Thursday, September 2, 2021

Friday prior to Proper 18


Mark 7:31-37—Jesus privately heals a deaf man with a speech defect.

When Jesus returns from his trip to Tyre, a man with deafness and a speech difficulty is brought to Jesus. The method of healing is touching – Jesus put his finger in the man’s ears and touched his tongue Jesus looked to heaven in prayer for power to heal. He sighed – a sign of compassion or weariness, or both? The miracle was performed privately and he asks for silence about it. But the people were so impressed that they could not remain silent. They gave Jesus an evaluation; “He has done all things well.”

There was a crowd present for the healing. Here was Jesus’ opportunity to get favorable publicity. Yet, he shunned it by taking the man away from the crowd to heal him. Later Jesus demanded that they tell no one of the miracle. Why the secrecy? Jesus did not want people to follow him because of his miraculous power. Although he was concerned about the people’s physical needs, he was more concerned with the spiritual needs. Moreover, Jesus wanted the people to see that he came to suffer and die for the sin of the world, and this could not be revealed at this time.

They remembered Jesus’ original word in Aramaic, Ephphatha – “Be opened!” In answer to that command, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was freed. To be opened is to be freed, released, and liberated. We are bound tightly together by sin, Satan and our fears, tensions and anxieties. Christ relaxes us, frees us from fear, and we are opened to health and salvation.[2]

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.

Collect for Proper 18O God, from whom all good proceeds, grant to us Your humble servants, Your whole 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. [3]– 03 September, 2021

[1] The Crucifixion Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcut copyright © from WELS  used with permission for personal and congregational use

[2] Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B, John Brokhoff, © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH

[3] Collect for Proper 18, Lutheran Service Book, © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

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