The Gospel of Mark – Part 26
Greatness of God – Mark 7:31-37
Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – Feb. 16th, 2020
- Mark continues to point us to the true identity of Jesus by including in his Gospel the healing of a man that was both deaf and mute. The Gospel of Mark is the only Gospel to record this event and it was placed in this book to give further evidence that Jesus was the promised Messiah.
- Remember, in the opening of this chapter (7), Jesus has a discussion with the religious leaders as to what makes a person “unclean.” Jesus taught them that what makes one “unclean” is the sin that comes out of our heart, not what we come in contact with. He rebuked them for making their traditions on par with the teachings of the scripture.
- Then Jesus intentionally went to a “unclean” region, to an “unclean” woman and dealt with what was truly unclean: an unclean spirit. This was a powerful illustration of what God does, and in following in the footsteps of Jesus, we are called to do as well. In our passage for today, you will see more evidence that Jesus is the messiah, which should further strengthen your faith. You will see how Jesus adjusts His ministry to those He interacts with, which should guide you in your ministry, and in so doing, see praise given to the one who does all things well. Let’s read the passage together:
Mark 7:31-37 ESV
Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
Evidence of Identity
- This whole account is the fulfillment of a prophecy about the messiah given in the Old Testament in Isaiah chapter 35.
Isa 35:1-7 ESV
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; 2 it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.
3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. 4 Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; 7 the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
- Jesus intentionally headed to a place that was a “wilderness” and a “desert” (the Decapolis). In this place, the desert will “rejoice with joy and singing” and “blossom abundantly.” The glory of Lebanon will be given to it (Jesus had just come from Lebanon) and they will see the majesty of Carmel (the place where God proved His power and identity by what He did by sending fire) and the majesty of Sharon (the place that was a green pasture). They (the Decapolis) will see the glory of the Lord, and the majesty of our God.
- The Decapolis was the place where the people pleaded to send Jesus away after He had delivered the man with a legion of demons (see Mark 5). They were afraid and they needed to “strengthen the weak hands and make firm the feeble knees” (v. 3). They needed to tell their anxious hearts to “be strong and not to fear” (v. 4), for their God will come with vengeance (on the enemies of God) and will reward those with faith (that “He would come to save you”). This is what He did.
- The ears of the deaf were unstopped, and the tongue of the mute sang for joy. “The waters breaking forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert, the burning sand into a pool” is reference to when God used Moses to bring water out of a Rock, meaning that this is something that could only be done by the hand of God. He would turn the wilderness and a spiritual desert into a place of life and abundant goodness.
Ministry of Mercy
Mark 7:32-35 ESV
And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.
- Jesus adjusted His ministry to the person and the situation. There is no formula for ministry, ministry comes out of the mercy and love of God. The first thing each of us need to do is assess the situation and adjust our method because we have wisdom and love for people.
- Some of the things that we see here include that this man was being helped by people. And we in turn need to help people come to Jesus by loving them because of their needs and asking Jesus to help them. Jesus took this man away privately so he would know what was going on – he was deaf and, I imagine, confused about all that was happening. He needed some one-on-one attention. He could not even ask questions because he had a speech impediment. Jesus adjusted what He was doing because He loved this man. Jesus then communicated to Him what He was going to do by placing his fingers into His ears, and spitting and touching His tongue. Can you imagine looking into His eyes as He did this? He showed him, by looking up to heaven, that the source of His power was from God and then with a word, “Ephphatha” (Be opened) everything changed. His ears were open and his tongue was released. He could hear and he could speak plainly. And with the word of God today, those who did not hear will hear, and those who could not speak will speak. You and I are to be ministers of mercy and this must be founded in and flow from love for others. And from this ministry comes a response of wonder.
Response of Wonder
Mark 7:36-37 ESV
And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
- They could not keep this news to themselves! Jesus told them not to tell anyone, but they could not contain what God had done for them. Because they were “astonished beyond measure” they were not able to comprehend what had taken place and who this man was. That “He has done all things well” (which is an echo of Gen 1:31, “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” ESV). They were in wonder about the man that has done all things well. This is the Jesus that you serve and the Lord that you follow.
- Continue to put the pieces together for evidence that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God (Mark 1:1). No one could do what He did. No one can do what He can. No one will do what He will do. Let the evidence give you a sure foundation for what you believe. Stand firm in your faith.
- Learn from the heart and method of Jesus. Because of His love for people, He adjusted what He did to fit best and be the most effective with the person and the situation. There is no one method of ministry. Love people and bring them to Jesus.
- Know that when people’s lives are touched by the word and goodness of God, God will be glorified in it.