Again, departing from the region of Tyre and Sidon, He came through the midst of the region of Decapolis to the Sea of Galilee. 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. 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.” Mark 7:31-37
Do you Marvel or do you Believe? Jesus performed signs and wonders. I once heard someone say that the signs are there to make you wonder… the problem is wondering is not enough. It has to lead to belief.
Now, this healing is not the first time that we have seen Jesus performing the miraculous in the Decapolis region. You may recall that this is where Jesus and the disciples met the man in the tombs, the man who was delivered of the demon/s known as legion. In that incident, legion leaves the man to enter into a herd of pigs who all run off the cliff into the sea and drown.
Interesting point to notice at the end of that incident is the the people of the area asked Jesus to leave. They did not want Him personally there. He disturbed their thinking, He upset their way of life. Now when the man asked to leave and follow Jesus, Jesus said, “No stay and tell them of your miracle.” We read that he went around telling all the people and they marvelled.
The question is, did they marvel at his story or did they marvel at the truth behind the story? Did they see it as his story or did they believe that it could be anyone’s story. I think the answer is found in these verses…
So lets set the scene, Jesus and the disciples are back in the region of Decapolis. Perhaps they came back to see the man they had released previously, after all they had left him there in the region to proclaim the good news of salvation, deliverance and healing.
Well, he must have done a good job. Because this time, rather than having the crowd ask Him to leave, the crowd brings before Him a man who is deaf and has a speech impediment. You can see it now, this poor man who has probably spent his entire life being ignored, pitied, defined as being a ‘poor cripple’ only worthy of their charity. Now, he is the centre of attention.
He is pushed towards Jesus, possibly unsure of what is happening. He is the centre of the crowds attention. I reckon he is confused, scared, unsure of what is going to happen. The crowd want a show. They have heard the stories from the man who was healed. “Come on preacher! Do it again. Do it again.”
Its not that there request is wrong, but I think their heart behind the request was wrong. They didn’t want to see the Son of God releasing the Kingdom into and over someones life. They just wanted to marvel some more at a miracle. They didn’t seem to want to understand the reason for the miracle.
So, here is Jesus and the man looking at each other. One confused, the other compassionate. The crowd, baying for a spectacle. What a mess. Jesus takes the man aside from the crowd. I am sure that he gently led Him to a place of peace and safety. We can’t tell for what is written, but I am sure that He put the man at ease. Did He ask him, though signs, “Do you want to hear?” I don’t know, but one thing I do know is that Jesus is full of compassion and love. I know that as He liked at that man He would have just loved him, and wanted Father’s will for him.
So, He takes him away from the crowd. From the confusion of motives. From the marvelling and unbelief. Jesus deals with him as an individual, not as an example. He starts by putting His fingers in his ears to release his hearing. Next is the man’s speech. “Be opened!” A simple authoritative command to release the captive.
Much is made of the method that He healed the man. I don’t know why He did what He did. I guess, because He is Jesus and He can do it however He wants, is as good an answer as any. But do it He did. Another person bound in sickness freed by the power of Holy Spirit.
So what can we learn from this today? First, do we believe that healing is available for all today, despite the circumstance? Do we marvel at what He has done, wondering if He might do it again or do we have unswerving belief that of course He will do it again?
Next, as we come to Jesus owe bring people to Jesus, are we approaching that throne of grace in love for the one who needs healing and in love of the One who does the healing or are we there hoping? “Lets give it a shot. Ive heard that this can work…”
Next, and we who preach and hold ministry services must check ourselves for this, are we calling a ministry line so that we can see some ‘cool and amazing miracles’ happen or are we preaching and calling people forward because we love them and we are offended by the work of the enemy that has left them living lives far from the perfection that God has planned for them?
Are you as keen to pray with someone at the back of the room, privately as you are in the prayer line with the congregation watching?
Are we as interested in the individual as Jesus is? The heart of Father is that every single person be saved, healed and delivered from the kingdom of darkness into His Kingdom of glorious light. Is that our heart? Is that our expectation? Is that our driving ambition?
Are we flexible enough to understand that God has different ways to talk to and demonstrate His power for different people? There is no cookie cutter formula. No ‘pray this prayer, lay hands like this, fall over like that and you are healed.’ Some may need prayer, some may gently receive salvation and healing before the ’ministry’ has even begun.
Some may need the laying of hands, others not. Remember, as the title of this devotion reminds us daily – This is about The Father’s Heart, not about ours. He doesn’t do it our way. We re called to do it His way!
God so loved this man that He sent Jesus into that region to meet with him. Jesus separated him from the crowd, treated him with respect, mercy and compassion and delivered him into the Kingdom of Heaven. Lets look around today. Who is Father leading us to? How can we present the Kingdom to them? How can we manifest the power of the Spirit to see them receive what they need? How can we be like Jesus today?
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