Jesus Even Makes the Deaf Hear

Photo by Yoann Boyer on Unsplash

As a child of deaf parents, some details of stories from the life of Jesus especially catch my attention.  This miracle recorded in Mark 7:32-37 is one example:

And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him.  And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue.  And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, ‘Ephphatha,’ that is, ‘Be opened.’ And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.  And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it.  And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.’”

In the second sentence, we see Jesus’ “bedside manner.”  His compassion for this individual led to specific actions, as noted by Warren Wiersbe: “Since the man was deaf, he could not hear our Lord’s words, but he could feel Jesus’ fingers in his ear and the touch on his tongue, and this would encourage the man’s faith.”[1]  Not only did Jesus heal Him, but He did it in a way that would be meaningful to this one man.

Another detail Mark records is that Jesus spoke, but why, if this man couldn’t hear him?  Jesus touched the man as a testimony to him, but these words were a testimony to anyone nearby that the power of Jesus healed this man, not the man’s response to the words, since he couldn’t hear them.  There was to be no question as to the source of the healing.

Third, the word “immediately” appears many times in Mark’s gospel, including at least 5 references to healing miracles (1:42, 2:12, 5:29, 5:42, and 10:52).  A big part of this miracle is that deaf people do not immediately “speak plainly” if they recover their hearing or begin using hearing aids.  It can take years of training.  By saying “he spoke plainly,” Mark makes clear that Jesus did not just put this man on the path to recovery; He gave Him a full recovery “immediately”!

Lastly, when the people said, “He has done all things well,” they were testifying that Jesus was fulfilling a Messianic expectation from Isaiah 35:5-6, which says:

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
            and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
            and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
            and streams in the desert

In this miracle and others, Jesus showed that He was the fulfillment of all the hopes of the Old Testament, and of all mankind.  His kingdom could overcome any problem, and His kingdom is superior to any other kingdom.  No problem He encountered was beyond His power and He offers a way to a world where all problems are solved for those who believe in Him.

Praise Him!

[1] Wiersbe, Warren.  Be Diligent (Mark) (1987).  P. 95.

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