The Healing of a Deaf and Mute Man
31 Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. 32 There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged him to place his hand on the man.
33 After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34 He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means, “Be opened!” ). 35 At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.
36 Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. 37 People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
All This And More
I want to point out one more thing about this miracle of Jesus. We assume here that Jesus heals only the physical limitation of this man’s deafness and muteness, that he gave the man the ability to hear and talk. But if this is the only thing that Jesus did, if he just addressed the man’s physical, bodily limitation…he still would not have been able to talk. The man was deaf, and had been so for some time, and of course we need to be able to hear conversation in order to learn to talk properly. So healing his physical deafness and muteness in itself would not have been enough for this man to speak.
So this means that Jesus must have done more than this, more than just addressing the physical brokeness and bodily limitation, but going deeper – addressing the lack of communication. Teaching the man speech. Giving him the experiences he needed to have to talk. Re-wiring the part of his brain that controls how we talk. We don’t really know how it happened for sure, but Jesus’ healing for the man was not a mere unplugging of the ears and loosening of the tongue, but included everything the man needed to speak for the first time.
I think this is a good reminder as to what healing at God’s hands is like. God doesn’t just make us feel better, but leave our deeper wounds unhealed. He doesn’t just address one aspect of our brokeness and leave other parts broken. God’s healing for us is complete. His desire is to heal us through and through, physically, spiritually, and emotionally!
But this may take time. And I think the real problem for us personally is that we are so impatient in this process of healing, that once God heals one small part of us, we bolt off of the operating table and say, “Gee, thanks God! I feel one hundred times better!” And we leave before God’s work in our lives is completed. Because we do this, because we leave before our wounds are completely healed, it of course breaks open again later. We have to be more patient as God works on us, because he wants to heal us deeply and fully and finally. And nowhere do we see this absolute and complete healing more clearly than the cross:
“My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! My sin, not in part, but the whole
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more – praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!”
1. Have you ever thought you had been healed or dealt with something in your life, only to see that issue come up again…and again?
2. In order for that issue to be fully healed, what else do you think God needs to accomplish?
3. In what practical ways can you give God more time to work on your character and bring full healing?