Summary: A man is brought to Jesus who is deaf and has a speech impediment. Perhaps, because of his deafness, he never learned to speak clearly. Jesus shows ultimate compassion by refusing to make a mockery of this man’s problems. The man had problems; he would
Proclaiming His Majesty Series 2006
Reading the text of Mark 7:31-35 you come across a word that is, at first, out of place. It is one of those words that, if you are not careful, you will just read through and never give a second thought. "He sighed," Mark records. Jesus, right in the middle of healing a deaf man with a speech impediment gazes into heaven and sighs.
A man is brought to Jesus who is deaf and has a speech impediment. Perhaps, because of his deafness, he never learned to speak clearly. Jesus shows ultimate compassion by refusing to make a mockery of this man’s problems. The man had problems; he would take care of them, but in a private manner so he took him away from the crowd.
Talking would be useless, the man was deaf, so Jesus explained what he was doing on terms the man could understand. He placed his fingers in his ears which for the first time were about to hear. He spat and touched the man’s tongue, which for the first time was about to speak clearly.
However, before the healing was complete Jesus does something totally out of context for the situation. He sighed.
One might expect angels to burst forth in praise and singing or for Jesus to make some profound theological point. Perhaps, we might expect Jesus to say, "In the name of God you are healed." None of these things happened.
What happened was, Jesus stopped, turned his attention toward heaven and sighed. A rush of emotion from deep inside of Jesus rolls out as he connects with God, the Father.
I always think of God as one who commands or even one who weeps. God, who makes the dead to rise and walk at the sound of his voice. I always think of God, who with the words of his mouth created the universe . . . but a God who sighs?
We all do our share of sighing. I sighed Wednesday morning when I woke to hear the news that only one miner from the Sago Mines was found alive instead of twelve as previously reported. I sighed last week when I heard the news that a high school classmate of mine had died as the result of a drug overdose. We all do our share of sighing.
If you have children, you’ve no doubt sighed. If you have ever been faced with temptation and failed, you probably sighed. If you have ever let you heart be open and built up by the actions of someone only to be let down, you have sighed. If you have ever had your motives questioned. . .
What we are talking about here is not the sigh of relief or even a sigh of joy; no what is described here is a combination of frustration and sadness. That point you find yourself between a fit of anger and a burst of tears. This is the sigh that Jesus let escape that day.
Jesus would do it again, when his friend Lazarus died (John 11) we are told that he sighed (groaned) twice. (vs. 33, 38)
These sighs come from the same root cause. An acknowledgment of pain and suffering that was never intended. It was never meant to be this way. (Romans 5:12-21)
Man was not created to be separated from God; therefore, Jesus sighs. Man was not created imperfect, inhabited by evil; therefore, Jesus sighs. Our conversations with God were never intended to depend upon a translator; therefore, the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf.
When Jesus looked into the eyes of that deaf and speech impeded man that day the only thing he could do was sigh. "It was never meant to be this way," you can almost hear him saying. "Your ears weren’t made to be deaf, your tongue wasn’t made to stumble."
Jesus’ sighs are the reason we have hope today.
Had he not sighed, had he not felt the burden for what was never intended, we would forever remain in our helpless condition. He could have simply said, "You are all a bunch of sinners and deserve your misery," and he would be right.
But, he didn’t. Jesus’ sigh assures us that God still groans for his people. Longs for us to be whole again. Groans for the day when all sighs will cease. When things will once again be as he intended for them to be.
Mitchell Skelton - Minister
Midway church of Christ
(Inspired by a book from Max Lucado)