Lenten Devotion

March 15, 2023

All Day

Mark 7:31-37

31 Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. 32 There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him.33 After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34 He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). 35 At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.36 Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. 37 People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”


The man cannot hear the speech of those around him and he cannot be verbally understood. He is isolated. Contemporary Jewish culture would have attributed his affliction to either his sinful nature or to the sinful nature of his ancestors. In the brief mention of his friends, no lengthy instructions are given to Jesus. Rather, they beg Jesus to lay his hand on their friend. Similar to the healing of the paralytic in Luke 5:17-26, they simply bring their friend before Jesus, and that is entirely sufficient.

Notice how Jesus separates himself and the deaf man from the crowd in verse 33. In verse 36 he instructs the friends to not spread the word of this healing. There are several other passages where Jesus instructs other recipients of his healing to do the same (see Matthew 12:15-16, for instance). Historical accounts of Jesus do not refute his miracles; instead, they are vaguely categorised as black magic[1]. In any case, the healing the man receives is profound and complete; not only can he hear and speak, but he actually speaks plainly, as if never afflicted.

On a personal note, I find this passage terrifying. I am the deaf man whose language is babble, I am the one in dire need of hearing God's voice, and yet, without God himself, there is no hope. In other words, to me it is a stark reminder of how vulnerable and lost we are without Jesus' healing power. It is also an encouragement for intercessory prayer. You do not need to repeatedly list the person's afflictions and you do not need to tell God how to heal them. Standing before God and asking him for healing is sufficient. The rest is trust.

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, please give me the courage to bring before you whomsoever I will.  In your name, Amen.

[1] See e.g. A Doubter's Guide to Jesus: An Introduction to the Man from Nazareth for Believers and Skeptics, by John Dickson.

More Events

March 21, 2023 All Day
Lenten Devotion
March 22, 2023 All Day
Lenten Devotion
March 23, 2023 All Day
Lenten Devotion