Twice healed?

I believe that we are to be faithful in our prayers – that the answers might not come all at once. Several times I have heard this message from preachers and they’ve referenced Mark 8:22-25:

They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 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.”

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.

I’ve heard it said that “even Jesus had to pray twice for the man before he was healed completely”. Some (of a more Calvinist leaning) argue that this opinion detracts from the divinity of Christ, diminishes Him in some way. They point out, quite rightly, that Jesus was 100% God. His relationship with the Father was perfect. He, himself, pointed out that that He only did what He saw the Father doing. They argue, that being the case, there shouldnt be any questionable moments where He leaves thing incomplete.

The real question is, how are we viewing the situation? Most of the time I’ve seen it as a single healing accomplished in two steps. However, you could change perspective and view it as two healings, each completely successful in and of themselves.

If we look at it as 2 healings (one on a physical level, the other mental / neurological), each step is fully completed and no-one detracts from the divinity of Jesus in any way. The first healing dealt with the physical apparatus of sight, the eyes, optic nerves and so on. Jesus confirmed that light was being received and signals reaching the brain when he asked the man “Do you see anything?”.

Neuroscientists have shown that the human brain is not hardwired. God has created a great deal of flexibility in how the brain works: Blindfolded volunteers, who’re therefore not using their visual cortex for processing visual information, will find their brains gradually reconfiguring to give better sense of touch / hearing as the unused “real estate” is encroached upon by other functions. When blindfolds are removed, the visual cortex is once more used for visual processing and the brain reverts back to original configuration. Over the long term, some changes become permanent; after months without any light a person will lose their sight, or more acurately, their ability to process visual information.

So, when the blind man’s sight was restored, it’s entirely likely that his brain simply wasnt processing the information it was receiving. His eyes were completely healed, but the visual cortex needed healing to process the input. Jesus’ second step of the healing process may therefore have been neurological in nature. Two complete healings, firstly of eyes and secondly of mental pathways.

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