Summary: A sermon for the 13th Sunday after Pentecost Proper 18 Healing the Deaf and Mute Man
13th Sunday after Pentecost
"Friends, the Deaf Man & Jesus"
24 ¶ And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house, and would not have any one know it; yet he could not be hid.
25 But immediately a woman, whose little daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell down at his feet.
26 Now the woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter.
27 And he said to her, "Let the children first be fed, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs."
28 But she answered him, "Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs."
29 And he said to her, "For this saying you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter."
30 And she went home, and found the child lying in bed, and the demon gone.
31 ¶ Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, through the region of the Decapolis.
32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech; and they besought him to lay his hand upon him.
33 And taking him aside from the multitude privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and 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.
36 And he 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 dumb speak."
4 Say to those who are of a fearful heart, "Be strong, fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you."
5 ¶ Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
6 then shall the lame man leap like a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;
7 the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
In Stockholm, Sweden, a woman was injured as she rushed to catch a streetcar. She stumbled in front of the moving car and was caught beneath it. The police sent for a crone to lift the heavy streetcar off her body.
While waiting for the crane, a crowd of people gathered. One man pushed through the crowd, crawled beneath the car, and said to the woman, "Take my hand." As she took his hand she felt the nearness and warmth of the stranger. This calmed her and prevented her from going into shock.
After the crane arrived and the woman was released, she said, "I never thought an outstretched hand could mean so much."
Our outstretched hand can mean a lot to someone who is need, but just imagine what the outstretched hand of Jesus can mean.
In our gospel lesson, Jesus reaches out his hand to touch a man who had bean mute and deaf and it changed his life. But at the same time, the friends of that man reached out their hands together and brought that man to Jesus,so Jesus would have a chance to reach out his hand.
To get a better understanding of God’s grace in our lives, I would like to look closely at the three main characters in our gospel story, the friend, the deaf man and of course Jesus. We will look at them closely, to feel their emotion to try to understand their feelings as God’s free grace come unexpectedly into their lives.
First the friends. One thing we can say about these friends at the very beginning is they loved this deaf and mute man. They loved him enough to make a special effort to bring him to Jesus. They loved him enough to forget about their own welfare for a moment, so that this man could experience the grace of God. These men, these friends were fulfilling what Paul tells us in Phil. 2:4 as he says "do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others."