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This is a quick healing:

Mark 10:51“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
52“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

But then, we have another episode of healing the blind earlier in Mark 8:

22 When they arrived at Bethsaida, some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.

The people, presumably his friends, believed in Jesus' power to heal just by touching. This episode of healing started out like the one in Matthew 9:2

Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven."

But instead of immediate healing,

23 So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village.

There was a long delay. Jesus led the blind man out of the village. Why didn't he do it on the spot?

Then He spit on the man’s eyes and placed His hands on him.

The friends expected just a simple touching on the blind man's eyes, but Jesus spit on the man's eyes first.

Can you see anything?” He asked.

He asked this wavering question: Can you see anything?! This was a moment of monumental hesitation, dare I say, due to lack of sufficient power?! He didn't need to say that at all in this story and no one would blame him.

24 The man looked up and said, “I can see the people, but they look like trees walking around.”

Apparently, the healing was not quite perfected. It required a second application of dosage.

25 Once again Jesus placed His hands on the man’s eyes, and when he opened them his sight was restored, and he could see everything clearly.

A similar question is asked in In the Gospel of Mark, why does Jesus heal this blind man twice?. The answers brought out some valid spiritual lessons by spiritualizing the episode as a double healing.

I see this as a single healing with a first incomplete attempt. I am not asking what kinds of spiritual or theological lessons can we learn in this episode. I am asking what kinds of spiritual mechanics/dynamics are involved here? Was Jesus tired spiritually? Was Satan there interfering? Was the blind man's faith weak? This episode was unique (or strange) in Jesus' life in terms of the integrity of His power.

Matthew 13:58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

In Mark, the blind man's friends did have faith and begged Him. Yet, Jesus delayed and was hesitant in healing the blind man.

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  • Such supernatural acts are done by the power of God.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 20, 2020 at 20:23
  • I think the question should be put so: if Jesus did the miracles on His own authority without prayers, and, since only God can act so and therefore Jesus is God, then, given that sometimes He heals with touching and other times without touching, can we assume that God's power of doing miracles vacillates from more to less? But it is absurd even to ask such a question, for God's power is infinite and infinity does not have any degrees. Jul 20, 2020 at 20:55
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    Thanks for both comments.
    – Tony Chan
    Jul 20, 2020 at 21:04
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    God is sovereign - He heals each according to his need. The question should be, why did God elect to heal this way for this person - what specific need did it meet?
    – Dottard
    Jul 21, 2020 at 0:45
  • Yes, there was a purpose in this particular demonstration of healing. Jesus turned water into wine, for a purpose. Jesus passed by the sheepgate at Bethesda for a reason. And here, something is being demonstrated in this unique situation. That should be our focus. I suggest a little editing would be helpful.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 21, 2020 at 6:36

2 Answers 2

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To understand why some miracles have seemingly differing results, you need to put the miracles into a context. And there are two. Two broad groups - those Miracles he did in the early part of his ministry, and those later. But more, you need to see the ‘difference’, the ‘why’.

Those in the early part of his ministry were ‘signs’. That is, they were ‘foretold’ in the Tanakh (Old Testament). These were ‘signs’ that the Messiah would perform - and only the Messiah would be able to do these. These were specifically to announce the arrival of their Messiah. Example, healing someone born blind.

Because they were prophesied, they ‘would be’, that is, they would ‘happen’ independent of the recipients ‘faith’ - because prophesies ‘will be’. Gods word, what God has spoken, will come to pass.

But after being ‘rejected’ as Messiah, Jesus went about ‘doing good’. He already had a reputation of being able to deliver, but those seeking a miracle now required ‘faith’, the persons ‘faith’.

So now there is a ‘variable’ - or, in other words, the miracle was dependant on something outside of Jesus. So we see ‘your faith has made you well’, or, ‘as you have believed, so be it done unto you. Note ‘your faith’, ‘you’.

