Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mark 7:31–37

Mark 7:31–37 (ESV): Jesus Heals a Deaf Man


This passage is interesting to me not so much because of what Jesus does, but more because of the way in which he does it. As Jesus continues his travels some people bring to him a man who is deaf and has a speech impediment to be healed. Jesus takes the man aside privately, puts his fingers in the man’s ears, spits, and touches the man’s tongue. He then looks up to heaven, sighs, and says “Ephphatha,” which means “be opened” (verse 34 (ESV)). I don’t know what language “Ephphatha” is; I’d guess Aramaic, but it’s just a guess; the study notes and footnotes I had available didn’t tell me.

At this point the man’s ears are opened and he is able to speak plainly. As is so often the case, Jesus tells them to keep it to themselves, and as usual they disregard him and go out and proclaim it. Or, as verse 36 (ESV) puts it:

And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it.
The reason they can’t help but tell people is given in the next verse: they’re “astonished beyond measure” that Jesus is able to do such things, even making the deaf hear and the mute speak (verse 37 (ESV)).


As I say, it’s interesting how Jesus goes about healing this man. In some instances He simply says the word, sometimes even from great distances without ever laying eyes on the person being healed, and it just happens. But then you have this instance where Jesus pulls the man aside and touches the areas which are not working. Why does Jesus need (or want) to do so much for this man, when in other instances simply saying “be healed” is enough?

The ESV Study Bible notes say that Jesus took the man aside for his healing so as not to draw attention to it, which is feasible, and they also say that the reason Jesus sighs toward heaven is that he is sighing “over the hard-heartedness and physical weaknesses that had arisen on account of mankind’s fall,” which, to me, is definitely a plausible theory, but since the text doesn’t actually tell us why Jesus is sighing it’s just that: a theory.

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