Psalm 146 says Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. God has loosened our tongue for His praise. Yet our thanks and praise is never enough. Thanking God comes from thinking about God. Perhaps that is the reason. We choose not to think about all that God has done for us through Jesus Christ. He gives us everything we need for our body and life, yet we take these for granted. If we truly believed the words of praise in Holy Scripture, then words of praise would flow from our lips without hesitation.
We learn in the explanation of the First Article of the Creed that God the Father is the Maker of heaven and earth. Yet even the blessings of creation belong to Christ, for He is true God with the Father and the Holy Spirit. We see this in today’s Gospel as Jesus touches, spits, and cries out to heaven saying, Ephphatha. At once, the man could hear and speak. When God speaks, things happen. God speaks at creation. Whatever He speaks happens. God speaks to the deaf-mute. What He says happens: Be opened.
God creates all things good. Even this man who could not hear or speak was created good. Consider the words of Psalm 139: For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Yet the man cannot hear and speak. Jesus takes this man in particular in order to show us the power of the devil and what we all would deserve for the sake of sin. It is because of God’s unmerited goodness and mercy that we have healthy limbs, good hearing, sight, and other working body parts.
We also praise God for His providential care. Saint Paul writes in Colossians chapter one that Jesus is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. God has preserved you thus far in His tender care. He will continue to do so until you die. He gives you good days, and even in evil times He protects and guides you. Holy Scripture says we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.
Before us in today’s Gospel, we see a man deaf and mute. God cares for Him, even when he cannot see or speak. He cares for him through people who bring him to Jesus in order to be healed. The bad times of this man’s life are good, for they lead him to Jesus, in Whom this man is able to hear and speak. He has done all things well!
Not only does God care for your body, He also cares for your soul. Spiritual misery is far greater than any physical misery. The deaf-mute man is an image of our spiritual misery, for we are by nature deaf toward God’s Word. We are deaf toward the Law that reveals our sickness of sin. We are not able to hear the thunder of Mount Sinai, where God gives us His holy Law. We are also deaf toward the Gospel and likewise mute. We are willing to abuse God’s name by cursing, swearing, backbiting, and defending fools. Our throat is an open grave. We use our tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under our lips. Our mouths are full of curses and bitterness. All powers of mankind are corrupt. We are dead through sins and trespasses.
Far greater, however, is the salvation that Jesus performs for our soul. Here again we consider the deaf-mute man. Jesus takes him aside, looks up to heaven and sighs. The Lord today takes you aside from your daily tasks and laments your sin, for which He has come to suffer and die. Jesus then puts His finger in the man’s ear, speaks His Ephphatha, and heals him. The Lord does this for you again today through His Word of Gospel that forgives your sin and opens your ears, mouth, and heart. Today Jesus Christ tears the bonds and shackles of your sin through His divine Word.
Jesus Christ has spoken His Ephphatha over you in your Baptism, where He opens your ears to hear His holy Word of forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. He loosens your tongue to praise, pray, and thank Him for His wonderful works for you. This divine Ephphatha does not sound in vain. It will sound again soon over our graves, and they will open. It will sound again to the angels, and they will open the gates of heaven and lead in His elect.
The Lord has done all things well. Praise God that all shackles of sin and all bodily illnesses have an end in the resurrection. The Great Physician of body and soul has laid His hand on us and completes the cure. What was once hidden in darkness now shines brighter than the sun. You are healed. You are free. Be at peace. Praise the Lord, for He has done all things well.