Mark 7:31-37

Day 14


Mark 7:31-37

Jesus left Tyre and went up to Sidon before going back to the Sea of Galilee and the region of the Ten Towns. A deaf man with a speech impediment was brought to him, and the people begged Jesus to lay his hands on the man to heal him.  Jesus led him away from the crowd so they could be alone. He put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then, spitting on his own fingers, he touched the man’s tongue. Looking up to heaven, he sighed and said, “Ephphatha,” which means, “Be opened!”  Instantly the man could hear perfectly, and his tongue was freed so he could speak plainly!  Jesus told the crowd not to tell anyone, but the more he told them not to, the more they spread the news. They were completely amazed and said again and again, “Everything he does is wonderful. He even makes the deaf to hear and gives speech to those who cannot speak.” 


Although I may not be able to relate to being deaf and mute in the natural, I have found that many times in my life spiritually I have been just that.  I immediately think of the Scripture which Jesus repeats numerous times in the Word, “He who has ears, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.”

Could I be who one of the ones He is speaking to?  I sure am.  I have found that times my ears have been very dull at hearing what God is wanting me to hear.  For whatever reason,  my ears have become plugged up.  Maybe through a time of disobedience, or a moment of spiritual neglect.  Regardless, I know I have been in the place of this deaf man at seasons in my life.  I have also experienced moments of being spiritually mute.  It has been a place where because my hearing was dulled, my voice became silent on the things that matter.  They go hand in hand.

Yet, you see that when Jesus touches this man, mouths are loosed and not only the mute man’s mouth.  Even that of his friends and the crowd.  Why?  Because they knew they had something to share.  They had met a man who changed everything.

How many times have I failed to see the man who changed everything in my life, because I allowed things to block up my hearing and and silence my voice?

My hearing and speaking of what God has done is connected to others seeing and telling as well.  My hearing and speaking is part of the miraculous.  I have never  considered this quite to this degree before.  My ability to hear comes from me coming to him and him unstopping my ears.  Then I hear what he is saying and speak like the disciples of what I have seen and heard.

How can I apply this?  Well, these 40 days can be a step in that direction.  Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.   I want to keep my heart in a place where these ears hear what He is saying, and this mouth testifies of him releasing it.




  1. Reply
    Jim Holmes says:

    Let me begin with a few words to help picture the situation, and then my focus on this , is being the “deaf and dumb” man, both individually and as a church. Secondly, what really drew my attention was the fact that “Jesus sighed…” which we know has “spiritual implications”, more directly said in the next chapter. So, here are some of my thoughts…

    It did not say whether the man was born deaf and dumb, but I would guess that “speaking plain” as described in the passage could be that the probability of him suddenly speaking words would indicate that something had happened in his earlier years that left him with a speech impediment and loss of hearing. “They” that brought him to Jesus had an “earnest” faith that Jesus could heal him as indicated by the word “beseech”….like you can see them begging Jesus to heal the man. In an earlier passage, v.24, Jesus, could not hide from the people around him….and “Jesus sighing” could indicate that He needed much rest, and to have a time alone with His Father. He, like us, has needs…and so was possibly struggling with the tyranny of the urgent, which could be a temptation away from His Father’s will. Looking up to heaven…seeing and doing what He sees His Father do…keeps Him on track…bringing glory to His Father. The refusal of His word “to tell no man”, spreads the story, and increases the difficulty of hiding, or getting a time alone, from the crowds. People were astonished by the miracle that He could make “both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak”.

    Now, having said the above…what stands out in the scripture…is the fact that “Jesus sighed” and I would like to further focus on this….

    Jesus just healed a man that was “deaf and dumb”. I’ve heard one evangelist minister on this subject…that it was a good thing to “be deaf and dumb”! But in this case…it was being deaf and dumb to the world. Our senses can get us into a “lot” of trouble…that is doing things based on how we feel, whether it tastes good, looks good, sounds right. In previous scriptures in this chapter we read that “it is not what enters that defiles a man, but what comes out…” and the book of James 3:8 tells us that “ the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” and also that it can “defile the whole body” (James 3:6). What is the condition of and where is our heart? There is an ongoing battle between the “flesh” and the “spirit”. So…be “deaf and dumb” to the things of this world. You are not of the world. You are in the world, but not of it. Where your treasure is, your heart is. So I wonder…did Jesus sigh because of the greatness that might be this man’s conflict? Does the deaf and dumb now hears and speaks that which he sees?

    Take a moment and look with me into the next chapter…in Mark 8:18 we hear Jesus saying “Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?” Jesus was saying this to His disciples! Jesus sees the “heart” of man. In 8:17 He implies that the aforementioned condition comes from a hardened heart. What are you and I hearing and seeing? What are we saying? Jesus is saying that while having eyes and ears…his disciples are deaf and blind. In 8:12 Jesus sighed deeply in His spirit because the people sought for a sign. Jesus spoke about the leaven of the Pharisees and of the miracle of the loaves. Both His disciples and the people had their eyes on the miracles and the sounds of excitement (ears) of it all.

