Mark 7:31-37

Throughout the season of Lent our daily devotions have been written by members of the Faith Lutheran community. Our theme this Lent is “Jesus Our Healer.” Today’s devotion comes from David Stock.

Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.

Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.” Mark 7:31-37

Ephrata! Be opened! These were powerful words spoken to the deaf man. Opening the man’s ears is symbolic of the unbeliever hearing the gospel for the first time, opening the eyes and freeing the man’s tongue were additional gifts to mankind since the tongue provides us the opportunity to speak the good news. When Jesus shared his power with the disabled man, he gave us a first hand glimpse of his unconditional love for each of us. Shortly after the healing it would be fully expressed at the cross.

Jesus’ conveys love to the man by his only available senses, sight and touch. After spitting Jesus touches the man’s tongue. Saliva was believed to have magical and curative powers. This scene clearly reflects Jesus’ willingness to get close to people and meet us without reservation.

What’s puzzling is verse 36 “Jesus commanded the crowd not to tell anyone.” Perhaps Jesus preferred to keep his miracles silent, but just the opposite occurred. The people were so overwhelmed they said “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

We all have the capacity to be deaf and dumb. Can we let him take us from the crowd and have us hear “Ephrata” in our hearts?

Let us pray: Lord, in the varied experiences of life help me take the good things with simplicity and the difficult and challenging things with courage. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


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