Jesus heals a deaf man (24-11-21)
Bible Reading: Mark 7:31-37
Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. 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. Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. People were overwhelmed with amazement. "He has done everything well," they said. "He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak."
Helen and I have prayed for the sick on many occasions and have seen people healed. It is a real privilege to pray with someone and to trust that God will bring healing into their lives. We have also been to many Christian services and events where leaders have prayed for the sick.
The style of ministry at healing services varies from church to church and from event to event; some are loud and dramatic, others are quiet and reflective, but in all my experience I have yet to see someone spit on the tongue of a man who couldn’t talk in order to restore their speech. Maybe that’s because my experience is largely British!
Apart from telling us to heal for the sick, the bible gives very little guidance as to how to pray. The only common factor in Jesus’ healing ministry is faith. In this case it was faith was expressed by the people who brought the deaf and mute man to Jesus and begged Jesus to place his hands on him.
The link between this man’s deafness and his poor speech is not uncommon even today, especially if a person is born deaf and has therefore not previously learnt to speak. Jesus clearly recognised this link. Having restored the man’s hearing, he could have just let him learn to talk again as a toddler learns to talk. Today someone would be referred to a speech therapist, but Jesus continued to restore the man’s speech so that he began to speak plainly. No wonder the people commented ‘He has done everything well.’
The link between one problem in our lives and another is more widespread that deafness and poor speech, and it is not just limited to medical conditions. There can be problems or events in our past that affect our lives today. It may be things we have done; it may be things other people have done to us, or it may be specific traumas that we have faced, even as far back as in our infancy. All of these can affect our peace and our sense of wellbeing today
Though faith, through forgiveness or through repentance, past hurts can be healed when we bring them to Jesus, and in their place we can find peace and freedom. In all of these situations, Jesus is our healer who does everything well.
Show me, Lord Jesus, if there are things in my past that are adversely affecting me today.
Give me the courage to bring them to you so that I can find the freedom that only you can give.
O for a thousand tongues to sing