Summary: Jesus doesn’t just talk the talk but walks the walk. He shows how much he cares.
Do any of you know someone who is deaf or mute? Have you ever encountered someone with whom you couldn’t communicate? Have you ever met anyone who spoke a different language? What were your reactions? How did you feel? Inadequate? Inept? Incompetent?
Last summer while I was employed at the seminary, I worked with a young man who was deaf. It was very difficult to communicate with him because I didn’t know any sign language. I had to motion to him or act things out at first. If it was something complex that I had to communicate, I had to write it out on a piece of paper. Later, he taught me the alphabet in sign language so that we could communicate better. But
still, I had to spell out every word. I felt very inadequate, inept, and incompetent. But imagine what he feels like everyday not being able to communicate with so many others.
Today’s Gospel gives us an encounter Jesus had with a person who was deaf and mute. Jesus is completely adequate for this person’s needs. His use of sign language goes beyond anything I could ever try. Let’s take a look.
Jesus had just come out of Tyre, after healing the
Syrophoenician woman. Passing through Sidon, He came to the area of Decapolis on the southeastern side of the Sea of Galilee. There, some people brought to Him a
man who was deaf and mute. They begged Jesus to lay His hands on him and to heal him of his infirmity.
We, like this man, are deaf and mute. By nature, we can’t hear the Lord calling us to do His will. We don’t listen and obey very well. We go off and do our own thing instead of listening to what He wants us to do. We get so wrapped up in our own selfcenteredness
that we can’t hear Him. We don’t take the time to hear from Him about the wonderful promises that He makes to us in His Word. We don’t tell others about the wonderful Savior we have in Jesus. Maybe we feel inept and inadequate. Maybe we feel as if we are unable to share with others the saving Gospel. For that reason, we don’t share with others the hope that lies within us. We don’t invite others to church with us. We don’t explain to others how Jesus has set us free from our bondage. We are deaf and mute.
She had gotten off the school bus and run straight for the front door. As soon as she got through the door, the tears just gushed out as if the flood gates had opened. You were doing some housework or reading the paper. You heard your daughter crying and dropped everything you were doing. Somehow, whatever you were doing wasn’t so important anymore. Your daughter needed your acceptance and love. She needed you to put your arms around her. Later, she might need someone to listen to her but at that moment all she needed to know was that you cared about her.
Similarly, it says in our text that Jesus took him aside from the crowd, by himself. Jesus was going to do something very important for this man. Jesus wanted
him to know that nothing else mattered but him. Jesus wanted him to know that he was loved and accepted. Jesus wanted him to know that He wasn’t doing this for the crowd. He wasn’t just showing off for them. He wasn’t trying to get the crowd to Oooh and Ahhh. This was just for him. This was Jesus showing him, you are important to me. Even if the world has pushed you aside or marginalized you, you matter to me. I
value this time that I have just with you.
And that is how Jesus feels about you. He is always ready to hear your prayer. He is always interested in hearing about your day and to dry your tears. He is always ready to receive your thanks and praise. He is always ready to hear about your disappointments. He is always there for you. He is always ready to comfort and
uphold you. In fact, even when you don’t pray, He prays for you.
Pulling him away from the crowd by himself, Jesus wanted to make sure that the deaf and mute man saw everything that was about to happen. He didn’t want him to get distracted by the crowd. This was going to be a big event. The biggest he had ever seen and Jesus did not want him to miss a thing. Not just that he could sell his story to the "Jerusalem Times" but so that he knew exactly who it was that was before
You had laid him down to sleep a few hours ago and then went to bed yourself. You awake to hear him screaming. You look at the clock. It was one o’clock in the morning. As you enter his room, the high-pitched screams get louder. You pick him up from his crib. You can’t explain to him that it was only a bad dream. You can’t reason with him that he needs to go back to sleep so that he can grow up strong and