Amazed Again with Jesus
I’m always learning new things about Jesus. This past week I read a story in Mark about Jesus healing a deaf man who could hardly speak. I’ve read this story dozens of times and have taught on it both in the church and at the college level. But thanks to Tim Keller and his book, King's Cross, I saw something completely unexpected which leads me to be even more amazed with Jesus.
Mark says that Jesus took the deaf man and “led him away from the crowd so they could be alone. He put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then, spitting on his own fingers, he touched the man’s tongue. Looking up to heaven, he sighed and said, ‘Ephphatha,’ which means, ‘Be opened’! Instantly the man could hear perfectly, and his tongue was freed so he could speak plainly” (7:33-35).
What I had never seen is that Jesus uses nonverbal speech, he uses sign language to enter into the world of a deaf man in a way that honors him.
First, he takes him away from the crowd. This miracle isn’t about the spectacle of the crowd and this man has been a spectacle all his life. Every time he speaks with fractured words he draws attention. His whole life people have stared or gawked. So Jesus leads him away to a safe place where they are alone.
Then he touches his ears. He touches his tongue. I mean, couldn’t Jesus have said he was healed and moved on? Of course, but he’s telling him nonverbally what he intends to do. He’s letting him know it’s okay. He’s communicating with him in a way he can understand. He’s going to help him. He can trust him.
Then Jesus sighed, a moan of empathy and understanding, and he healed him.
What struck me powerfully is that Jesus cares enough to tailor the miracle to so many of the man’s emotional and spiritual needs. I had not seen this before, but it makes me love Jesus all the more.
Jesus doesn’t treat people like problems to be fixed, he treats them like unique creations of God and gives them exactly what they need to be whole. It’s just another reason why I’m honored to be a follower of Jesus.
What do you need in your life today? What miracle are you holding out for? Whatever it is you can rest in the fact that Jesus will give you not only what you need, but how you need it.