This is the only recording of Jesus progressively healing anyone. The man who could heal from a distance, drive out demons quickly, heal all manner of diseases and deformities instantly apparently had a bit of trouble healing this man's blindness. Why?
The four recorders of Jesus' ministry did so with care and purpose. They not only wanted us to know what Jesus did, but the teachings Jesus would give not only through his words but through his actions as well. Jesus did many things that we do not know about. But we do know about these that we may be able to understand what being a disciple of Jesus entails.
The gospel of Mark is essentially the gospel of Peter. Mark wrote down what this fisherman turned disciple told him. One of the reasons why Peter is often portrayed as Disciple Foot-In-Mouth is because an older Peter is looking back on his days with Jesus with great humility and remembering how much he had to learn and grow in order to be who Jesus wanted him to be. Through Peter, we see a group of disciples struggling to grasp what Jesus was trying to teach them. They would have moments of brilliance followed by moments of shame and vice versa.
This is comforting for me to know since my life is filled with moments of brilliance followed by moments of shame. Don't misunderstand, I would like the moments of shame to be eliminated, but it is good to know that many people go through such ebbs and flows even people who spent all their time with Jesus.
If we want to know what the Spirit is reminding us through this unique healing, we must look at what all good Bible students look at: context. The disciples are not fully grasping the meaning of not one, but two miraculous feedings. The religious leaders are still asking for a sign from Jesus even though he is giving them signs all the time. Jesus is about to ask THE question of his disciples when they would pass with flying colours only to forget who he is a moment later. They are about to see something truly incredible and react to it with old religious thinking.
My brother and sister in Christ, come over here, sit down and look me in the eye for what I am about to tell you. Are you sitting? Is your heart and mind prepared?
When it comes to living life to the full, Jesus is the standard, not us. When we decide to follow Jesus as our Saviour and Lord, it is not an instant transformation. We do not become perfect. Do you want to know why the church is full of hypocrites? It's because we are. The church is full of hypocrites, but the Head of the Church is not a hypocrite.
This is why we are saved by grace. This is why we are to grow in grace. We cannot save ourselves. We cannot grow on our own. We need him. We need his patient working with us so that we can all learn to live life to the full. I am so grateful for His patience with me. I know that my children are maturing and learning how to live a life of love, joy, strength, beauty and peace. I am so grateful that my Father in Heaven wants the same for each of us.
Listen to the wise words of our dear older brother Peter:
Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, beware that you are not carried away with the error of the lawless and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.