Scripture in Question: Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43
Three of the Gospels tell the story of the healing of two blind men by Jesus in the vicinity of Jericho. The accounts agree in most details regarding this story, though there are a couple of differences which sometimes confuse readers. Matthew states that there were two blind men healed, while Mark and Luke mention only one blind man. Mark and Luke obviously concentrate only on the one blind man who was perhaps the leader of the two.
Seemingly more problematic, Luke says the healing occurred as Jesus was entering Jericho, while Mark and Matthew record it happening as Jesus left Jericho. Although this is often cited as a contradiction within the biblical writings, there are several possible answers to the apparent conundrum.
First, it helps to realize that there were, by Jesus’ time, two Jerichos: the mound of the anciently destroyed city and the later inhabited city of Jericho to its side. So it is possible that Jesus could have healed the two men as He was leaving the area of the ancient city and entering the newer city of Jericho.
Another possibility is that, while Jesus was approaching Jericho, the blind men cried out, but were not heard because of the noise of the crowds. The next day, after Jesus stayed the night in the city, they may have waited on the road leaving Jericho (knowing that Jesus and the other pilgrims were going to Jerusalem for the Passover), and then called out again and more loudly.
Yet another possibility is that the Greek verb engizo, translated “drew near” in Luke 18:35, can also mean “to be near.” There are several instances of the word being used this way in the Septuagint Greek translation of the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 21:3; I Kings 21:2; Jeremiah 23:23, etc.) and in the New Testament, including usage by Luke himself (Luke 19:29, compare Matthew 21:1). Given this understanding, Luke 18:35 can be understood as simply meaning that the healing took place while Jesus was near Jericho.
So there are three viable answers to the apparent discrepancy between Luke and the other Gospel writers regarding the location of the healing of the blind men. While we cannot know which answer is most likely correct, the fact that there are several possible answers discounts any need to see contradiction in the scriptural accounts.