Monday, February 1, 2016

Jesus Healed with One Simple and Easy-to-Understand Word, "Ephphatha!" (Mark 7:31-37)

There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him. 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. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, ‘Ephphatha! (which means ‘Be opened!’). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly
(Mark 7:32-35,

“Decapolis” (Mark 7:31), though largely a Gentile area, had considerable numbers of Jews, and it was the place where Jesus healed demon-possessed man (Mark 5:1-20). I think he had witnessed so faithfully of what Lord Jesus had done for him, thus, when Jesus arrived at their place, people immediately recognized Jesus the miracle-worker. So, they brings to Jesus a man who is both “deaf and could hardly talk” to be healed by him. The likelihood is that he had lost his hearing, rather than being born deaf, possibly through an illness or accident, for he had some speech.

Of all the people, why the crowd brought only this man to Jesus? Is he an important man and that’s why they “begged” Jesus to heal him? Or is he just an ‘experiment’ subject to witness Jesus done miracle show in front of them? Maybe both. But whatever the reasons, Jesus “took him aside, away from the crowd,” so that he can communicate with him more effectively and personally. It is fascinating to read how Jesus deals with the man, because, for God, each person was special and deserved a unique approach (The way God deals with me will be different from you, and you from others). First, Jesus “put his fingers into the man’s ears” as a sign language to show that He wants to restore his hearing. It was a beautiful way for Jesus to enter into this man’s world.

Then [Jesus] spit and touched the man’s tongue.” Jesus’ actions here may seem strange and almost disgusting. But actually Jesus identifies with the man’s need for speech. “Spittle,” explain Life Application Bible Commentary on Mark, “was commonly recognized in the ancient world as having healing properties. The man responded in faith and desire for healing.” Then Jesus looks up to heaven to demonstrate to the man where the healing is coming from – God the Father, the source of Jesus’ power. The “deep sigh” is probably a token of his identification with the man’s suffering. See, how every touch and gesture of Jesus has meaning. Awesome!

Finally, Jesus commands healing: “Ephphatha!” or “Be opened!” Immediately, “the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.” Jesus only used one simple and easy-to-understand word, not like magicians and exorcists (and some faith-healers today) who would use incantations made up of nonsense words or syllables to perform their tricks or healings. Jesus simply says, “Ephphatha!” and he was healed completely.

We then read Jesus’ familiar instruction: “Not to tell anyone” (Mark 7:36). He did not want His ministry hindered by those who would look upon Him simply as a miracle-worker and healer. The man must have found that the command was hard to obey. He and some others who witnessed this miracle “kept talking about it” anyway until “people were overwhelmed with amazement.” The people of the region are very impressed by what they have seen but have yet to understand who it is Who has done this amazing thing. I noticed that this incident is parallel with Genesis 1, where all God’s creative works are perfect, and so is the manifestation of His Son’s power. God’s work is so good, and here the people responded to Jesus’ miracle in the same way: “He has done every well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak” (Mark 7:37).

Dear readers, Jesus is more than a miracle-worker and a healer,
more than a great teacher and prophet,
He is – if only the people have gone a step farther and realized who Jesus is –
the Christ” (Mark 8:29), the Son of God, the promised Messiah!
By faith, if you still can’t see who Jesus is, listen to His commands “Be opened!” and obey.

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