Summary: Baptism--the deaf hear, the mute speak, God sighs and the dead become "living soul"

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“ ‘Ephphatha… Be Opened’ ”

Isaiah 29.18-24; 2 Corinthians 3.4-11; St Mark 7.31-37; Psalm 146; TLH 26

the Sunday Sermon preached at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church—UAC

6843W 400N Kokomo, Indiana 46901

for the 12th Sunday after Trinity; August 18, 2002

by the Rev. Frederick E. Davison, Pastor

+ + +

Grace, Mercy, and Peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus the Lord. Amen.

The sermon for the Twelfth Sunday after Holy Trinity speaks from the Holy Gospel appointed, the Holy Gospel according to St Mark chapter 7th, with particular focus on these words:

“ ‘…He spit… and said. ‘Ephphatha, that is, ‘Be opened.’…’ ”

Thus far our text; please be seated…

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Ghost. [Amen.]

“*in that day* shall the deaf hear the words of the book…” “*in that day*… the eyes of the blind shall see…” “*in that day*… The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord…” “*in that day*… the poor… shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel…” And *that day* is—in our Gospel—*this day.* And *that day* is—by the Gospel—*this day* “*Today!*”

Indeed, “Today is the day of salvation!” Because on *this day* like on *that day* of our Gospel, Jesus, who created the heaven and the earth and all that is in them, Jesus, proves Himself to be “God… Almighty” “maker of heaven and earth” who with Father and Holy Ghost art One God, One and the Same. And not a God who is far off—really absent—confined in His Body to the Right Hand of Heaven—but the One True God who in His Flesh and Blood, Jesus, *by* His Flesh and Blood, Jesus, makes the “eyes of the blind to see,” “the meek… [to] increase their joy in the Lord…” and the “poor among men… [to] rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.”

So let us rejoice. Let us celebrate! For indeed, the “Holy One” has become on of us—yes, [in crass terms—like Joan Osborne said it] “a slob like one of us.” But quite unlike us, *He* could *do* something! Now what do I mean? What am I telling you?

How fortunate for us that *this* Gospel is appointed for our preaching today. For *today* Salvation has come to *this* household. And *today* Jesus speaks, “‘Ephphatha, that is, ‘Be opened.’” In our Gospel, Jesus “looking up to heaven… sighed…” Picture Him for a moment standing there. Why would the Holy Ghost bother telling us that Jesus sighed? What happens when you sigh? Do it. [sigh] What happens? Breath comes out of your mouth. And what happens when Breath comes out of God’s mouth?

The first time we’re told in the Bible about “God’s Breath” is what you children will be studying in the next couple of weeks: when God “breathed” life into Adam. And Adam came alive. When before—though he looked like a man, he was dead—without life. God built Adam from the ground up and yet without His Breath, Adam was not complete. So on the Sixth day, “God breathed” and Adam became “a living soul.”

You might be at this point wondering, “I thought you were preaching on St. Mark? What does Adam have to do with this man who cannot hear, this man who cannot speak? And what do wither of those things have to do with us—and this little girl Carly Jo?”

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