    The miraculous is the indicator of the Presence of God…but “it” is not that Person. You can see this in our churches…the miraculous happens…you see the power of it…the manifestation of the supernatural…but these are only an indicator of Someone amongst us…the Person of the Holy Spirit…but these manifestations are not the Holy Spirit Himself. Jesus in chapter 18 spoke of the “bread”, the miracle…but that was all people saw…. What they did not see, being blind and deaf…was that Jesus was the true “Bread of Life”. People looked for a sign…Jesus was the sign. They were blind to the One that was in their midst.

    So, getting back to our scripture…Jesus is our Healer. He loved us… to be well. We are the “deaf and mute” man. You can hear Him sigh as He heals us. But more important to Him is the condition of our heart. Do we hear and see with our heart? What is it that we will speak from our heart? Will we in hearing and speaking be “deaf and dumb” spiritually? What will you hear and what will you say…as regards “Jesus”? Do you now have “ears to hear”? Do you say what you hear “Father” saying?

    Is Jesus sighing over His Church? Together, let us have the “mind of Christ”…being “blind, deaf and dumb” as regards this world, that we might “see, hear, and speak(be doing)” what our Father is saying, and doing.

  2. Reply
    Sue says:

    Deaf & Mute Man:
    I have lived in a world of isolation for as long as I remember. I can’t hear those around me and to make matters worse I can’t speak, so they can’t hear me either. I’ve never heard a bird chirp, a dog growl, thunder or rain, anger or laughter. I’ve never been able to voice the words “I love you” … “I need you” … “thank you” … “I’m sorry” … or so many others that get no further than my heart. So many questions and so many feelings that have feebly been expressed in a smile or through a tear but often misunderstood. So many gestures to display the frustrations of a desperate man that have been mistaken for the volatile anger of a ‘backward’ person. Sure. I’ve had a few close friends who had taken the time to ‘hear’ me or will find a way to ‘speak’ to me in a way that I can understand. A few who believe that I am worth the time. But most either feign interest or walk the other way.
    There is excitement in the air today. My friends are indicating that I need to go with them. I don’t understand why, other than that somehow their urgency involves this man that has been travelling in our area. He seems to be causing a stir. My friends have communicated stories of lame legs healed, eyes opened, withered hands healed, the dead brought to life even … and he is making a stop in our neighbourhood.
    They want me to go with them. I’m apprehensive. I’ve lived my whole life like this. It’s been a small life but mine nonetheless. I feel safe in my small life as long as I don’t venture out too far. I know what they want. They want this healer to notice me. But I have so many questions. Do I want to be put on display again? What if he doesn’t notice me? Worse … what if he does notice me but doesn’t heal me? Do I want to endure the ridicule again? So many questions. But so many of my thoughts have never found a voice and I get carried along with the crowd. And the crowd is bigger now … not just my close friends but those wanting to see a show. Some wanting nothing more than to jeer when I’m left as unhearing and unspeaking as before. Some sincerely wanting to see a miracle if for no their reason than to bolster their own hope. I want to hope too. As I feel the excitement of the crowd part of me dares to hope .. and part of me is scared. Scared to dream, scared to hope, scared to desire more … scared to be disappointed again.
    But I’m there … and He’s here. I look, but from a distance, I try to be part of the crowd … but the crowd won’t let me. He sees me. Too late now. I’m angry at their insistence, afraid of his displeasure at disrupting what He is doing, and I’m ready to run … except my legs feel like they are made of rubber.
    And then I see it. I see the compassion in His eyes. I see what my friends had tried to ‘tell’ me. He notices me … really notices me. Not the deafness, not my inability to speak .. ME! He takes my hand and pulls me away from the crowd. He knows that I have been the amusement of the crowd too many times. And then, when we are alone, He does something weird. He spits on his fingers. This would have normally been a warning sign for me but I had seen His eyes and knew I wasn’t there for someone else’s amusement. The same fingers that He spit on touched my tongue and instantly my ears and tongue were set free to do what they were meant to do. The first words my ears heard were the words of my Healer. And the first words that my tongue spoke were words of gratitude as I fell at His feet in total amazement.

