Then (Jesus) came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him and begged Him to touch him. So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything.
And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.”
Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly. (Mark 8:22-25 NKJV)
This story has often made me wonder. It’s the only recorded “partial” healing that I remember seeing in the gospels. Other men were completely healed, but this man was partially healed before he was made whole.
I couldn’t help but wonder why. When the lame wanted to walk, Jesus would say “Get up and make your bed,” and the lame would not only walk, but make his bed – a double portion of healing. Jesus said to the guy with a shriveled hand, “Stretch out your hand,” and the guy did it, completely healed. These people were made complete in one quick action.
So why did this blind man get only a partial healing at first? What would be the point?
Could it be that this man was only partially healed because he really didn’t have enough faith to be completely healed the first time?
In many verses Jesus tells those that He heals that they their “Faith has made them well,” or “According to your faith” you are healed. (Matt 2:29, 9:22; Mark 5:34, 10:52; Luke 8:48, 17:19, 18:24, etc.)
So is it possible that the man was healed according to his faith? If he had partial faith, could he be like the man who wanted his son healed, and be desperate for Jesus to help his unbelief? Could he have had enough faith to be partially healed, so that he could see and have faith that Jesus could heal him completely?
This is a kindness on Jesus’s part if it is so. Some of us might think that the man with partial faith was not deserving of even the partial healing, much less the effort and energy that Jesus took in order to heal him completely. Perhaps there is a lesson in this for us.
There are times when we will come across someone in our lives who has only partial faith in us. They don’t really believe 100% that you can do what you say you can do. This usually leads me to feeling indignant. I want to not bother with showing that person what I can do, because I don’t need them to believe in me.
But Jesus did bother. He stopped, took the man outside of the city, went through the healing ritual twice and the man finally believed enough in order to be healed. And Jesus went through this process for one man, one soul, and only one life.
I don’t know about you, but I feel guilty reading that. There are times when I pass up being a blessing to someone because it would be too much of an inconvenience. It’s an inconvenience I might be willing to go through for two or three people, but for just one?
The thought of this really brings to light the sentiment of the praise and worship songs that talk about how Jesus would have come down from heaven to die on the cross for even just one person, He would have done it. He honestly would have.
I am humbled by the knowledge that You proved Your love even through partial healing and partial faith. If I am to take up my cross and follow You, I need to count the inconvenience as nothing when it comes to bringing one person the love Jesus has for him. By Your grace, I pray you give me the kindness to do as You would. In Jesus Name, Amen.