Bethsaida was a city of unbelief. It was one of the two cities mentioned in the New Testament because of their unbelief. I believe America is in much worse shape. We live in a culture of unbelief. We are being bombarded by media messages constantly; radio, billboards and especially television. You can’t watch a program on TV without seeing a cold or flu commercial or a medication advertisement for some disease. After seeing those hundreds and hundreds of times, your mind become conditioned to this being the norm and this creates unbelief.
So why did Jesus have to lead this man out of town? Probably, the same reason you and I have to go on vacation; to get away from it all. Jesus had to get him out of his environment in order to change him; to minister to him. This is why Bible camps and retreats are so effective.
Notice, how Jesus helped him reach his destination; this is so cool. He will do the same for us. Jesus was super busy and yet took a great deal of time for one man in order to help him. This shows me that he will do this for me and for you. He is committed to helping us no matter how much time and effort it takes on his part. This man was at what I call level one when it comes to receiving divine healing He needed a lot of help. Jesus almost had to do it all for him. Everyone starts right there and then progresses.
There are different theories about why Jesus spit on his eyes. One thing is for sure is that it was a point of contact. We do the same thing today when we use anointing oil to pray for the sick to be healed.
Why did Jesus ask him what he saw? This was to get the man’s faith to cooperate so he was able to receive his healing. I know some people will have to think about what I say next, but Jesus operated as a man. He was fully God and yet fully man, but he came as a man and operated in the power of the Holy Spirit perfectly. Remember, he temporarily gave up the right to know all things, when he came to earth to give his life for mankind. So he was limited because of his human body. He had to rely on the Holy Spirit. In this case, he had to evaluate the man’s condition based what the man told him. He was operating on healing by faith.
I believe he was trying to engage the man to believe for more and not waver or settle for a partial healing. This is the only time that Jesus prayed for someone twice. I would call these a two parter-stage one and stage two. I believe that is what happened here. He had to push him through to victory.
What final instructions did Jesus give to this man?
Don’t go back to where you live. Why would he tell him this? This guy may have lived there his whole life. Because of their tremendous unbelief in this city; he could have been talked out of his healing. He was a newbie and very vulnerable. His healing depended on faith. Some people have lost their healing this way. Some have doubted it themselves and others have been persuaded by others. Better to move than to lose your healing; that was the bottom line. You must find an atmosphere where your faith can be encouraged and supported, not torn down; even if that means getting new friends or a new church. What’s more important after all? Many are unwilling to make this kind of commitment to change.
The same is true for us today. We may not have to move to another city, but we must move to another way of believing. We must immerse ourselves in a new culture. There was an old tune went something like this. I think it was called “Don’t mess with Mr. In-between.” “You’ve got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and don’t mess around with Mr. In-between.” That pretty much sums up the difference between getting divinely healed or not. I refuse to watch cold/flu commercials. This is just one small example. I won’t allow my mind to be conditioned that way. Then I don’t have to fight against the unbelief when I believe God to heal me of something. It’s the difference between running a race unencumbered or having twenty pound legs weights hindering you. While it might be normal, it doesn’t have to be the norm for a Bible-believing Christian. You can learn to walk in divine health.
So don’t be afraid to get out of town: to leave your culture of unbelief. You'll make new friends and just think of the new adventure that awaits you!