Friday 11 February 2011

Bible Book:

"He even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak." (v. 37)

Mark 7:31-37 Friday 11 February 2011


We've spent a lot of time in this chapter considering what wasclean and unclean. The chapter closes with a healing miracle whichto our modern minds is done in a remarkably unusual and uncleanway. Spitting at a patient whilst sticking your fingers in theirears and then taking hold of their tongue is certainly a form oftreatment that would raise a few eyebrows today. However thephysical contact with the parts of the body to be healed, and thedramatic way in which it was done are typical of accounts ofhealing carried out by other contemporary healers.

Mark clearly sees this healing miracle, along with that of thehealing of the blind man in the next chapter (Mark8:22-26), as being important. In both cases the men are takenaway from the crowd to a quiet place and the dramatic nature of thehealing process is similar in both accounts. For both the emphasisis on regaining important ways of communicating with and thereforeunderstanding not just the world around them but the message thatJesus was bringing.

In contrast to the many people who are unable to understand whatJesus was saying and doing - the scribes and the Pharisees, thecrowds gathered around him and even his own disciples - this poorman can now hear clearly and speak plainly. So this story is notjust to be seen in physical terms, but as a sign that those whotruly believe in Jesus will receive a spiritual healing that willtransform their lives.

This was an age when disability and illness could prevent a personfrom fully engaging in the religious life of the community. But anencounter with Jesus shows that the problems created by disabilityare no longer barriers to an experience of God's transforming powerand love. Christ is for all, and no one need be excluded.

To Ponder

What physical or mental barriers prevent peoplefrom taking a full part in the life of the Church today? How canthese barriers be overcome?

Do we place enough emphasis on the importance ofholistic healing or do we too look only for physical signs ofhealing? How might we redress the balance?

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