- "Immediately the leprosy left him" (1:42)
- The paralytic "rose and immediately picked up his bed" (2:12)
- "And immediately the flow of blood dried up" in the woman with the hemorrhage (5:29)
- "And immediately the girl got up and began walking" who had just died (5:42)
- Mark says that in the case of blind Bartimaeus "immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way" (10:52)
Why was this healing different from all others? It was surely not because Jesus was having an off day, and it took two doses of healing power to get the job done! But why was this man's sight restored in stages?
As many commentators have pointed out, the reason is to illustrate the stages of the spiritual vision of the disciples. In the paragraph just before the healing of the blind man, Jesus asked the disciples, "Having eyes do you not see?" (8:18). They were spiritually blind. Jesus helped them to recover their sight, but this restoration would also be in stages. In 8:29, Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ, which required great spiritual vision. But Peter did not have a clear vision of what that confession really meant, as his adamant opposition to the notion of Christ's suffering demonstrated (8:32). Like the blind man, Peter's vision was blurred. And just as in the case of the blind man, more work by Jesus would be needed until Peter saw "everything clearly."
The great hope that this passage offers for all of us is that Jesus is patient. He does not give up on His people just because they do not grasp everything perfectly from the get-go. And as someone who often has blurry spiritual vision, I am incredibly heartened to know that is the case.