Mark 7:31-37: Healing Rituals?
31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 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. 36 And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
We are about to end Mark 7 and we have read some astonishing miracles that Jesus did throughout the book and we are not even halfway done. In this miracle, Jesus was begged by the people to heal this deaf man. And Jesus did something different here.
33 And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.
Was this a ritual that Jesus did on a man when he was about to heal a deaf person. This you do not see as a pattern in the New Testament. So why did Jesus did this healing routine to the guy?
Imagine being the deaf guy. The crowd wanted him to be healed. He heard stories about Jesus healing the sick and the deaf and the blind. Then Jesus pulls him aside from the crowd. I could imagine what was going on his head.
“Why did Jesus pull me aside? Is this sickness too hard for him?”
Then Jesus put his fingers in his ears and then he heard a spit. Then Jesus touched his tongue.
In verse 34, Jesus sighed. In its original Greek language, it means expressing grief. Jesus empathized with the deaf guy. He felt his feelings before healing Him.
Which brings us back to the question? Why did Jesus heal in this way? If you meditate on the story, you would see how Jesus wanted to personalize and empathize with the deaf guy. He needed Him to know that Jesus cared. It was a personalized way of healing him.
It makes me appreciate how God deals with me. He knows me and He knows what I need. And more than that, He feels me. He knows what is going on in my heart.
Lord, thank you for loving me and knowing me. You know my heart and my need even before I ask you.