Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our Gospel passage from Mark 7:31-37 shows Jesus acting in love for his neighbor. He does this by bringing healing through very earthly means. After bringing the deaf man away by himself he engages in some very tactile actions. He touches the man’s ears and his tongue. Here Jesus also spits, which people try to interpret in many different ways. What is he doing? So far, everything Jesus has done can be understood by the deaf man. And the deaf man can agree with Jesus’ actions. When the fingers go in his ears he agrees that he can’t hear. When the finger t ouches the tongue he agrees that he has trouble speaking. But what does Jesus do next? He makes a command to the man’s ears. “Be opened.” Of course, the man cannot hear this command. He isn’t trying to hear. After all, he is deaf.
Jesus does what is impossible for this man. He opens his ears and frees his speech by his command. It’s a command which the man can’t even receive. Yet Jesus’ word is powerful.
What does Jesus do in his people and in the world? By his gracious word of command he gives life by creating faith to hear him. By his mercy he places us in a world where sick people recover, where food and water are generally readily available, and where we normally get along with one another relatively well. By his love he raises up those who will proclaim God’s words of Law and Gospel, calling us to sorrow for our sin and toreceive forgiveness, life, and salvation by grace through faith. God in Christ is good to this world, even when we don’t wish to listen to him. He cares regardless. Just like he can heal the deaf man through a word of command, he can bring the spiritually dead to life by the Gospel.
Our response? Believe that Jesus can really work in us, just as He did in the deaf man. He is faithful.
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