Summary: Sometimes we are so burdened we can't even express words in our prayers. When you're praying if you don't know the words to say, don't worry. God understands sigh language.
After a break for the holidays and the Treasure Truth series, we’re back in the Gospel According to Mark. I’m calling this series, “The reMARKable Power of Jesus.”
What you don’t know can hurt you—or embarrass you. It’s important to understand what things mean. I found an actual text message a mother sent to her son. It read:
Mom: Your great-aunt just passed away. LOL.
Son: Why is that funny?
Mom: It’s not funny, David. Wht do you mean?
Son: Mom, LOL means Laughing Out Loud!
Mom: oh my goodness!! I sent that to everyone I thought it meant Lots Of Love. I have to call everyone back oh god.
In our text today, it’s important to understand what Jesus was saying and what He was really doing. In our passage today, we’re going to study a miracle in which Jesus heals a deaf man who also has speech impediment. I’ve read about this miracle dozens of times before, but as I studied it in the past few weeks, there is one detail that has always escaped me. Just before Jesus healed the deaf man, He did something that surprised me. He looked up to heaven and expressed a deep sigh. He really did use SIGH language for a deaf man.
Mark 7:31-37. “Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged him to place his hand on the man. After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means, “Be opened!”). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly. Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
If you ever visit Venice, Italy, chances are you’ll take an expensive gondola ride through the crowded canals. You’ll probably go under a famous bridge called “The Bridge of Sighs.” It has another Italian name, but Lord Byron gave it the English name. It’s a bridge that leads from a courtroom to a prison. Convicted prisoners would be led through this bridge on the way to prison. For some of them, it would be their last glimpse of Venice, thus it was named the Bridge of Sighs. Our lives are one long bridge of sighs.
That’s just one of five lessons I want us to learn from this amazing miracle.
1. The best thing you can do for a hurting friend is to bring him/her to Jesus
“Some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk…” Jesus had been on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, and He relocated to the area of ten Gentile cities call the Decapolis. Nine of these cities were on the Eastern side of the Jordan River, in modern day Jordan or Syria. They were not Jewish cities.
When Jesus came into the region, His fame as a miracle-worker had already spread. There is an unnamed man who was deaf and could hardly speak. The Greek language is very descriptive of his speech problem. It says his tongue was “tied up with a string.” Today, we talk about someone being “tongue tied.” This speech impediment could have been stuttering, or perhaps, it was difficult for him to pronounce words since he was deaf.
It’s interesting this man didn’t seek out Jesus himself. The Bible says some people brought him to Jesus. These might have been family members or friends. But their compassion for their friend and their belief that Jesus could make a difference caused them to escort their friend to Jesus.
Does this remind you of another healing miracle? In Mark 2 we read about the four friends who brought the paralyzed man to Jesus and tore up the roof to lower him in front of Jesus. My favorite part of that miracle is where it says that when Jesus saw THEIR faith, He spoke to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Jesus honored the faith of those four men.
This man couldn’t call on the Lord, or hear the Word of the Lord. He needed help. People without Jesus need help as well. Do you have a friend or family member who needs Jesus? They need your help because they are spiritually disabled. 2 Corinthians 4:4 says that “The god of this age [the devil] has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they CANNOT see the light of the gospel.”