Trinity 12 – Mark 7:31-37

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit

            The prophet Isaiah writes: the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. This Scripture passage, with many others, indicates that the promised Messiah is the almighty Helper sent by God. Jesus is our Helper Who has done all things well.

Jesus helps the sick. Among those who came to our Lord in Mark chapter seven was a deaf-mute man. Living life unable to hear or speak is deplorable. How shall that person hear the Word of God? How shall he speak the Word when he cannot hear the Word? It was often thought that a person who was blind, deaf, mute, or had any other illness, was being punished by God for something that happened in that person’s life or his family’s life. The disciples once asked our Lord concerning a blind man, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

Although illness and death is generally a result of the fall into sin, God often has special reasons why He also imposes various misfortunes and afflictions on His faithful. Consider Job. God tells Satan: there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil. Satan throws everything but the kitchen sink at Job, yet he remains faithful to his Lord.

Consider also Saint Paul. He writes in Second Corinthians chapter twelve: So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations ,a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

It has pleased God to make this man deaf and dumb in order that Jesus might have the opportunity to reveal to him His ability to heal and thereby to give the assurance that He is the Messiah, the Christ, and the true Helper in every need. This is why the Lord sent to the deaf-mute dear friends who looked after him and brought him to Jesus.

Sometimes Jesus helps in other ways. When He cast out demons from a man in Matthew chapter eight, the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” In this case, Jesus takes the deaf-mute man aside, put His fingers into His ears, touched his tongue with spit, looked up to heaven and sighed. Jesus touches his tongue with spit to show that everything is wholesome in Him and strong to help. Even His spit is holy, bringing help in time of need. Jesus sighed in order to awaken prayer in the sick man and to kindle faith in his heart. Once this was done, perfect help came. The Lord let sound His might Ephphatha before the closed ears of the deaf man. His ears heard. His mouth spoke. A man who had never heard words in his life spoke as if he had known how to speak all his life.

The first words out of the deaf-mute man were praise to God for Jesus the Helper and Savior. Not only the formerly deaf-mute man, but also all those who saw and heard this sign. Even though Jesus forbade them not to tell anyone, the more He charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. The gentle Savior Who bears the weak with patience overlooked their impulsiveness. They were astonished beyond measure. They were beside themselves with amazement. They did not know what they were doing.

Even though the crowds were told to be quiet, they could not help but say He has done all things well. We say the same thing today. The Lord has done all things well and always makes all things well. He chastens and wounds, yet He heals and binds up the broken. He helps the strong and meek, the healthy and sick. He makes no distinction among people, families, or individuals. What Satan make ill through sin, Jesus made well again, not merely healing from illnesses and disease, but also healing from sin and death in His innocent suffering and death.

Here’s how Saint Paul puts it in Romans chapter eight. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Jesus does all things well in His help for sinners. His help is making them righteous before our Father in heaven. Theologians call our Lord’s righteousness “alien”. This doesn’t mean that Jesus is a being from outer space. It means that His righteousness is foreign to us. Our righteousness doesn’t mean a thing before the Father. Only Jesus’ righteousness is holy, innocent, pure, and all availing before the Almighty Father. Everything works together, even spit and Christ’s human touch on the deaf-mute man, for the good of those who are called to be children of God.

The prophet Isaiah also writes: the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Say to the daughter of Zion, “Behold, your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.” The reward and recompense that Isaiah proclaims is yours now because of Jesus Christ. You have eternal life. You have forgiveness of sins. You are His beloved child through faith in Jesus as your Savior from sin and hell. This reward will be yours in full on Judgment Day, when Jesus calls His children Home to Him. While we live in expectation for that day, Jesus still does all things well. He provides preachers to proclaim the day of salvation in Word, water, and bread and wine. He provides the means of grace to forgive sins and strengthen you to wait a little while for His glorious return trip to judge the living and the dead.

In eternity will countless tongues boast and praise that Jesus Christ has done everything, and He has done it well. Believe it for Jesus’ sake.

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit

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