”And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it; and were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.”—Mark 7:31-37

Having healed the Syrophoenician woman’s daughter in her absence by an act of His will, without seeing the maid, or touching her, the Lord Jesus Christ next heals a deaf man with impaired speech whose friends brought him to Christ. Here, the Lord purposefully touches the man’s ears and his tongue and once again it seems clear the Lord’s intent is to convey a lesson to those followers who witnessed the miracle, the multitude being excluded from the scene.

The word of power

The healing came by the power of Christ when he said ‘Ephphatha’, ‘Be open’. Then the man’s ears were unstopped and his tongue freed from constriction. The means of healing was not the touch but the inherent power of the Saviour, yet all the Lord did here in touching the man, looking up to heaven and sighing are surely intended to convey a spiritual lesson not to be overlooked.

A spiritual work

Coming as sinners to the Lord Jesus Christ our need is to hear with spiritual ears those things we ignored and resisted previously. When the Lord works a spiritual work of grace He enables His people both to experience and to respond to His goodness. He opens ears to hear and loosens the tongue of thanksgiving and worship.

Our God and our Friend

Our Lord’s heavenward glance reminded the disciples that His power to heal and save sinners is divine. By sighing the Lord’s sweetly reveals His sympathy and union with His people in their trials and pain. Our spiritual healing from sin and judgment is the work of God the Son, but also the work of God the Man, in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

‘Ephphatha’

Our Saviour’s blessed ‘Ephphatha’ opens and attunes our spiritual senses to divine wisdom and spiritual experience, hitherto beyond our grasp. The immediacy of deliverance for this poor soul shows the unique power of the Saviour and the wonder of His ways. David could say, ‘I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth (Psalm 38:13). Yet, at once he thanked the Lord for His salvation who made haste to help him (v. 22).

Loosened tongues

The reaction of this man and his family was to publish widely the miracle of healing despite the Saviour asking for restraint. Perhaps the Lord was aware of the fury of the Pharisees and how others would stir up the multitude for political ends. Yet, there was no denying the miracle nor the power displayed, and amongst the people admiration of the Lord and praise for Him found equal voice.

All things well

Our thoughts on Sunday will dwell a little upon the sentiments expressed by those that day who saw and understood something of the wonder of what transpired before them, being, we are told ‘beyond measure astonished’, and saying, ‘he hath done all things well’. In this they spoke no lie for truly the Lord Jesus Christ has done all things well.

In time and in eternity

Everything the Saviour did He did well. All He did in coming to save His people, all He did in His ministry to heal the sick, serve the poor, defend the needy, release the captives, and minister to the souls of men and women. All the Master taught His disciples in preparation for their own ministry and laying the foundation of His church, all He accomplished on the cross, all He committed to His people at His ascension. Our Lord Jesus Christ has done all things well in time, and to all eternity.

This Jesus of Nazareth is our God and King. He is worthy of our admiration and praise, and worthy of our complete trust, for surely, ‘he hath done all things well’.

Peter Meny



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