Lesson 36

The Gospel According to Mark

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

7:31 Again he departed from the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and came to the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the borders of Decapolis. 7:32 They brought to him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech. They begged him to lay his hand on him. 7:33 He took him aside from the multitude, privately, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat, and touched his tongue. 7:34 Looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, "Ephphatha!" that is, "Be opened!" 7:35 Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke clearly. 7:36 He charged them that they should tell no one, but the more he charged them, so much the more widely they proclaimed it. 7:37 They were astonished beyond measure, saying, "He has done all things well. He makes even the deaf hear, and the mute speak!"

Today's Lesson 

Jesus had been trying to find time for the disciples to have a time of relaxation. Finally they go to the area around Tyre and Sidon into a Gentile area. There the disciples have time to reflect on everything that had been happening to them. Things had been happening at a rapid pace and as long as Jesus stayed in the Jewish areas of Galilee they would not have much time to rest. We are not told how long they stayed away. Mark does not give us dates and times. He only refers to time in a general sense, usually when connecting two events. Mark is not trying to piece together a day-to-day history of the life of Jesus. Mark is weaving together stories that had been told in his presence.


When Jesus returns to the Jewish area, He is immediately met with a multitude. They gathered around when He arrived and they brought people to Him who were sick. One of the men was deaf and had an impediment in his speech. Many people who are deaf have difficulty speaking. One sees these two maladies go hand in hand physically and spiritually. A person who has not had their ears open to the work of God can not speak the truth. Jesus heals the man and everyone is again astonished by what He has accomplished. When Jesus opens our ears and hearts to the word of God, and we hear the truth we are astonished by His love and grace.


There are two interesting things about this story. First, the man who was healed had a completely new set of symptoms than anything Mark had mentioned up until this point. Mark had told of Jesus healing the lame and the leper. He had raised a young girl from the dead. This is the first occasion that Mark has mentioned the healing of the deaf and the mute.


Second, we have another instance of Mark translating the actual words of Jesus. Jesus spoke in Aramaic, but the New Testament is written in Greek. He gives the Aramaic word that Jesus used to open the ears of the man and then translates the Aramaic expression into Greek for his readers. This again is evidence that some people find that Mark may have written this gospel for a Gentile audience in Rome.


Do you know of anyone who is spiritually deaf that needs to hear the word of God? Will you be one to lead people like that to the one who can help them to hear?


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