“They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, ‘Ephphatha,’ that is, ‘Be opened.’ And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke openly.” (Mark 7:32-35)
Jesus was a hearing aid and speaking aid to this man. With spit, Jesus touched the man’s ears and said, “‘Ephphatha,’ this is, ‘Be opened,’” and the man’s ears were opened, and his tongue was released.
Sometimes I need to have my ears opened because I don’t always hear clearly, or because I have selective hearing.
My hearing problems lead to speaking problems. Although I’m not actually deaf, I’m sometimes tone-deaf, emotionally deaf, deaf to what’s most important, deaf to God. I need healing.
How about you? Do you always hear and speak clearly? Do you ever mishear your spouse, child, boss, or employee? Ever misspeak any of the above? Ever deliberately shut down your ears? Ever spoken words you know would hurt or cause damage?
Some friends brought this deaf man to Jesus. What would happen if some friends brought us to Jesus and if Jesus took us aside, spat upon His fingers, and then touched our tongue, and said, “Ephphatha”? What do you think Jesus wants us to hear?
I have some clues: “Dear friend, be well and whole, be happy and secure, be strong and at peace, be forgiven and forgiving, be loved and go love.”
Once our ears were healed, how might Jesus want our tongue to be released? What does He want us to say to others? Jesus would want us to share all that He had said to us.
I encourage us to identify with the man in this story. Sometimes we are deaf. Sometimes we have a speech impediment. Jesus healed him. Jesus can heal us. Pray for His holy spit to anoint us and listen for Him to say, “Ephphatha.” There aren’t many words sweeter to hear or to share.
- How do you identify with the deaf man with an impediment in his speech?
- Once Jesus has opened your ears and healed your own forms of deafness, what does He want you to hear?
- Once Jesus has healed and freed your tongue, what does He want you to share with others?