Saturday, September 8, 2018

Pentecost 16 - Proper 18

Pentecost 16 – Proper 18
September 9, 2018
Mark 7: (24-30) 31-37

Mk.7:31-37 – “ effaqa!

Last week's Gospel placed Jesus in Galilee. As He was disputing with the Scribes and the Pharisees. He leaves Galilee. And this week. Having been in Tyre and Sidon. We find Him in the region of the "ten cities". But wherever He goes. His reputation precedes Him.

O God, from whom all good proceeds, grant to us Your humble servants Your hold inspiration, that we may set our minds on the things that are right and by Your merciful guiding, accomplish them.

Our text tells us, "and they brought unto Him a man that was deaf and had an impediment in his speech".  Instead of making a display of this unfortunate man. Jesus took him aside.

And dealt with him in private. And in the man's own language. That's how Jesus dealt with the man then. And that is how He chooses to deal with you today. He speaks to you according to your need. And in a way in which you will understand. He comes to you. Exactly when you need Him. 

And through His Word. He speaks to you. And tells you. Exactly. And precisely. What you need to hear.

Mark tells us, "He put His fingers into his ears and spit and touched his tongue, and looked up to heaven".  It's hard to miss our Lord's message. Even for the deaf man. Jesus says, "I understand your problem!  You've got ears that don't hear. And a tongue that doesn't work.  I'm going to do some-thing about it!  I'm lifting up eyes to heaven. 'From whence cometh our help'.  That's My Father's home. But I've left it. To enter the world of the deaf. And the blind. And the dead in trespasses and sin!"

Jesus groans deeply. ἐστέναξενBecause knew the man’s plight. Just as He understands you.  He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. Isaiah 53:3-4 He takes your misery to Himself. And He bear them.

This is what makes Jesus your Lord and Savior. John reminds us, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us." (John 1) Jesus came into your world. To combat and defeat those forces which held you captive. The devil. This world. And your own sinful flesh. He came to forgive you. And restore you. And set you free. Of all of these deadly forces.

And then comes the word, ephphatha! effaqa!  {which means: "be open!"} - And the rest is history! Yet, No! The rest is not history. The rest is Gospel!  There is something similar about the word effaqa! ephphatha "be open" in our text for today. - And the statement, "it is finished" of Calvary.

Where Jesus' very life-blood cries out effaqa! ephphatha  for you. We are reminded, "God in Christ was reconciling the world unto Himself, not counting our sin against us." (2 Corinthians 5:19)

It is this proclamation. Of the life. Death. And resurrection of Jesus Christ. God's Holy Spirit in the Word and Sacraments continues to speak. To the deaf and mute in spirit. And to the dead in trespasses and sin. There lies the power of God. To open ears to the Good News of the kingdom. And to loose tongues into glorious confession that Jesus Christ is Lord.

You might ask, "What is the point of all of this?" Well, As Jesus spoke that word effaqa! ephphatha "be open" back then. There is one mighty ephphatha effaqa! yet to be spoken. On that day.Cleansed by your baptism. In Jesus' Name. You will stand with a robe washed clean in the blood of the Lamb.
Then you will hear Him say, "By virtue of the merits of My blood-bought redemption, these have done all things well. Now, come and inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world!"

The church has a name for that. We call it "grace." And we are called to proclaim it. To celebrate it. Each day of our lives. And to believe it. Rejoice then this day. For in Jesus Christ your sins have been forgiven. And heaven is now your home.

Passive Sentences-4%
Reading Level-2.5
Illustration from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden (The Book of Books in Pictures). © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use. 

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