Summary: Jesus goes to an out of the way place in order to reach someone who felt out of place because He has a special place in His heart for those who have special needs!
Open Ears and Unleashed Tongues
Rev. Brian Bill
August 13-14, 2016
Sermon Part 1
Thanks for gathering with us this weekend as we worship through music and dive into the Word through the message. There are sure a lot of activities and events going on right now like the Rio Olympics. In the QCA we have the John Deere Classic in Silvis and the Men’s Fastball World Tournament in Moline. On top of that, did you know that the Nina and Pinta are now docked in Davenport!
Speaking of historical celebrations, at least ten Edgewood couples are marking 50 years of marriage this year. Here’s a picture that appeared in the Dispatch/Argus last Saturday of the couples that were married right here at Edgewood five decades ago. Let’s give them a shout out because in an age of starter marriages and unholy hookups, these couples are keeping their vows to remain married for better or for worse – Paul and Janet Janecek, Dave and Diane Carnithan, Bob and Betty Daggett, Don and Delma Rose, Jim and Sharon Rice, and Larry and Pat McClean. Other EBC couples celebrating 50 years include: Glenn and Cindy Granger, Dave and Carol Guss, Bill and Myrna Orris and Jim and Mary Kay Sims. If you’ve been married 50 years or longer, could you stand?
With all that is going on, you could be gone this weekend, but you’ve chosen to gather with God’s people. Way to go!
The order of our service is going to be unusual, as the sermon will be divided into two parts. We’ll begin with a first person narrative and then we’ll move to a time of praising followed by some more preaching and practical application.
In order to fully engage in God’s Word, turn to Mark 7:31-37 and follow along. The passage is found on page 1072 in the pew Bible.
Go back in your minds not 50 years ago or even to 1492 when Columbus sailed the ocean blue, but all the way back to the year A.D. 32 and listen to this narrative from the perspective of a formerly deaf man who struggled to speak…
I wasn’t born deaf but lost my hearing when I was a toddler. I could speak a little bit but apparently I was hard to understand because people would roll their eyes or laugh when I tried to formulate words. Some became impatient while most ostracized and isolated me because I couldn’t hear what was being said.
I was completely cut off from all communication. I felt forgotten and was extremely lonely. People thought I was stupid because I stuttered and stammered. I knew I wasn’t but I eventually wondered if they were right. It felt like my tongue was all tied up, like there was a chain holding it down.
Some thought I was demon possessed and others believed that God had judged me for some sin that my parents or I had committed. I was miserable and cut off from the community.
I had a double disability but I did have a few friends who cared about me. One day these guys brought me to Jesus – I didn’t know who He was or that He was even in town. I couldn’t really understand what they were saying but from their hand motions and facial gestures it appeared that they were urgently asking Jesus to help me. It actually looked like they were begging Him. Unbelievably, Jesus looked at me with love, put His arm around me and gently led me away from the crowds.
Jesus wasn’t going to put on a performance for the people and He didn’t treat me like I was a problem. For the first time, I felt like a person who mattered. When we were all alone, He did something that changed my life.
With His countenance full of compassion, Jesus took his two index fingers and thrust them into my ears! It’s like He was using sign language, but more than that, He touched me at the point of my greatest disability. And then He did something that you might find gross but it meant the world to me – he spit on his fingers and then touched my tongue!
Jesus had my full attention at this point. As I gazed into His face, He looked up to heaven to show me that all glory goes to God the Father. And then, even though I couldn’t hear yet, I saw Jesus take a very deep breath and blow air out of his mouth, like one does when sighing or groaning.
His sigh showed deep compassion for my situation because He loves to extend mercy to those in misery. My mind went to Isaiah 53:4: “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” It felt like Jesus was saying, “Your sorrows are MY sorrows.” I love that Jesus is drawn to those with disabilities and that those who are hurting are drawn to Him.