So, we see, for example, when Jesus could not ‘do’ any (great) Miracles, (Mark6:5) , if people’s ‘faith’ was lacking, (unbelief), he would ‘build’ it up by straight away starting to teach them. As well, he would sometimes have to move away from people casting or generating unbelief - go out of the town, or tell everybody to leave the room.

So .... The blind man who was only ‘partially healed’, needed his faith ‘built up’. (a little more).

The point here is it is people’s faith, not Jesus’s ‘power’, that was the variable. And, we appreciate this now comes into a contentious ‘zone’, so will leave it here. Nevertheless, it is an answer to this question.

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  • Note: I also supplied a very similar answer to that question you linked to. So alerting the ‘site admins’, in case that is an issue? (I wasn’t sure).
    – Dave
    Jul 21, 2020 at 19:58
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I believe there is actually great "symbolic" significance to the way this healing took place. Both in Why he asked him to leave the village and also why there was a 2 step process in the healing and what the man initially "sees". It is not a matter of lacking power. It speaks more to what was taking place through the healing process.

Lets start by exploring the meaning and purpose of the 2 step healing process. Why there are 2 steps and what the man sees is really important "spiritually" in scripture.

I can see people, but they look like trees walking around.

People that look like trees. This is not merely a case of "blurry vision" or a failed healing that resulted in the man not seeing correctly. This is "Spiritual vision". All through the bible from beginning to end - Trees are used as spiritual symbols for ..... People and or groups of People.

Let me show you just a few examples so you get my point. Lets start in the new testament and I'll highlight a few key words in verses where this should become very evident.

  • Jesus on himself as the true vine: John 15:1 (compared with a fruitful vine)

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful.

  • Jesus on false Prophets: Luke 7:16 (compared with unfruitful weeds)

By their fruit you will recognize them. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit

  • John the Baptist on coming judgement: Matt 3:11

The axe lies ready at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire

Now lets try a few old testament scriptures.

Psalm 1:

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.

Judges 9:8-10

Once the trees went forth to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us!

Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come, reign over us!’

Isaiah 60

“Then all your people will be righteous; They will possess the land forever, The branch of My planting

Isaiah 6:13

until the LORD has driven men far away and the land is utterly forsaken. 13And though a tenth remains in the land, it will be burned again. As the terebinth and oak leave stumps when felled, so the holy seed will be a stump in the land.”

There are more verses then I could possible quote here to show this symbology but there are even more where it isn't explicitly stated trees are people - but a tree is used to symbolize people. EG: Why they carried palms on palm sunday. The burning bush etc etc.

So the point of the first healing was Jesus opened the mans "Spiritual eyes". So he could see and understand the spiritual truth of scripture. A kind of reversal of when Jesus says he speaks to people in parables because "though seeing they will not see". Here in the first healing he is enabling this man to see and understand the truths he is speaking and the meaning of the parables. Then he heals the man physically so his natural sight is also restored.

As for why he made the man leave his town - Bethsaida. I believe if we look at what else Jesus says about this town we might have an understanding of why he made him leave to perform the healing.

He mentions Bethsaida in scripture in a section called. Woe to unrepentant cities. :)

Matt 11:21 Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

My view is that potentially because Bathsaida was a sinful city who refused to repent he called the man out of the city to perform the spiritual healing and reveal the truth of scripture outside of the city so he could understand and repent apart from those destined for judgement. I believe the first healing was symbolic of a period of "teaching" which was given exclusively to this man who "desired to see" and "admitted he was blind".

This last bit - admitting you are blind - is symbolically important. See John 9:11 where he talks to Pharisees who claimed to know the truth.

Then Jesus declared, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind may see and those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard this, and they asked Him, “Are we blind too?” “If you were blind,” Jesus replied, “you would not be guilty of sin. But since you claim you can see, your guilt remains.”

Once again here Jesus is not talking about natural sight - but spiritual blindless.

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