Mark 7:31-37 (Sermon for the week of September 10th)
Mk 7:31-37
Again Jesus left the district of Tyre
and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,
into the district of the Decapolis.
And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech 
impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his
tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” -. that is, “Be opened!” -- And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly. He ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them
not to, the more they proclaimed it. They were exceedingly astonished and they said,“He has done all
things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
SERMON: Again, another miracle performed by Our Lord! He heals a deaf
man with a speech impediment. Another miracle witnessed by other
people that cannot be done by men. Do you know anyone who can heal the deaf? Can you heal the deaf? Can our "advanced" medical science heal the
deaf with fingers and spittle?
The Word of our Lord Jesus can do this and more. There are a few interesting points to expound on in this week's
reading. First, the area of Sidon (Zidon, Lebanon) Jesus is
visiting is a pre-dominantly Gentile area with a Jewish population.
It is important to realize that Jesus always does what He says
He will do and fulfills the verse "first to the Jew and then the
Gentile" (Romans 1:16). Here is one instance when Jesus does indeed
visit Gentile areas. It does not matter if the man healed in this
reading is Jewish because there is a real possibility that he was a
Gentile. Either way, he was healed by Our Lord and it was a miracle. I want you to be open to the possibility that he was a Gentile because it leads into another important reflection about this passage. The fact that this man was physically healed from deafness is a fact...but there are prophetic messages within the physical miracles that Our Lord physically did and the parables He spoke of. A question some people may ask about the healing of this particular deaf man is why Jesus didn't "lay his hands" on the man in the way the Jews did and why did he heal some without ever touching them? Here Jesus places both of his forefingers into the mans ear and places his spit on the man's tongue. Why? We need to discuss a fundamental point. What heals the man?
Jesus' fingers in the deaf man's ears? Jesus' spit on the tongue
of a man who has a speech impediment? Jesus laying his hands in
the same ritual that the Jews feel possesses the ability to heal?
Or is it the the Word of Jesus that heals? Jesus who is the Creator
of all things visible and invisible whom took a tent of flesh
some 2,000 years ago speaks and it is done.
As He said, "Ephphatha!”it was so, it is so, and it always will be so! So, why did Jesus stick his fingers in the man's ears and spit
on his tongue? Here is my take on this: The common opinion about the physical
act of sticking the fingers in the ear and placing spittle on
the tongue is that the Word of Christ is what actually heals the
man but Jesus is following some sort of therapeutic or sacred
gesture that is part of some process. Well, I totally agree as
I said earlier, that the Word of Jesus heals the man but this
"mysterious therapeutic process" doesn't make sense and we need
to look at the actual physical actions of Our Lord. Yes, the man was deaf and was healed. And we are deaf. And we
are dumb. We have a speech impediment just like this man if we
have no faith in the Lord. You may think that you can hear...but
without Jesus all you hear is sound and some may hear just very,
very faint sounds. What comes out of our mouth if the Lord is
not in your life and you do not faith"eth" in Him? Nonsense. Nonsense just like a man who is deaf and can't hear what he is actually saying. I believe the Lord is showing us a process...yes...
but a physical process of healing that ALL believers must go through. It's not some unknown "therapeutic" process but an actual
process symbolized by this deaf man's healing. See, in order for us to really hear, we must approach the Lord
for help. We must come to Him and ask Him to heal us because, well,
we are deaf and dumb without Him. The Lord heals us by placing
"His fingers" in our ears and cleaning them out by healing our
deafness with His Word. Once we can hear, we need to speak with
the Spirit. It takes the Lord's healing spittle placed on our
dumb tongues to be able to speak Truth. Just like Jesus' Twelve
Apostles had moments of deafness and dumbness, so do we. It takes
his Word ("Ephphatha!"), His sigh or His breath (which is called
the Holy Spirit which is the medium for His word to work through),
and our Faith that He is Our Lord and Savior. The laying of hands is not enough for some of us...we need him to
thrust His fingers into our ears sometimes and... well, clear out
the ear wax and heal our ear drums that are deaf! We need him to
place his own spittle into out mouths because of the utter nonsense
we allow ourselves to speak when He is not in the forefront of
out thoughts and actions. One last point. Why did Jesus tell the man not to tell anyone else
about it? What would happen today if the Lord came into this world
of man and started to heal the deaf? If you were deaf would you go
to Jesus because He is your Lord and Savior or because you want your
hearing back and after you have it back, you will discern if He
is a Good and Wise Teacher, some sort of Prophet, a liar, a
magician,a really,really good person with some sort of
spiritual power, an angel, or the Son of God, YOUR Savior?? Does Jesus' healing and raising of dead promote faith or did the
people possess faith in Jesus BEFORE they were healed?
Surely, the least you can do if Jesus Christ heals you of a horrible
affliction is promote His name and proclaim His Glory!
Well, unless He tells you not to.
Who are you to question the One who healed you?
I don't need an explanation, but I could see people flocking to Jesus just
for one thing in Sidon..."Heal me first, and then I MAY believe..." No, first have faith and He may move a couple of mountains for
you...He loves you but you must realize and awaken to this fact
first and unplug all of that ear wax in your ears that make you
deaf! Ask Him and He will do it. Isaiah 35:4-10 (REMEMBER Isaiah is Old Testament written before the Birth of Jesus) Say to those with anxious heart, "Take courage, fear not Behold,
your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come,
But He will save you." Then the eyes of the blind will be opened
And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap
like a deer, And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy For
waters will break forth in the wilderness And streams in the Arabah.
The scorched land will become a pool And the thirsty ground springs
of water; In the haunt of jackals, its resting place, Grass becomes
reeds and rushes. A highway will be there, a roadway, And it will
be called the Highway of Holiness The unclean will not travel on it,
But it will be for him who walks that way, And fools will not
wander on it. No lion will be there, Nor will any vicious beast
go up on it; These will not be found there But the redeemed will
walk there, And the ransomed of the LORD will return And come
with joyful shouting to Zion, With everlasting joy upon their
heads They will find gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing
will flee away.
God Bless you and your families this week (Sermon by John H.)

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