I think for pretty much everyone reading this devotional, there’s sometimes a sense of frustration with where you are spiritually.
You know where you want to be, perhaps where you ought to be, and then you recognize where you are. It can be discouraging.
But that’s where this interesting story about Jesus comes in. Mark is the only one who records it, and it’s given scholars fits over the years.
Read it carefully, and then let’s reflect on it:
And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. And he sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village” (Mark 8:22-26).
The tough question here has always been, Why did Jesus perform a two-stage healing? Couldn’t He have done it all at once?
I think the answer goes back to what had just happened.
Jesus had mildly chastised the apostles for their slow spiritual growth: “Do you not yet understand?” (v 21).
And then He heals this blind man, but He does it in stages, which He had never done before and never did again.
I think the answer might be that He did it as an object lesson for His discouraged disciples.
They were frustrated at how slowly they were gaining spiritual insight.
By healing the blind man in steps, Jesus showed His disciples that spiritual growth often works the same way.
God heals our spiritual blindness, but the vision develops gradually.
If this interpretation is right, it says a lot about our struggles, and it ought to help our frustration.
God has begun His work in us, but He isn’t done yet.
And He won’t be finished until He sanctifies us completely when He comes back.
So don’t be too hard on yourself. Some days you’ll see clearly, and other days your vision will be murky. It’s all part of God’s continual working in our lives to bring us to perfection in the end.
As the children’s song says,
He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be.
It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars,
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.
How loving and patient He must be, He’s still working on me.