Proper 18 Series B
James 2:1–10, 14–18
Mark 7:(24–30) 31–37
Our Merciful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Does All Things Well
The Lord proclaims the Gospel “to those who have an anxious heart” to comfort and encourage them with His presence. He comes not only with threats of “vengeance” and “recompense,” but with His gracious salvation (Isaiah 35:4). He opens “the eyes of the blind” and “the ears of the deaf,” and He loosens “the tongue of the mute” to “sing for joy” (Isaiah 35:5–6).
Like water on thirsty ground, He speaks His life-giving Word to people of all nations. With His Word and the touch of His hand, He does “all things well,” so that you may now speak “plainly” (Mark 7:31–37). You confess the truth of God in Christ to the glory of His holy name, and you call upon His name in every trouble, confident that He will hear and answer. As you pray and confess with your tongue, so also “love your neighbor as yourself” (James 2:8). Show your faith “in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory,” by loving without partiality. For God has “chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom” (James 2:1–5).
Collect for Proper 18 -O God, from whom all good proceeds, grant to us Your humble servants Your holy inspiration, that we may set our minds on the things that are right and, by Your merciful guiding, accomplish them; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.
God's standard of excellence is the theme for this coming Sunday.
In the Old Testament lesson God's people are call to be strong and not to fear as God promises to come to His people. The language which is used is similar to that used of the coming Messiah. In the Epistle lesson excellence is seen in how the believer behaves. Favoritism is forbidden rather keeping the law is what is expected.
The Christian faith is not merely a philosophical exercise of the mind. Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action is dead.
In the Gospel lesson a standard of excellence has been stamped on everything Jesus has done. He fulfills the prediction given in the Old Testament lesson. This causes the believer to express praise and adoration to the Lord who has done all things well as expressed in the hymn of the day which is based on this week's appointed psalm.
Mark 7:31-37 -The original translation of verse 37 literally reads "Well! All things He has done!" A standard of excellence has been stamped on everything Jesus has done. He is able to make the deaf hear. This should not surprise us. Everything Jesus is doing is what God had promised to do when He came to redeem His people see Isaiah 35:5-6.
Καὶ πάλιν ἐξελθὼν ἐκ τῶν ὁρίων Τύρου ἦλθεν διὰ Σιδῶνος εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν τῆς Γαλιλαίας ἀνὰ μέσον τῶν ὁρίων Δεκαπόλεως.
Again He went out from the region of Tyre, and came through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, within the region of Decapolis.
-This geographical description is unusual. Sidon was north of Tyre on the coast, while the Decapolis was south and east of the Sea of Galilee. The NKJV has "departing from the region of Tyre and Sidon," but this translation is not supported by P45, A, W, and the Peshitta. Most textual critics support the more difficult text which takes Jesus north and east before going south.
- came from the region of Tyer through Sidon into the middle region of the Decapolis. An interesting route. Worth the words. He's in a Gentile/pagan land. Magic was popular there at the time.
▣ "Sea of Galilee" This same body of water is called (1) Chennereth in the OT; (2) Lake of Gennesaret in Luke 5:1; and (3) Sea of Tiberias during the first century Roman period in John 6:1; 21:1.
▣ "region of Decapolis" This was the area of the Gedarene Demoniac (cf. Mark 5:1-20). It was also a Gentile area to the east and south of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus' ministry in these areas shows His love for the Gentiles.
Καὶ φέρουσιν αὐτῷ κωφὸν καὶ μογιλάλον, καὶ παρακαλοῦσιν αὐτὸν ἵνα ἐπιθῇ αὐτῷ τὴν χεῖρα
They brought to Him one who was deaf and spoke with difficulty, and they implored Him to lay His hand on him.
Ø "was deaf and spoke with difficulty" This term is used only here in the NT and in the Septuagint in Isaiah. 35:6.
Ø -“and they carried to him a non-speaking one begging Him to lend a hand.” Because of the deafness they had difficulty speaking. Who brought him?
καὶ ἀπολαβόμενος αὐτὸν ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου κατ’ ἰδίαν ἔβαλεν τοὺς δακτύλους αὐτοῦ εἰς τὰ ὦτα αὐτοῦ καὶ πτύσας ἥψατο τῆς γλώσσης αὐτοῦ
Jesus took him aside from the crowd, by himself, and put His fingers into his ears, and after spitting, He touched his tongue with the saliva;
“taking him from the crowd, he cast his fingers into his ears and spitting touched his tongue.”
Ø Is this an exorcism?
Ø Did Jesus spit on the ground, on his fingers, or into the mouth directly?
