[Mark 7:31] “Again, departing from the region of Tyre and Sidon, He came through the midst of the region of Decapolis to the Sea of Galilee.”
In “Tyre and Sidon” we see Jesus crossing religious barriers.
Jesus leaves “Tyre and Sidon” and passes through the “region of the Decapolis.”
“Decapolis” - Greek word “deka”-“ten” and “polis”-“city”
This was an area of 10 cities grouped together on the east side of the sea of Galilee.
These cities were centers of Greek and Roman culture in the midst of Jewish territory.
Jesus is continuing His ministry to the Gentiles.
1. Contrasting His ministry with that of the Religious Leaders.
2. Correcting the Jews view towards the Gentiles.
Matthew indicates that Jesus spent some time in this region “healing many.”
Mark provides us an example of one of these healings.
[Mark 7:32-35] “Then they brought to Him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech, and they begged Him to put His hand on him. And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers in 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.” Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly.
Describe the man: Mark says he “was deaf and had an impediment in his speech.”
“Impediment in his speech” meaning he “had difficulty with speech.”
This doesn’t mean the man was mute, but implies an inability to form intelligent words.
One of the key components to developing speech is through replication.
Hearing a sound - observing the association - and then repeating.
Religious Tradition Concerning Exorcism: If a person was unable to speak, they believed he was possessed with a demon that could not be exorcised.
Traditional exorcism began by asking the demon what his name was.... if you couldn’t get a name, the demon wasn’t coming out!
It’s interesting to note “they brought to Him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech, and they begged Jesus to put His hand on him.”
Last week we observed how the faith of a mother saved a daughter.
This week we see the important role friends can have.
There was no way this man had ever heard of Jesus.
This man was limited because “hearing” plays a central role in faith.
In Matthew Jesus tells us that healing commences with the ears!
“Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.”
In Romans we learn that faith begins with the ears!
“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”
In Galatians we learn that sanctification continues with our ears!
“Did you receive the Spirit by the law, or by the hearing of faith?”
In Hebrews we’re warned that unbelief starts with our ears!
“And having been perfected, Jesus became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.... of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.”
Example: This Gentile woman “heard about Him, and she came.”
If faith begins with hearing we need to be doing 2 things:
1. Go into the world and tell people the good news of Jesus.
2. As these men did.... Bring the deaf to a place they can encounter Jesus.
Question: Why are we encouraged to bring the lost to “church” to encounter Jesus when we know Jesus and His ministry isn’t limited to a stationary location?
Biblically: A church building has no intrinsic significance.
Culturally: A church building is significant because of what it’s come to represent.
It is simply an undeniable and inescapable truth that almost universally people have come to view a “church building” as the place to encounter Jesus.
It’s been this way within Christianity for at least the last 1600 years.
And we see physical buildings as holy places in virtually every major religion.
Though we hold to a Biblical view that the people are the church and the building has no intrinsic significance, we still encourage you to bring the lost to church to encounter Jesus because sometimes our faith needs a point of contact.
This of it this way.... Christians are not encouraged to bring the lost to a church building because this is where we believe God’s work only takes place. Christians are encouraged to bring the lost to church because this is where the lost expects God’s work to take place.
This is why when a person rebells against God, they don’t go to church.
This is why people saved in church tend to enshrine the building.
Application: May we be like these friends and bring the lost to Jesus!
Though they desired Jesus to heal their friend, we should point out that they asked Jesus to heal their friend a certain way. “They begged Jesus to put His hand on him.”
Because they expected Jesus to work in a certain way, this might explain why Jesus decides to handle the situation is such a bizarre way.
Scene of Activity
Jesus “takes him aside from the multitude” bringing him to a private setting.
Jesus then “puts His fingers in his ears and He spat and touched his tongue.”
This could have been Jesus way of getting the man’s attention.
“Fingers in his ears” - He’s going to heal him of his deafness.
“Touching the man’s tongue” - He’s going to fix his speech problem.
Since saliva was viewed in the ancient world as a medicinal tool, “spitting” could have been Jesus’ way of letting the man know He was about to be healed.
It’s simply a reality that if Jesus can’t get our attention with His Words, then He will use more extreme measures to get our attention! (B-Sides)
There was no formula to the way Jesus healed!
Jesus showed that power was not dependent on a method, but rather a person.
Jesus “looks up to heaven” - the glory for the healing would go to God.
Jesus “sighed” - Greek word “stenazo” meaning “to groan with grief.”
The effects of sin had limited this man.
It’s been said, “Sin is the desperate condition of fallen humanity.”
Jesus “said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.”
“Ephphatha” - command in Aramaic.
“Be opened” - Greek verb “dianoigô” - “to open thoroughly what had been closed.”
Don’t you find it interesting that Jesus spoke to a deaf man!
Jesus has the ability to bypass the ears and speak directly to the heart.
Mark tells us that “immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly.”
2 areas that weren’t operating up to the original design were fixed by the creator.
Note: The healing didn’t happen as these men had assumed.
Jesus didn’t heal the man by touching him. Our text is clear that Jesus had been standing there with his hands in his ears and mouth for a few moments.
The miracle took place following Jesus’ Word.
Jesus “said to him....” He spoke a command and creation obeyed.
In the creation process we’re told that “God said....”
Radical aspect of the miracle was the fact the man immediately “spoke plainly.”
“Plainly” - Greek adverb “orthôs” meaning he spoke “rightly.”
Luke 7:43, Peter answered Jesus and said, “I suppose the one who he forgave more.” And Jesus said to him, “You have rightly (orthôs) judged.”
It’s takes a child 3 years to learn a language.
Until 15-18 months children learn one word every three days, then almost overnight they suddenly begin learning 10 words a day.
By 18-24 months children begin using grammar to sort out what it all means.
On average the learning of words continues to the age of 30.
The Miracle: Jesus not only gave him his hearing and speech, but provided him a fully functioning vocabulary (Greek and Aramaic).
[Mark 7:36-37] “Then He commanded them that they should tell no one; but the more He commanded them, the more widely they proclaimed it. And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”
Consider the contrast between the Jews and Gentiles....
God told the Jews to be a witness unto the world.... they kept it to themselves.
Jesus tells the Gentiles to tell no one.... they go out and tell everyone.
“He has done all things well.”
If Jesus is the head of our church this is a great standard for ministry.
If Jesus is your Lord, you should do all things well.