or contradicting himself? You know that he has two mobile phones and him saying that he was going to fix his phone doesn’t contradict the fact that he still has two phones.
In a similar manner, When Mark and Luke mentioned the event of the blind man healing (the same event mentioned by Matthew due to the use of almost the same words to describe it, hence pointing to the same event), they didn’t mention that there was only one blind man; nevertheless, they focused on the healing of one person as his father was known to the readers at the time. The blind man was Bartimaeus which translates to the “son of Timaeus”. This however does not deny the presence of another blind man.
Mentioning one does not deny or refute the existence of others. In that sense, the mention in Luke and Mark of only one person doesn’t preclude the possibility that there were two blind men. Had they said that only one blind man was healed, then this would have been a contradiction, but that is not the case. There is also another opinion explaining that these two blind men were not together, it is very possible that one was met by Jesus at the beginning of the road, while the other towards the end of the road. Hence, considering them two separate events Mark and Luke only mentioned one; but Matthew mentioned the two.
This leads us to the second alleged contradiction: Was Jesus entering or going out of Jericho?
Between the years 1929 and 1936, the English archaeologist John Gargstang conducted research in Palestine, through which he discovered the existence of two cities with the name of Jericho. One of which is the one whose walls fell before Joshua and the people of Israel (that city was demolished and built several times). And the other is Herod’s Jericho, where the winter palace of Herod is found. It is located southwest of ancient Jericho at about one mile distance. The Jewish historian Josephus spoke of the existence of both cities in his books “The wars of the Jews” and “Antiquities of the Jews”.
Hence, on his way from across the Jordan river heading to Jerusalem, Jesus was going outside of ancient Jericho (according to Matthew) moving towards Herod’s Jericho (according to Luke); that is where he healed two blind men on his way (according to Matthew). One of them was Bartimaeus (according to Mark) and the other was unknown to the readers. It’s also very possible that the two men were about one mile (1500 meters) apart, leading Mark and Luke to consider them as separate events and therefore, mention only one.
This explanation should draw our attention to the importance of understanding the background of the text as well as look for the spiritual, literal and historical meaning behind it.