In recent years, I have become a student of stories. I once read the work of an artist who helped me realize the effectiveness of telling good stories in lieu of trying to prove a bunch of points.* As with every other principle of the universe, this is seen most clearly in Jesus – the Servant Messiah. Where most of us are tempted to present annotated and bibliographical theses to defend ourselves, Jesus provides us with a plethora of very real stories that reveal the depth of His Love and the strength of His Character. This past Sunday, Pastor Dave continued preaching from the book of Mark, covering two of chapter seven’s stories: the Syrophoenician woman, and the man who couldn’t hear.
As Jesus returned from the “unclean” land of the Gentiles to the Sea of Galilee, He is met by yet another desperate group of people. These people, from the region of Decapolis, may even have heard of Jesus from the (formally) demon possessed man that Jesus rescues in chapter 5. Unlike some of the other crowds we have come across, this one is eager to see the work of Jesus made manifest, and they ask on behalf of someone else – a man among them who cannot hear, and has a bit of trouble with his speaking.
Only two verses in, things start to get a bit more interesting. The method by which Jesus chooses to heal this man is somewhat perplexing; but as Dave pointed out on Sunday, it was also purposeful. Jesus’ actions are a visual aid. He lovingly and specifically communicates just what it is He plans to do for the man – just how it is He plans to rescue him.
Leading the man away from the crowd, where eager eyes and pleading voices are a little less intrusive, Jesus sticks His holy fingers into the deaf man’s ears. “These ears,” His fingers say to the man, “I will heal those.” Then Jesus spits, and touches his tongue. “That tongue,” His hand assures, “well, soon it will have to try not to speak.” (v36) He turns His gaze towards heaven, and lets out a sigh. Then He says to the man, “Be opened.” And the body of the man obeys Him. Gone is the grime only heaven could heal; removed are the chains that once held his tongue.
Away from the crowd, the voice of Jesus is most likely the first one he hears. And as he speaks plainly, he has a good story to tell: Jesus – our Savior – does all things well.
*Blaine Hogan, Untitled
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