Ø This is why He takes the man aside. The pagans would take the credit but not Jesus.
Ø Only reference is to His fingers with the variant. He's going to do what He's going to do but the pagans won't get it.
Ø In Milan, as part of the Baptismal rite spitting would be used as a part of the exorcism...at the latest, the 3rd. Century.
Ø To heal is to “lick the wound,”…this is an instinct.
Ø He groans…He carries our misery…see Romans 8…the entire world groans…and the Spirit groans for us with words too deep...same verb. He takes the misery to Himself and bears them. See Isaiah 53:3-4
Ø Passive "be opened" beseeching the Father
καὶ ἀναβλέψας εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν ἐστέναξεν, καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Ἐφφαθά, ὅ ἐστιν Διανοίχθητι.
and looking up to heaven with a deep sigh, He said to him, "Ephphatha!" that is, "Be opened!"
“looking up into heaven, he sighed and said, "Be opened."
Ø Why the Aramaic? It is the voice. It is a word accomplishing something. Not that it was magic. It was the original language Jesus spoke. This is why we use words like “Introit.” It has a specific meaning/language.
καὶ ἠνοίγησαν αὐτοῦ αἱ ἀκοαί, καὶ εὐθὺς ἐλύθη ὁ δεσμὸς τῆς γλώσσης αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐλάλει ὀρθῶς
And his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was removed, and he began speaking plainly.
What speech is he now given to speak?
καὶ διεστείλατο αὐτοῖς ἵνα μηδενὶ λέγωσιν· ὅσον δὲ αὐτοῖς διεστέλλετο, αὐτοὶ μᾶλλον περισσότερον ἐκήρυσσον
And He gave them orders not to tell anyone; but the more He ordered them, the more widely they continued to proclaim it.
- Jesus commands them not to tell...Jesus knows the road He's on...He doesn't need to push the cross...it will come. But even more greatly they preached.
So were they sinning? They were doing what is natural. “If they kept silent even the rocks would speak out!” (Luke 19:40)
But He doesn't want their speaking to get in the way of the cross or the gospel. He must still face Jerusalem. Be careful to what you speak. Some words might be truthful but not always helpful.
καὶ ὑπερπερισσῶς ἐξεπλήσσοντο λέγοντες Καλῶς πάντα πεποίηκεν, καὶ τοὺς κωφοὺς ποιεῖ ἀκούειν καὶ ἀλάλους λαλεῖν.
They were utterly astonished, saying, "He has done all things well; He makes even the deafto hear and the mute to speak."
Ø Verse 37 may relate to Isaiah 35:5-6, which describes the future healing ministry of the Messiah.
Ø They were completely amazed well…all things he has done…the deaf hear and the mute preach.
Ø See alternative verse for "O For a Thousand Tongues"
Ø Lord, You have done everything well. Help us also to see the depths of Your mercy and grace, that we understand them as gits meant for all
Ø Jesus heals another person in a Gentile region further emphasizing His love for every race and kind of people.
Ø This serves as yet one more example of why we need to avoid the temptation to narrow the scope of the mission and to ignore opportunities to reach out to those who are different that ourselves. Jesus' healing of this man, immediately after He restored the daughter of the Syrophoenician woman, underscores that He desires to love, cleanse, and heal all people.
Mark 7: 31-37 (and read vs. 24-30)
These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of today’s Gospel. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.
1. How should we relate to tradition? Define tradition.
2. Was Jesus setting aside the Old Testament? If so how do we treat the OT as inspired? (Mark 7:19)
3. Explain the difference between Jesus' view of religion and that of the Pharisees.
4. Why did Jesus go into a predominately Gentile area? (Mark 7:24)
Jesus is returning from a trip to the far north (Sidon and Tyre) to the more familiar region of the Sea of Galilee. He speaks in Aramaic, his own native language but apparently not that of Mark’s audience.
A Syrophoenician woman is not a Jew, but a Gentile/pagan.
1. Why does the Syrophoenician woman come to Jesus?
2. How would you describe their conversation? What is his first response? How does she challenge him? How does his response change? Why? What tone do you hear? Is this the Jesus you see in other stories about him?
3. How did a child become demon possessed? Does it happen today? (Mark 7:25)
4. Why did Jesus tell them not to tell anyone about the man's healing? (Mark 7:36) Who is the “them” in v. 36? Why do they not do as Jesus orders them? Is their disobedience helpful or harmful?
5. Since vs. 24-30 are also about a healing miracle, why do you think they are left out? What do they add, if anything? Are they in any way a transition between what precedes and what follows?