Welcome to the halfway mark of Lent. If you’re thinking of switching up your Lenten experience and building in something different or new for the second half, that would start tomorrow. 20 days to go!
Mark 8:25 “Then Jesus laid His hands on the blind man’s eyes a second time, and the man looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly.”
Two-stage miracles are not common in the Gospels. This is the only one that Mark records. Usually, Jesus healed people immediately and completely the first time. But on this occasion, it was different.
The crowd at Bethsaida had brought the blind man to Jesus. They begged Jesus to heal the man, either because they loved the man deeply or because they wanted to see something spectacular. There’s reason to believe it was the latter. Everyone likes a good show.
But Jesus took the man outside the village, away from the crowd. He would not give them front-row seats to a circus. Then, in private, He spat on the man’s eyes and touched him and the man’s vision was partially restored. He touched him a second time and the man’s sight returned in full.
I love the story for two reasons.
First, it reminds me that God is no show-pony. We are people not projects to Him. He heals us, not to wow the crowd but because our afflictions matter to Him. Christ comes to us with tenderness, humility, and compassion; not as a boisterous, self-serving ring-master. The crowd may simply use me to titillate their thirst for entertainment. Christ will not.
Second, I’m intrigued that this miracle took two stages. Intrigued, and relieved. I have wanted Christ to fix some of my deepest needs quickly and completely. Instant healing would be great, thank you very much. But the journey of faith typically involves multiple small steps toward change. We don’t usually fall asleep one night and wake up radically transformed the next morning, much as we might like that. Change tends to be incremental; real, true, transformational, but incremental.
When it comes to healing, my experience is more akin to the blind man at Bethsaida than the blind man at Jericho (Mark 10:46-52).
Today, bring your afflictions to Christ. Trust Him. He waits to treat you with grace and gentleness. The miracle will come; perhaps not in a sudden flash but with a gradual awakening. And when it comes, you will be whole.