Read: Mark 7:31-37
Jesus continues to minister in the region, around the Decapolis, some 25 miles away, when some people brought a man who was deaf and mute to be healed. Their request is simple, “…they begged Jesus to place his hand on him.” In this case, Jesus is more interactive with the man.
After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. Mark 7:33
In the previous event, the girl who was possessed by an evil spirit wasn’t even present, yet she was healed. In this case, the disciples must have been watching and taking notes:
- relocate subject: how far do we take him?
- fingers in ears: which fingers? how far? actually in the ear?
- spit: how much? just the tip of the tongue?
- pray: “Ephphatha!”
Got all that? File this under how to heal and someone who’s become deaf and mute later in life.
Was this confusing for the disciples as they try to learn from Jesus? What’s the difference between the two incidents? Why the physical interaction?
In this miraculous healing, the process seems to be telling us more than the miracle itself. Jesus accepts the man, he honors his friends for bringing him to be healed without argument. Taking him away from the crowd gives me an image of compassion; I believe Jesus was showing extreme kindness in this action. From this somewhat private place, Jesus touches the man, He even uses saliva to take the breach of personal space even farther.
All of this activity only takes a matter of seconds, a few minutes perhaps, but all leaves me in awe of a God who would step out of time and pay attention to one man, to one of us.
Isaiah foretells of the coming Messiah after many woes and proclamations of bad news:
…they will see the glory of the Lord,
the splendor of our God.
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Oh yes, we will see the glory of the Lord and the splendor of our God in ways we can barely imagine.
Beyond amazed, the man can’t help but tell everyone about the miracle. His life is reset, no more shame for deafness, whatever caused that to happen. No more mumbling of words, now he proclaims the hands of the Messiah have touched even an ordinary man.
This same Jesus has touched us. Go and tell the world!