Mark 8:22-25 and a Question

SUTF 7 healing he blindmanWhat do you think this passage is getting at, with Jesus having to perform the miracle twice before it would work?

Jesus and his disciples came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to Jesus and begged him to touch and heal him.  Taking the blind man’s hand, Jesus led him out of the village. After spitting on his eyes and laying his hands on the man, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” The man looked up and said, “I see people. They look like trees, only they are walking around.” Then Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again. He looked with his eyes wide open, his sight was restored, and he could see everything clearly.

 

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4 thoughts on “Mark 8:22-25 and a Question

  1. Certainly Jesus did not lack the power to heal the man on the first try, nor was Jesus “learning on the job.” I keep thinking about Alexander MacLaren’s take on this:
    “Now I take it that the worthiest view of that strangely protracted process, broken up into two halves by the question that is dropped into the middle, is this, that it was determined by the man’s faith, and was meant to increase it. He was healed slowly because he believed slowly. His faith was a condition of his cure, and the measure of it determined the measure of the restoration; and the rate of the growth of his faith settled the rate of the perfecting of Christ’s work on him. As a rule, faith in His power to heal was a condition of Christ’s healing, and that mainly because our Lord would rather make men believing than sound of body. They often wanted only the outward miracle, but He wanted to make it the means of insinuating a better healing into their spirits. And so, not that there was any necessary connection between their faith and the exercise of His miraculous power, but in order that He might bless them with His best gifts, He usually worked on the principle ‘According to your faith be it unto you.’ And here, as a nurse or a mother with her child might do, He keeps step with the little steps, and goes slowly because the man goes slowly.” – from his sermon, “The Gradual Healing of the Blind Man,” in Expositions of Holy Scripture.

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  2. Very interesting. Does this then have the potential to say that if someone does not get healed that person did not have enough faith, though?

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  3. I do not think that is point of the passage, though faith certainly plays a part in receiving healing. Joe Dongell argued that in John faith is often something that is portrayed as growing or developing in strength and in focus upon its object. I suspect that Jesus is healing the man progressively to work a change in his spiritual condition, not just his physical condition. He is responding to the degree of faith the man has and elicits more trust by healing him partially at first.

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  4. I like the idea that Jesus used physical blindness as a metaphor for spiritual blindness. If that is true, then the miracle here shows how much further the disciples still have to go. They partially see who Jesus is. It is not until Jesus heals Bartimeaus at the end of Chapter 10 and the formerly blind man “follows Him on the way” that the disciples fully understand who Jesus is (since Jesus is the Way and the early Church at the time of Mark’s writing was still called The Way). I find this possibly true, as well, because this miracle comes just before Peter’s confession and rebuke, also showing that the disciples only understand half-way who Jesus is.

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