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Mark 7:31-37 Jesus Heals A Deaf Man

Posted by adventbiblestudy on January 20, 2013


Mark 7:31-37 NLTse Jesus left Tyre and went up to Sidon before going back to the Sea of Galilee and the region of the Ten Towns. (32) A deaf man with a speech impediment was brought to him, and the people begged Jesus to lay his hands on the man to heal him. (33) Jesus led him away from the crowd so they could be alone. He put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then, spitting on his own fingers, he touched the man’s tongue. (34) Looking up to heaven, he sighed and said, “Ephphatha,” which means, “Be opened!” (35) Instantly the man could hear perfectly, and his tongue was freed so he could speak plainly! (36) Jesus told the crowd not to tell anyone, but the more he told them not to, the more they spread the news. (37) They were completely amazed and said again and again, “Everything he does is wonderful. He even makes the deaf to hear and gives speech to those who cannot speak.”

 

What lesson did Jesus teach by healing a deaf man with a speech impediment? Why did Jesus led the man away to be alone with him? Were the disciples present? How do we find the answer to these questions? These questions point us directly to another rule of Bible study, the structure of chapters. When the Bible was translated and divided into chapters, translators led by the Holy Spirit noticed a consistent style of writing used by all the authors. Even though the Bible was written over thousands of years, this style remained consistent. It is a style of writing still used today in books, reports, letters, and Internet blogs which follow generally accepted rules of composition. The first few sentences, known as verses in the Bible, consist of a simple introduction. The last few sentences, or verses form the summary. To test this rule we simply compare the introduction and summary to this text, looking for words and thoughts that are the same, similar, or related.

 

Mark 7:1-3 NLTse One day some Pharisees and teachers of religious law arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. (2) They noticed that some of his disciples failed to follow the Jewish ritual of hand washing before eating. (3) (The Jews, especially the Pharisees, do not eat until they have poured water over their cupped hands, as required by their ancient traditions.

 

Mark 7:36-37 NLTse Jesus told the crowd not to tell anyone, but the more he told them not to, the more they spread the news. (37) They were completely amazed and said again and again, “Everything he does is wonderful. He even makes the deaf to hear and gives speech to those who cannot speak.”

 

In the introduction we see the Pharisees and other religious leaders who often followed Jesus. We also see some very strict traditions which they forced on anyone who would listen. The tradition mentioned in the introduction is hand washing before eating. When we look how Jesus healed the deaf man, we see He put His fingers in the man’s ears, spit on His fingers and touched the man’s tongue. If Jesus did this in front of the Pharisees, can you imagine the first words this man would have heard? The man’s ears and mind would have been filled with useless doctrine. This is the lesson Jesus was teaching His disciples. Jesus used an unorthodox method of healing to bring attention to the introduction. Combining the two reveals the spiritual meaning.

 

Isn’t this what happens today? People are drawn to Jesus for the first time in their lives as He opens their ears, but the church forgets the fact, He also gave them the ability to speak. The church has little interest in listening. They can’t see half the blessings Jesus provided. They fail to give the glory to the Spirit who leads new believer to Christ. Instead they rely on a preplanned formula to turn new members into denominational converts. God sends the church new believers so they can witness the work of the Spirit. Instead of listening and learning how the Spirit worked to lead a new believer to Jesus, the church follows their prearranged method of teaching which consists of nothing more than doctrine, following in the footsteps of the Pharisees.

 

In the summary we see Jesus telling people not to say anything about the man receiving his hearing and speech. The more Jesus told them not to tell anyone, the more they announced it. They were so amazed by the miracle Jesus performed, they could not hold it in.

 

There is a distinct contrast between the two groups. The Pharisees relied on tradition and doctrine. Jesus’ followers listened, watched, and learned. They could not wait to share. This was an important aspect to becoming a disciple. Its no wonder Jesus replaced the traditional church with the New Testament form of worship.

 

When we carefully examine the introduction of each of these two stories we find a number of interesting facts which would have been missed if we did not go back and review the way Jesus instructed His disciples.

 

Mark 7:24-27 NLTse Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre. He didn’t want anyone to know which house he was staying in, but he couldn’t keep it a secret. (25) Right away a woman who had heard about him came and fell at his feet. Her little girl was possessed by an evil spirit, (26) and she begged him to cast out the demon from her daughter. Since she was a Gentile, born in Syrian Phoenicia, (27) Jesus told her, “First I should feed the children–my own family, the Jews. It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”

 

Mark 7:31-33 NLTse Jesus left Tyre and went up to Sidon before going back to the Sea of Galilee and the region of the Ten Towns. (32) A deaf man with a speech impediment was brought to himand the people begged Jesus to lay his hands on the man to heal him. (33) Jesus led him away from the crowd so they could be alone. He put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then, spitting on his own fingers, he touched the man’s tongue.

 

When Jesus was in the corporate headquarters known for its worship of money, He didn’t want anyone to know where He was. But a woman, a foreigner finds Him, falls at His feet and begs for His help. Jesus tests everyone witnessing this act by appearing to deny her the help she needs. Once Jesus left the lure of financial wealth, people brought a deaf man to Him, and begged Jesus to heal him.

 

Is this contrast here for a reason? All of these events were arranged by God’s Spirit to teach the disciples lessons they needed to conduct their own ministries and write letters to the newly formed churches. We can see Jesus is showing them how riches will distort views, concepts, and even the way people are led to Him. Hasn’t this been proven true through history? Rich, powerful churches have a different way of recruiting people. They look for a certain class, those most able to help them achieve their goals, while holding others back from reaching out to Jesus. This is not only true on the denominational, but local levels among every denomination. It is also a problem in the personal level, which is human nature to accept people who tend to be like you, while rejecting people who are different.

 

Outside of the financial temptations of Tyre, we see people going out of their way to bring others to Jesus, especially individuals ignored by many classes of society. This is a difficult emotion to explain because it is so rare. The only way to experience it is to learn to be led by the Spirit. When the time is right, He will put people in your path to plant a seed, and lead to Jesus. It takes a lot of patience and practice to learn how to listen to the still, small voice of the Spirit. When you learn to recognize it, you will never forget.

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