I imagine everyone wants things to happen instantaneously, but sometimes believers must be comfortable with the progressive nature of God's kingdom. Occasionally the works of Jesus are going to emerge over a period of time.
Contrary to popular opinion, not all of the marvelous breakthroughs in the Bible transpired in a moment's notice. Consider the compelling account of a blind man receiving his sight in Mark 8:
He came to Bethsaida. And they brought a blind man to Him and entreated Him to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. When He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him, "Do you see anything?" He looked up and said, "I see men as trees, walking." Then again He put His hands on his eyes and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly (Mark 8:22-25).
Many single out this passage from Mark as the lone example of progressive healing in the Bible. However, additional verses suggest a similar type of outworking. Consider the following example from the Gospel of John.
"As Jesus passed by, He saw a man blind from birth ... When He had said this, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva. He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means "Sent"). So he went away and washed, and returned seeing (John 9:1, 6-7).
It was only after leaving, washing and then coming home that this blind man regained his sight. Understand, restoration doesn't always happen all at once.
Elsewhere, the Gospel of Luke also recounts a comparable reality.
As He entered a village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood at a distance. They lifted up their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" When He saw them, He said to them, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed (Luke 17:12-14).
Here, we notice the lepers experience deliverance only after they made their way to the priest. The desperately needed changes took place, "as they went."
I understand that these brief observations don't necessarily fit our popular expectations. Christians typically imagine kingdom realities as instantaneous. Nevertheless, that's not always how God operates.
Over the years, I've come to realize that some of Jesus' greatest works unfold over time. "First the blade, then the head, then the full seed in the head" (Mark 4:28b).
J.D. King, director of the World Revival Network and co-pastor at World Revival Church, is writing Regeneration: Healing in the History of Christianity. King is a sought-after speaker, writer and author.
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