Tuesday 09 February 2016

Bible Book:

“They were astounded beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.’” (v. 37)

Mark 7:31-37 Tuesday 9 February 2016

Psalm: Psalm 33


(Today is Shrove Tuesday, the day before the beginning ofthe season of Lent, leading to Easter. Shrove Tuesday has come tobe seen as something of a festive day, before the season ofreflection and penitence of Lent.)

Jesus' ministry at this point in Mark's Gospel, covered thewhole of the southern Phoenicia, which was a gentile (non-Jewish)area. Here he performed many astounding miracles, including thehealing of a man deaf and with a speech difficulty.

We can sense the eagerness with which people in this non-Jewisharea came to Jesus pouring out their many needs. "They begged himto lay his hand on him" (v. 32): this is a whole heartedrequesting. Jesus' healing stories generally have a pattern,beginning with a request for healing to happen. This suggests wehave to ask God for healing. God's healing is not imposed onus.

The story is about speaking and hearing. In the very beginning,God spoke creation into being (Genesis 1), and God gives humans the gift ofspeech, hearing and sight (Exodus4:11). In this passage, Jesus took the deaf man aside, out ofthe gaze of the crowd. Often when Jesus is described as takingpeople aside, it is his close disciples. But here the one takenaside is not a disciple, but someone who wishes to hear and speak,and he may well have been non-Jewish. God can be intimate withwhoever God chooses.

The healing is described in detail, and shows Jesus releasingthe man from his disability. His ears were "opened" (v. 34). Jesusdemonstrated that he has the power to do what God alone was thoughtto be able to do.

Then Jesus ordered the man not to tell anyone. The motif ofJesus' secrecy is a recurring theme in Mark's Gospel. Perhaps Jesusdid not want the temptation of being famous, distracting him fromhis main purpose of showing the nearness of God's kingdom or maybehe did not want to encourage people to follow him for the wrongreasons. In this, he failed. People were amazed at what Jesus coulddo by his very presence, and they flocked to him to meet theirneeds.

To Ponder

  • Spend some time thinking about what you most value about thegift of speaking, what use you make of it and what you would mostmiss, if you could not hear.
  • Who do you know who cannot hear well, and how could you reachout to them?
  • Is there any way that God is calling you to make better use ofthe gift of your voice? In what ways do you make your voicecount?
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