    I find it easy to relate to the deaf/mute man in this story. I know what it is like to not be heard. I know what it is like for people not to see the person behind the ‘disability’. And I also know what it is like to have the treasure of a few good friends who take the time to look beyond the obvious. Time and experience has taught me to wear my cloak well and not let many in. Trust abused can be a painful experience. But, the compassion of Christ has told me that letting down the cloak, opening the gaps in my walls is worth the risk. He has taught me that He is worth the risk. The greatest treasure is in being pulled away from the crowd with Him. WE don’t hear much more about the deaf/mute after Jesus touches him. We do hear that the crowd was amazed and couldn’t help but tell of what they had seen and heard. The deaf/mute’s healing had indeed loosened their tongues and had loosened their hearts.
    What I find most disturbing is that I found that I had a much harder job to relate to the deaf/mute’s friends. They saw his need and his heart. They had taken the time to know him. They were willing to take the time and effort to take him to Jesus. They had enough faith for themselves and their friend.
    This is where I need Jesus to work on me. Not so much to heal withered muscles, sore bones and a broken immune system. I need Him to minister to the part of me that has made me immune to those around me … to a broken world … to broken friends … to the broken heart of Christ. I need my own Spiritual eyes and ears opened to the dying world around me.
    My prayer is that this Word sinks into me to the point where it is indiscernible. As I meditate on this Word over these 40 days it ignites a personal revival that compels me to carry the broken to Him.

  3. Reply
    Pat McRae says:

    Today I see myself in “they” “some people” and wonder who they really were. Family, friends or frauds? Did they come expecting a miracle to happen or to prove the news about Jesus was false? If expecting why so amazed, beside themselves with excitement?
    Yes I have been them and likely I will find myself again someday totally amazed at an answered prayer. And just like them I have tried to box God into how I think the concern should be handled. “Lay a healing hand” how they saw it could be accomplished but Jesus had His Way of doing it.
    Can you imagine being deaf and not able to speak, wondering why you are there, only to be lead away from those who had brought you by a stranger. I wonder if he dragged his feet a little? And then he has fingers in his ears and fingers with spit on them on his tongue. I wonder if he thought ” and they think I am crazy!”. But the stranger looks to heaven and His mouth moves and now he hears and his tongue works. How amazing!!
    Don’t tell! Are you kidding? No Jesus knew man would seek the gift and not the giver of the gift. He wanted these people to know the Father, the Lover of their souls.

  4. Reply
    Pat McRae says:

    Part 2: After reading everyones comments regarding the “sigh” Jesus made I had to admit it had caught my eye also. But I had commented so I could let it go. NO I am no longer deaf or tongue tied so sleep will not come until I comment.
    Others see the sigh as weariness but I see it as frustration. Jesus came to point the people to to the Father but all He saw happening was people wanting to witness a miracle, yet another sign from Him.
    These people were raised on the stories of the Exodus and all that Moses had done. Moses parted the sea, Jesus calm the sea. Moses held up a serpent for healing, Jesus laid hands to heal. But the people didn’t seem to understand it was not Moses or Jesus it was the Father.
    I believe He sighed because He knew everyone would be excited and happy and word would get around about the miracle but it would not cause the crowd to see Him as the Son of God or to see the Father. He so wanted to introduce the Father to them. His frustration brings a tear to my eye as I realize so often I also can’t get the message across to others about how much the Father loves them and wants to do for them and has already done for them. I pray I will also sigh, always wishing that I can point just one person to my Father in heaven because He is so good to me.

  5. Reply
    Susan Craig says:

    I have to say that I can relate to being deaf and dumb. There were many times that I did not hear God speaking to me-I felt abandoned,alone and forgotten by Him as I struggled trying to understand what He was doing in my life and in the lives of those that I loved. In response to my not hearing or understanding God’s purposes, I became silent myself-how could I speak of what I could not understand? This was a time of immense loneliness for me. I can understand somewhat what this man who was deaf and dumb felt like. I think of my great aunt who had 2 brothers and 1 sister who became deaf/mutes after having a bad case of measles/meningitis in their youth. They never left their parents’ house on the farm because they had no way of making others understand them. They learned how to make themselves understood by each other with a sibling specific sign language that no one else could understand. It isolated them from other people. So I imagine the fear they would have felt if they were in a crowd of people that they could not hear or make themselves understood. It would be terrifying for them. I think Jesus must have understood that about this deaf mute because he took him away from the crowd to heal Him-so the man would not be afraid and so he could focus on Jesus without the pressure of the crowd around him. I liked that Jesus did this-it was a very personal touch that would make the man feel at ease and be seen as an individual. I often think of the crowds that gather at accident scenes or at the scene of a fire-curious-looking for a story but as onlookers-not part of the story at all. I believe that crowds gathered around Jesus more for curiosity sake than anything else-like they wanted to see the show as an audience,but were not part of it or looking for Jesus to heal them or speak to them individually. It is not until you seek Jesus out because you have a need/desire to have a personal relationship with Him that you begin to hear Him and speak of Him because you know Him intimately. The key to any close relationship is communnication. To speak,hear, to be understood and to understand. Once we draw near to Him to hear His voice and seek His companionship/wisdom-then you are more than just one person in a crowd. I want more than being an onlooker-I want to know Him intimately and walk with HIm, talk to HIm and listen to his wisdom and learn from Him. I never want to leave His presence because He has the words of life. The healing of the deaf/mute was not just a show for people to watch but an opportunity for this one person to communicate-to be understood and to understand.

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