Summary: Jesus "sighed" healing a man deaf. (quotes from Max Lucado) His creation was not meant to have illness, death. Jesus sighed Pharisees rejected God in their mist use your "spirit gift gifts"
In Jesus Holy Name September 9, 2018
Text: Mark 7:31-35 Pentecost 16
“When God Sighed”
The shortest verse in the bible is from the Gospel of John 11:35. “Jesus Wept”. When Jesus arrived at the tomb of Lazarus John tells us Jesus wept. Did you ever ask yourself why? Did his tears fall because a dear friend had died? He felt the loss. Did his tears fall because death is an alien intrusion into a perfect world God created. Death was never intended to be our human experience.
Reading in the Gospel of Mark I stumbled across another unusual word. This simple word has caused me to think deeply about the over whelming love that God has for me, for you. It’s an interesting word that I never would have ascribed to God. It might change your mind about God.
Let’s read the passage together. Mark 7:31,32,34,35
Jesus is presented with a man who is deaf and has a speech impediment. Perhaps he stammered. Maybe, because of his deafness, he never learned to articulate words properly, we are not sure. But his friends knew Jesus could heal him and so they asked.
Jesus, refusing to exploit the situation, took the man aside. He looked him in the face. Knowing it would be useless to talk, he explained what he was about to do. He spat and touched the man’s tongue, telling him that whatever restricted his speech was about to be removed. He touched his ears. They, for the first time, were about to hear.
But before the man said a word or heard a sound, Jesus did something I never would have expected. He sighed.
I might have expected a clap, or a song or a prayer. Instead the Son of God paused, looked up to heaven, and sighed. This is a deep emotion that says more than words.
He sighed. It seems out of place. I never thought of God as one who sighs. I have thought of God as one who commands light out of darkness. One who speaks, and fish fill the sea, birds fill the sky. I have thought of the scene in Bethany and see a God who weeps at the death of Lazarus. I’ve thought of God as one who calls forth the dead with a command….but a God who sighs?
We all do I share of sighing.
I sighed this week when I remember the family of the 7 year old girl killed in a boating accident at Bass Lake over Labor Day weekend. On our mission trip to Kenya years ago, I sighed when dirty-faced, runny nose child, dressed with torn clothes, begged for money so more glue could be breathed into his lungs.
I sighed this week when individuals shared their emotional pain from their experiences in life and their sleepless nights. No doubt you’ve had your share of sighing.
If you have teenagers, you’ve probably sighed. If you’ve tried to resist temptation, you’ve probably sighed. If you’ve had your motives and reputation questioned you probably sighed. If your best acts of love were rejected, you probably sighed.
I realize there does exist a sigh of relief, a sigh of joy. But that isn’t the sigh described in Mark 7. This sigh of Jesus lies somewhere between frustration and a burst of tears.
The apostle Paul spoke of this sighing. Twice he said that Christians will sigh as long as we are on earth and long for heaven. The creation sighs as if she were giving birth.
(read Mark 8:11-13) He sighed deeply. Such disappointment. Why? The Pharisees were always asking Jesus for “signs” to prove he was the Messiah. How can you not interpret the present signs….It’s as if he said… Isaiah told you!!!! “When you see the lame walk, the eyes of the blind opened…the mute tongue shout for joy…” the Messiah is in your midst. He sighed in sadness at their rejection.
Jesus sighed. Jesus recognized a pain that was never intended. Mankind was not created to be separated from our creator; and so he sighs. Creation was never intended to be inhabited by evil. His tears fall at the tomb of Lazarus because death was never to be part of our experience. All creation groans under the strain of evil….longing for a return to the “Garden”, how life once was.
Conversations with God were always meant to be personal, face to face, in the “cool of the evening, in the garden”, but now we need the Spirit to intercede on our behalf….looking forward to the day when we will see God face to face.
When Jesus looked into the eyes of this man, Jesus knew that this deafness, like other diseases and death itself are the consequence of the “Fall” of humanity in the Garden of Eden. He knew that God never intended life to be this way. He sighed. “Your ears weren’t made to be deaf, your tongue wasn’t made to stumble.” The Master sighed. He came to set things right. Death was never meant to be permanent. He came to set things right when He Himself rose from death and the grave.