Mark 7:31-37 Deaf Ears Hear
Jesus is back on the shores of the Sea of Galilee after visiting Tyre and Sidon. Mark tells us He was in the region of the Decapolis. This is on the southern shore stretching South and East, and contains ten cities in its boundaries.
While Jesus is here some people brought a deaf man to Him. This man suffered from a speech impediment, as many who have hearing difficulties do. Those who brought him were begging Jesus to lay hands on him and heal him. Jesus was more than willing to help this man but He wanted to do so in private.
Jesus took the man off to the side to heal him. Apparently He didn’t want the crowd to see what was happening. I’m curious how big the crowd was, how He got out of their sight, and why He chose to do this physical ministry in private? Did He seek privacy because of the form of delivery of this healing, or was He simply trying to keep the whole thing quiet?
This healing is one of the few times Jesus is recorded as performing some kind of physical activity when ministering to the person. This time He puts His fingers in the man’s ears and touches the man’s tongue, after spitting Himself. What would the crowd have thought about this if they had seen? Was spitting taboo?
I’m curious why the sigh. I sigh for a lot of reasons. One is out of exasperation, another because I’m tired, and another is in preparation. I’m betting on the second or third one for Jesus. When Jesus looked up to Heaven, was He asking God for strength? If His sigh was for reason number two this would make perfect sense.
After Jesus performed His physical touches, He healed with one word. Our translation turns it into two words. Was this word for the man’s benefit of a command to Satan to release his hand on the man?
Jesus healed in two parts in other instances. Two examples are with the man who dropped through the roof and the blind man who Jesus put mud on his eyes. With the man through the roof, the first part was for those who were listening. I don’t know why the two parts for the blind man or for our man today. Was it to build their faith first? Did they need to have physical contact with their afflicted areas to know that Jesus power flowed into them?
Jesus certainly didn’t use “cookie-cutter” methods when He prayed. Maybe that was a lesson He was teaching this day too.
Once Jesus spoke the word, the man was instantly healed. He didn’t even need speech therapy. He heard and spoke as well as anyone else. When Jesus brought the man back from their private place of prayer, He told the man and those who brought him to keep this healing quiet.
Jesus was in a Greek region. I believe that makes them Gentiles. Jesus had a huge following in the Jewish regions. Maybe He was trying to keep those numbers down in this Gentile region. He had just come from one Gentile region and moved into another.
These people were amazed by the works He was doing, and they HAD to share! The harder Jesus asked them to keep quiet, the more they spread the word. This spreading of Jesus’ healing abilities will bring us right into tomorrow’s story; four thousand for supper.
Lord Jesus, thank You that You don’t have only one way to heal. Some believe in getting up close and personal with the affected area, while others believe in healing through “prayer cloths” placed on or near the person in need. You work through many ways; even a spoken word for a long distance need. I’m glad we don’t have to try an emulate Your methods to accomplish works for You. Thank You that You are still in the healing business, even if I don’t see it very often.
Thank You that You ministered to this man and the people in this region before going to the cross. I know You came for the house of Israel, but You shared Your love with those who were shunned by Israel. They weren’t shunned by You. By helping before the cross, You opened up avenues for Your disciples to carry Your message to the Gentiles after Your work on the cross was done. You primed the pump. They were ready to receive. Thank You that You know exactly what is needed in advance. What a testimony the man in our story had to tell, and everyone could understand it now.