Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
(Mark 8:25 NIV)
Look up at the sky before or during a storm. What you’ll find are dense clouds covering every inch of the sky. No blue in sight. Probably no sun.
From the ground, there’s no way you can see what’s on the other side.
Different seasons in our lives can often feel this way. There may be times we encounter long, painful, and slow seasons. Seasons where we’re not just waiting for change but we need a change. A miracle, breakthrough, healing–an answer.
Seasons where the “other side” seems further and further from our grasp. Times when you have been praying about an unchanging situation for days, weeks, months, and years.
What happens when God doesn’t respond right away?
In Mark 8:22-26, we encounter a blind man in need of healing. However, instead of instantly healing him at once, Jesus heals him in two steps. In this prolonged moment, Jesus shows that the real process of restoration is way beyond our perception of time.
Early in this passage, we learn that this man is in dire need of healing. After Jesus arrives in the village of Bethesda, verse 22 states, “and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.” This man’s condition was in need of healing to the point that others brought him to Jesus, begging for healing.
The first time Jesus heals him, the process is incomplete:
“He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, ‘Do you see anything?’ He looked up and said, ‘I see people; they look like trees walking around’” (23-24).
It isn’t until the second time that the man’s vision is completely restored:
“Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Jesus sent him home, saying, ‘Don’t even go into the village’” (25-26).
Now, what can we learn about healing in this two-step miracle?
1. Be Bold in Your Approach
A key moment is how this passage begins–the people go to Jesus for the healing. It’s apparent this is a situation that only He could fix–and they know that. In fact, they probably had witnessed the feeding of the 5,000 which took place near Bethesda (from earlier in the chapter). Thus, He is more than capable.
What are your deepest needs? No matter what state you’re in, you can bring your biggest burdens to God. The first step is to approach Him, and come as you are.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve done it all before. It doesn’t matter if you’ve prayed before or hoped before. The people beg Jesus to heal this man. I don’t believe God demands that you must beg Him for your prayers to be heard. Instead, I believe He’s asking that you come with the right posture.
These people knew that taking the time to bring this man to Jesus was worthwhile. And so, “begging” here is not remaining hopeless in doubt, feeling sorry for yourself, or abandoning all hope that God can even work. Instead, it’s bringing a hopeless situation to the One who can restore the hope. It implies a continual asking, a continual faith that God will open a door.
How persistent is your faith? Do you believe that God can provide a way–whatever way that may be? Or have you left faith behind long ago?
2. Draw Near and Stay Near
One of the most fascinating aspects of this miracle is the place Jesus chooses to heal this man: Alone.
Jesus takes this man away from the crowd. This miracle isn’t about displaying an entertaining spectacle. He’s about to do something new in this man’s life. And this is a journey that is personal (not just physical). It’s between this man and God.
Next, when Jesus begins to heal this man, He takes a very organic, personal approach. He spits in his eyes and lays His hands on him. Strange, huh? However, this method requires nearness, and it requires trust.
Jesus could have easily spoken a healing into existence. (I mean, God simply said, “Let there be light,” and suddenly the world had light.) However, Jesus reaches this man in a way that could be felt. Although blind, this man could feel Jesus’ touch–and touch is the primary way he experiences the world without vision. God knows your experiences. He knows your past, present, and future thoughts and actions. The healing He provides is personal, and He wants to reach you in a way that only you can be reached.
Additionally, this man could feel the touch of Jesus because he chooses to stay near Him. I’m sure he didn’t expect a little saliva in the process, but he allows Jesus to work anyway. In other words, he trusts the method.
Not only that, but in order for Jesus to finish His work, the man has to remain with Him. This way, Jesus could touch him again, as He places His hands back on his eyes. If the man left prematurely, dissatisfied with the blurry vision he has (v. 24), he would continue living with limited perception and an incomplete miracle.
3. Be Ready to Change Your Course
So, the first time around, the man’s vision isn’t completely restored. As he reports, he sees people but as trees. His sight begins to be restored, but his vision is blurry.
There’s something interesting about this moment: There’s an interaction between this man and Jesus–a conversation. Jesus asks him what he sees, and the man hears Him, replies, and reveals that his vision is blurry. With another touch, Jesus opens his eyes fully.
As we undergo a process of healing and restoration, we still have access to Jesus. He doesn’t leave in the middle of a miracle, even if the process seems to take longer than we’d like. Truth is, we don’t know the steps of the process, but we have a Savior who doesn’t leave our side. We can communicate with God, tell Him what we see or have trouble seeing, and He can work with us to sharpen our vision.
It takes a gentle touch from Jesus to open this man’s eyes. Are you so focused on chasing your own solutions that you’re running away from God’s touch? Are you so focused on what you’re not seeing that you’re not allowing God to transform you?
You can expect God to change your course. At the end of the healing, Jesus tells the man to return home–but not through the village. Instead, he’s instructed to take a different route.
True healing isn’t just external but internal. Take a moment to pause, and return to Jesus. When we remain near the Lord, we can expect an active God who interacts with us. We can hear Him, speak to Him, and be directed to the next phase.
So, maybe breakthrough sometimes comes in steps. And that’s okay.
This man at Bethesda is a miracle that challenges our perception of time, healing, and the process of restoration.
Maybe God is trying to change more than just your situation right now. More than anything, He’s concerned with your heart. Any healing without complete transformation is a temporary fix. When we allow God to complete His perfect work, our healing–be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual–will be an everlasting one that changes our life.
If this man abandoned God at some point in the process, he would have missed out on receiving clear vision. Allow the Lord to take you through the full process. Abandon any habits, doubts, and behaviors that may be hindering your reliance on Him.
Continue inviting God to do His work. There may be times when you can’t see past the cloudiness in life, but there’s Someone above the clouds who’s ready to give you a better perspective.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.
(Psalm 138:8 ESV)
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