Shh It Is A Secret

Shh It Is A Secret: Mark 7:31-37
Pastor John Weathersby
Sunday July 12, 2020

There is an element in us that want’s to be quiet about the things happening in the church, while also being loud.

That is, the spectacle rightly given to Jesus isn’t from His “power” over creation – it’s His majesty.

The past two week have given us two passages that have been difficult for me to settle over the years – so lets work together and try to work through these.

Last week, we see the woman saying, even the dogs get crumbs from under the table. A pagan reading of that can read, Jesus calling her a lesser person, accepting her as faithful when she sees herself as secondary under the jew. This isn’t what happened, in fact, Jesus allowed this event to occur so that the 12 and the Jews in this fringe area could see His mercy grace and love on display.

We’ll see a Jesus who is methodical and purposeful with God’s glory – and ask are we.

Mark 7:31–37 (ESV)
Jesus Heals a Deaf Man
31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis.
32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him.
33 And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue.

This is the key to the entire thing.

“Taking Him Aside”… the language phrasing here makes a big deal of this. The text conveys through it’s structure that Jesus took him off and away privately; they together.

Jesus’ miracles were grace and merciful; they’re not spectacle, they’re not even center stage – they’re just an element of His grace towards a sin sick world. He pulls this man aside from the crowd, this was private. He didn’t perhaps want this man the center of spectacle, He didn’t perhaps want Himself center of a spectacle..

Remember too who is this man and what is his plight? A man who is deaf and has a speech impediment.

Have you noticed with the COVID briefings at least early on you’d see a sign language interpreter on the screen communicating all that’s being said? Have you ever thought what it must be like to be deaf? This man is both deaf and generally non-verbally communicative. Look at all the laws in place we have to normalize disability, work to make live easier for disabled folks – in these days; what of those provision existed. I’d say, none. Yet Jesus here takes him aside from the crowd and does some things we think are very strange. I think these are accommodations for the man’s disability; Jesus shows great mercy and compassion and more than JUST that Jesus is methodical and purposeful with God’s glory

The crowds must be swarming at this point around Jesus. If we look at Matthews summary of this time in Jesus’ ministry it reads like this:

Matthew 15:30 (ESV)
30 And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them,

How does this man communicate… he is deaf and cannot speak, the word translated here “speech impediment” directly translated means “thick voiced”. Jesus is communicating together with this man. In the way this man can; He, Jesus, is accommodating how he communicates and passes a blessing on to him in a way he can consume and understand. As the world usually likely roars on around Him, Jesus makes this expressly about him.

34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.

Jesus having touched the ears and tong of this man now diverts his gaze up, sighs – all communicating with and accommodating to a deaf mute man. Having been unable to hear, I bet the world was instantly loud and chaotic, having not been able to talk to people well before this was about to be a strange world for him, perhaps having not known previously about God, now wanting to understand who was this that communicated with me, clearly looked to God and then I was able to hear and talk. What was the result of this man’s healing?

Saving faith.

Mark summarizes:

36 And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it.

Picking back up from the aside with the previously unable to hear unable to speak man in private, knowing Jesus’ ministry was as Matthew described in 15:30 bringing many people who at Jesus’ feet were healed Mark notes generally that Jesus charged them to tell no one.

We get no help as to why. There are some things we can fairly assume, maybe he didn’t want a “healing ministry”. Jesus was here to seek and save, to be the lamb of God, to teach from scripture. If he wanted to have a healing ministry it wouldn’t have been difficult, he wanted people not distracted from the main thing, and the main thing is not some temporary life with in the scheme of eternity ailments which are brief – rather Jesus wanted them and by extension us to know the God of creation.

37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

After all Isaiah prophecies that the Messiah would do these kinds of thing:

Isaiah 35:5–6 (ESV)
5  Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
6  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;

But these things server as a pointer on to something greater. The knowledge and knowability of God. This is why Jesus takes the time with this man to pull him aside, not making spectacle but rather connecting individually, taking time to allow him to see the compassion of the savior in a way that connected, not through the touch of a hand and words but rather through means that made since to him all while pointing (almost literally, through gaze) to God.

Perhaps in Jesus approach with this man there is a great lesson for us, what about the ways we live, walk, and interact with other purposefully draw gaze to God? Jesus was methodical and purposeful with God’s glory – are well?

They testified to who Jesus was, prayerfully their “astonishment beyond measure”, went on to glorifying God through their lives. And that is the hope of us, in the church today too. That we, as we’re astonished in God day-by-day, bringing Him glory as we proclaim Him with our lives.

As Christians this side of the cross, in post modern times, we have unique opportunity to bring God glory. Increasingly as the world around us becomes more and more confused, our ardent stand for/on truth.

Mark brings our attention simply to a savior who is methodical and purposeful with God’s glory. He shows us that is we want popular Jesus, or Jesus who is successful in the eyes of the elite, or Jesus who is the chief of medicine, or who is how you get money, or how you’re successful, or who waves His hand over your family and makes it all well; this isn’t your guy. He’s not hear for that.

He’s not Gronk on Game on, leveraging his fame to create good times that make money, he isn’t Jesus who want’s to be known as miracle worker – He is the Jesus for whom compassion drives Him to step into the possible, and author it while inspiring saving faith, not fanfare and interest.

Jesus way to salvation for us isn’t a 5-step program to beat sin in our lives, it’s not a program for greater discipline and picking yourself up by your bootstraps, no our sins are borne on Jesus’ own body, on the cross transferring all the hatred and sin of man onto the savior of the world as a vehicle for God’s measured wrath against sin to bring about forgiveness.

Isaiah said by His stripes we are healed, before the Romans ever came and perfect torturous murder, what did Isaiah think of these words… The world around us would want to hear about how Jesus fixed a person’s situation, how He made their live easier from their current burden, maybe the world would watch a television show where Jesus hits people with His sports coat and heals them and they jump around on stage and everyone has a good cry so church – lets share about BOTH the powerful miracle worker Jesus of scripture, and the actively working today Savior of the world who calls people now forward through His cross, the biggest most flagrant miracle of all time and that will ever be – the defeat of sin and death.

1 Corinthians 15:55–57
55  “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
And so I ask of your life – as Mark challenged with this passage, methodical and purposeful with God’s glory, are you?

Pray, Observe, Apply.

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