What has Jesus done for us? How would we describe our God experience? Is it more or less than we have expected? How do we know He has done what is best for us?
Let us reflect on a detailed and rather unusual account of one of Jesus’ miracles of healing to get some insight. We are told that Jesus healed a deaf and mute man in Mark 7:31-37.
Here is abit about the background. Jesus left the region of Tyre and Sidon (Mk 7:31) where he had healed the daughter of the Syro-Phoenician woman, a woman blessed for her faith (Mk 7:24-30). He traveled through the region of Decapolis, named after ten cities in the area, mostly south-east of the Sea of Galilee. These cities were predominately Gentile and Hellenistic in their culture, where the man healed of legions of demons proclaimed Christ (Mk 5:20). Matthew’s gospel adds a few details (Mt 15:29-31). Jesus went to a mountain and sat down. Many lame, blind, mute and maimed were brought and healed. The multitude marveled and glorified the God of Israel (these are likely Gentiles).
Now, let us focus on the miracle itself. “Some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him. After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly. Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak”” (Mk 7:32-37).
Jesus took the man aside from the multitude privately to fix the attention of the afflicted man upon himself. He “put” – literally, cast or thrust – his fingers into his ears. The action was very significant. It was as though he said, “I am about to open a passage for hearing through these ears.” And he spat, and touched the man’s tongue; that is, he touched his tongue with saliva from his own sacred lips. These symbolical actions must have had a great meaning for the afflicted man. They were a tableau vivant, an acted metaphor, teaching him what he might expect from the mercy of God.
He looked up to heaven, because from thence come all good things – words for the dumb, hearing for the deaf, healing for all infirmities; and thus he would teach the infirm man by a manifest sign to what quarter he was to look for the true source of his cure. He sighed; literally, he groaned. Why did our Lord sigh at such a moment? We know indeed that he was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;” but now we might almost have expected a momentary smile of loving joy when he was about to give back to this afflicted man the use of these valuable instruments of thought and action. But he sighed even then; for he was touched with the feeling of human infirmity, and no doubt his comprehensive eye would take in the vast amount of misery, both bodily and spiritual, which has come upon the world through sin (cf. Isa 53:4); and this, too, immediately after having looked up to heaven, and thought of the realm of bliss which for a time he had left “for us men, and for our salvation.” Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. This word is, of course, addressed to the man himself; and the evangelist has retained the original Syro-Chaldaic word, as he has retained “Talitha cumi” elsewhere: so that the actual word which passed through the Saviour’s lips, and restored speech and hearing to the afflicted, might be handed on, as doubtless it will be, to the end of time. The word applies of course, primarily, though not exclusively, to the ear; for not only were his ears opened; but the bond of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly.
Jesus did nothing that the Pharisees, captious and envious as they were, could reasonably find fault with. St. Matthew (Matthew 15:30, 31) intimates that at this time our Lord exhibited a vast number of miracles, a bright galaxy of wonders, amongst which this shone out conspicuously, as a very prominent and instructive one. But, indeed, “he went about doing good.” His whole life on earth was one connected, continued manifestation of loving kindness.
Has Jesus done all things well for us? Given us rest for our soul (Mt 11:28-30)? Saved us from our sins (Mk 16:15-16)? Given us the peace the world cannot give (Jn 14:27)? If not, why not? Could it be for our lack of faith (cf. Mk 6:5-6)? Could it be our heart is restricted (cf. 2 Cor 6:11-13)? The Corinthians restricted themselves from receiving Paul’s love. Might we be guilty of doing the same in receiving Jesus’ love and power?
As God has often asked His people:
“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” – Gen 18:14
“Has the Lord’s arm been shortened?” – Num 11:23
“Is My hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem?” – Isa 50:2
“Or have I no power to deliver?” – Isa 50:2
“Is the Spirit of the LORD restricted?” – Mic 2:7
We should ponder about these things if our spiritual life is vapid! It is most likely we have not been following Jesus as fervently as we should (cf. Mt 16:24; 1 Cor 11:1-2; 1 Peter 2:21).
Jesus has certainly done all things well. He astonished those who saw His miracles (Mk 7:37). He astonished those who heard His teachings (Mk 1:22; 6:2). This is before His amazing death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven! “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor 5:17).
The renewed man acts upon new principles, by new rules, with new ends, and in new company. The believer is created anew; his heart is not merely set right, but a new heart is given him. He is the workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Though the same as a man, he is changed in his character and conduct. These words must and do mean more than an outward reformation. The man who formerly saw no beauty in the Saviour that he should desire him, now loves him above all things. The heart of the unregenerate is filled with enmity against God, and God is justly offended with him. Yet there may be reconciliation. Our offended God has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ. By the inspiration of God, the Scriptures were written, which are the word of reconciliation; showing that peace has been made by the cross, and how we may be interested therein. Though God cannot lose by the quarrel, nor gain by the peace, yet he beseeches sinners to lay aside their enmity, and accept the salvation he offers. Christ knew no sin. He was made Sin; not a sinner, but Sin, a Sin-offering, a Sacrifice for sin. The end and design of all this was, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him, might be justified freely by the grace of God through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. Can any lose, labour, or suffer too much for Him, who gave his beloved Son to be the Sacrifice for their sins, that they might be made the righteousness of God in him?
Jesus, who has done all things well, stands ready to open our ears to hear His words of truth, to open our mouths to proclaim the glory of His redemption!
Let us ask God to open our eyes and ears with the song “Open My Eyes”: