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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

JESUS HEALS THE DEAF AND DUMB MAN

Mark 7:31-37 And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, He came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. And they bring unto Him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech Him to put His hand upon him. And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers into his ears, and He spit, and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, He sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. And He charged them that they should tell no man: but the more He charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it; and were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: He maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

Having healed the Canaanite woman's daughter, Jesus departed from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon where this miracle took place. At this same time, Matthew, in a slightly different recording, says merely that Jesus departed from thence, returned to a mountain near unto the Sea of Galilee, sat down, and great multitudes came unto Him bringing those having numerous maladies. Although many Jewish religious leaders would have been offended to have throngs of sick and afflicted men and women, those thought to be "unclean," brought into their presence, yet Jesus sought out a place where He welcomed them. He chose not to hide from the throngs of people, but realizing their passionate desire to be healed, sat openly and readily seen on the side of a mountain making Himself available to all those that needed Him the most. There were those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and He healed them: Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel (See Matt. 15:29-31). This is the most complete and varied list of maladies to be found in the New Testament that Jesus cured at one time during His earthly ministry. With His irrefutable and compassionate power, the Son of God cured all forms of diseases, malformations, and demon possessions. From this we gain tremendous comfort that He also brought to the world the same undeniable power over spiritual death, which allows you and I to enjoy the hope of eternal salvation in this same Son of God, Christ Jesus.

Returning to the same account, as recorded by Mark, we find Jesus coming into the district of Palestine around the Sea of Galilee known as Decapolis. It was located on the eastern side of the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee. Its name literally meant an area of "ten cities." Historians tell us that area contained such known cities as Scythopolis, Gadara, Philidelphia, Gerasa, and Damacus, as well as other lesser-known cities. Arriving in this area of Palestine, the usual multitudes that knew of His miraculous powers to heal gathered around and brought to Him people needing healing. One of these was a man that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech. Most biblical translations indicate that this man was almost, if not completely deaf, which, in turn, brought about his inability to speak - in this sense, the man was a deaf mute. The ones that brought him to Jesus were naturally eager for Jesus to put His hand upon him, that is, to cure him in the same manner as they had seen Jesus do many times before.

Jesus brought the man away from the multitude before beginning the miraculous healing process. As we have observed on other occasions, Jesus could have healed the man by merely speaking to him, He could have touched him, or He could have performed the healing without being in his presence. We are not told why Jesus sought to be away from the multitude in this instance rather than to publicly demonstrate His healing power before all gathered on that occasion. Neither are we told why He chose this particular method of imparting His power of healing to the man. This we know. Each instance of His miraculous healings was designed to teach the recipient, all others present, and all of us that are privileged to read about the event. By His seeking solitude teaches us, by example, to avoid doing good deeds in order to be seen of others. It is God's desire that all of His children learn to be humble in all charitable deeds; not to seek self-glory in doing good, but to give all glory to Him as our Creator and Heavenly Father.

Another reason Jesus sought solitude to heal the man could possibly have been to deter false prophets from attempting to heal others in the same manner. In this case, this is how Jesus healed the man - He put His fingers into his ears, and He spit, and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, He sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. Why Jesus saw the need to put His fingers in the ears, or, to put His own spit on His finger and touch the tongue of the deaf mute man is not revealed. One reason for this action could be that because the man could not hear or talk, these actions would be taken in a symbolic manner allowing him to realize exactly what Jesus was doing in order to heal his maladies. The fact that Jesus gazed up to heaven was an action that the man, having good sight, could observe, which would tell him that Jesus was seeking divine guidance from God in order to affect the healing process. With power given to Him by His Father in Heaven, Jesus spoke the word ephphatha with authority, commanding that both the tongue and the ears of this man to be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. Thus we have one more irrefutable miracle proving Jesus to be the promised Messiah, and the Son of God. Although told by Jesus to refrain from telling others about his healing, the man was ecstatically elated, and his gladness could not be restrained from shouting this miracle to the world around him, saying this about Jesus: He hath done all things well: He maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

How sad it is to witness tele-evangelists today using the same method Jesus used to hypocritically "heal" people from their audience that pretend to have similar maladies. Proven time and again to be false teachers that use fraud and trickery to deceive others for their own material gain, yet multitudes are duped into following them and contributing untold millions of dollars to satisfy their lustful, extravagant lifestyle. It is as if Jesus knew this would happen in all generations since His time on earth. Throughout the world there have always been those that are purposefully deaf to hearing and believing the gospel of salvation through Christ Jesus. Yet they readily listen, obey, and follow speakers that are intentionally dumb to the same message. Such false teachers, either in their self-imposed stupidity, or intentionally, ignore God's Word on purpose, in order to selfishly find worldly power, applause, and ill-gotten gain!