31 Then Jesus left the area around Tyre and went through Sidon to Lake Galilee, to the area of the Ten Towns. 32 While he was there, some people brought a man to him who was deaf and could not talk plainly. The people begged Jesus to put his hand on the man to heal him. 33 Jesus led the man away from the crowd, by himself. He put his fingers in the man’s ears and then spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34 Looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to the man, “Ephphatha!” (This means, “Be opened.”) 35 Instantly the man was able to hear and to use his tongue so that he spoke clearly. 36 Jesus commanded the people not to tell anyone about what happened. But the more he commanded them, the more they told about it. 37 They were completely amazed and said, “Jesus does everything well. He makes the deaf hear! And those who can’t talk he makes able to speak.” ~ Mark 7:31-37
Today, we conclude our study of Mark 7. The Lord Jesus began His earthly ministry in the northern region of Israel, and, for well over a year He ministered in that region. As it is today, Galilee was a rural area, and, the people are far more common and less educated. Before leaving that area for Jerusalem, the Lord Jesus traveled over the border to the north and west of Israel and entered into Gentile territory once again. His goal was the region known as the Decapolis or the Twelve Towns.
In v.31 of today's passage we read, "Then Jesus left the area around Tyre and went through Sidon to Lake Galilee, to the area of the Ten Towns."
The Decapolis or the ten Greek Towns was occupied by many Romans. As a result, the culture there was quite defined by the many Roman soldiers who were stationed there. Earlier, when Jesus was in that area, the people asked Him to leave because they thought Him to be a threat to their way of life. The Lord Jesus complied but commanded a man whom He had delivered from a legion of demons to tell others what the Lord had done for him.
In Mark 5:17-20, we learn that when the Lord Jesus had returned to that eastern shore area, the locals brought to Him a deaf mute man, and they begged Him to help him. This man is an illustration of all who out of our desperation have turned to the Lord. As a side note, Abraham, the first Jew, was a Gentile before he became a Jew. It was God's culture or definition of things that brought about the difference.
In v.32-34 of today's passage we read, "32 While he was there, some people brought a man to him who was deaf and could not talk plainly. The people begged Jesus to put his hand on the man to heal him. 33 Jesus led the man away from the crowd, by himself. He put his fingers in the man’s ears and then spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34 Looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to the man, 'Ephphatha!' (This means, 'Be opened.')"
The once skeptical people in the Decapolis brought this deaf and mute man to the Lord Jesus who took him aside and healed him by placing His fingers in his ears, and after spitting, He touched the man’s tongue. Since the man was deaf, he could not hear, but, he could feel. The Lord to put His fingers in this man's ears so that he could feel the touch of God who was addressing his ear problem. And, since speech is tied to our ability to hear, the Lord Jesus then touched the man's tongue. He spat and touched his tongue. To somebody who was so helpless, the touch of the Messiah was a great encouragement, and, it bolstered his faith in the Lord Jesus.
When the Lord Jesus looked in the mute man's eyes, he saw the look of faith. It was at that point when the man was immediately healed. Faith is the required ingredient to receiving anything from God. With the physical healing, the Lord Jesus awakened this man's faith and caused him to believe in Him.
Looking up to heaven, the Lord Jesus revealed the source of His power. God's power, when accessed, is always accessed through our submission to His will. The Lord Jesus spoke, not to the man’s ears, but to his heart. This is what He does for all of us, He speaks to our hearts. And, He has been known to use some rather unusual means to make an audience out of our hearts. Just after I had graduated from high school, I didn’t know God, so I didn’t know how to listen to Him or how to speak with Him. As you know, in 1981, my father became very sick to the point of death. Just three days before his death, the Lord Jesus met me right where I was. As a result, I became a follower of Christ.
Although my emotional blockages hindered my ability to understand, over time the Lord communicated with me in a way that I could understand. Somehow, He enabled me to know that His intentions for me were all good and that I could trust Him. Like the deaf and mute man, I sensed His deep sigh many times. He probed the deep places of my heart, where the pains of life had left many scars. He confronted that deep, searing pain, that was in me due to losing both of my parents at a young age. He performed His work of enabling my heart to see & hear Him for myself mostly through my pain. Strategically, He used my pain to enable my heart to recognize and to know Him.
In v.35-37 of today's passage we read, "35 Instantly the man was able to hear and to use his tongue so that he spoke clearly. 36 Jesus commanded the people not to tell anyone about what happened. But the more he commanded them, the more they told about it. 37 They were completely amazed and said, 'Jesus does everything well. He makes the deaf hear! And those who can’t talk he makes able to speak.'"
The Lord Jesus, up to this point, had been dealing with the man as an individual. But now He speaks to the crowd, and charges them to tell no one. He did this, as on previous occasions, because the faith of this crowd and the faith of the man who was healed were on two different levels. The eyes of the man who was healed were fixed upon the God who acts. That is where faith must rest. So when this crowd, with its low level of understanding, started to disperse, the Lord Jesus charged them not to tell others, but, He did not say that to the man He healed, for his eyes were fixed upon the God who is ready to act.
Both of these people in the latter half of Mark 7 were Gentiles that the Lord Jesus went out of His way to meet. Like them, none of us have any right being offered His salvation and gaining eternal admission into heaven. None of us have any standing on our own before God. But just like this desperate woman and this helpless man, the Lord Jesus came looking for us to offer to us what we could not produce for ourselves.
Have you entered into a personal relationship with the Lord? Have you heard His voice, for yourself? Like the desperate woman and the helpless man, when we come to faith in Him, we become living symbols of what the Lord can do in and through our willing hearts. This was not only what we needed, this is what this desperate world needs. Like you and me, they need His undying love to set them free. The lost need the Lord Jesus to open their ears and loosens their tongues. And, once the Lord has done this work in our hearts, we are granted His heart to see the lost set free.