The Book of Mark
THE HEALING OF THE DEAF AND DUMB MAN
Text: MARK 7:31-37
1. This story is only recorded by Mark.
2. Our Lord departed from the cities of Tyre and Sidon (7:31; cf. 7:24).
3. The coasts of Decapolis (“Ten Cities”) was also Gentile territory (cf. Mark 5:20), reminding us again that Jesus is “the Saviour of the world” (John 4:42).
4. Alexander the Great built most of these Ten Cities. Damascus was the largest of the ten. With the exception of Damascus (in Syria), the “Region of the Decapolis” was located in modern-day Jordan. One of them was located west of the Jordan River in modern day Israel.
5. We are not told the exact route taken by our Lord, but apparently it was a roundabout route. This may have been in order to spend more time privately teaching His disciples.
6. A man was brought to Jesus, and we are told he “was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech” (Mark 7:32).
7. The Scofield Bible says he was “deaf and dumb.” D. Edmond Hiebert says he was a “deaf stammerer” (The Gospel of Mark).
8. You may recall what Moses said to the LORD, when the LORD told him he would speak before Pharaoh. “And Moses said unto the LORD, O my LORD, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue” (Exodus 4:10).
9. “And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?” (Ex. 4:11).
10. The LORD told Moses to look to God, for it is God “who hath made man’s mouth.” It is the LORD who maketh the dumb or deaf, and the seeing or the blind.
11. Matthew Henry said the deaf and dumb man, “was tongue-tied, so that he was perfectly unfit for conversation, and deprived both of the pleasure and of the profit of it; he had not the satisfaction either of hearing other people talk, or of telling his own mind. Let us take occasion from hence to give thanks to God for preserving to us the sense of hearing, especially that we may be capable of hearing the word of God; and the faculty of speech, especially that we may be capable of speaking God’s praises; and let us look with compassion upon those that are deaf or dumb, and treat them with great tenderness. They that brought this poor man to Christ, besought him that he would put his hand upon him, as the prophets did upon those whom they blessed in the name of the Lord. It is not said, They besought him to cure him, but to put his hand upon him, to take cognizance of his case, and put forth his power to do to him as he pleased.”
12. More than likely, the man suffered from a bad speech impediment. He lost his ability to speak clearly because of his deafness, not because he had been born a deaf-mute.
I. JESUS TOOK HIM ASIDE & HEALED HIM IN AN UNUSUAL WAY
1. The man’s friends asked our Lord to “put his hand upon him” (7:32b). They apparently knew that our Lord commonly used this method when healing the sick.
2. Our Lord took the man aside in order to heal him privately (7:33). Our Lord was trying to avoid publicity (cf. 7:24).
3. It seems that our Lord used sign language to communicate with the man (7:33b).
4. By spitting and touching the man’s tongue, our Lord was trying to let the man know that our Lord was at work healing his disability.
5. By “looking up to heaven,” our Lord was telling the deaf man that His power to heal came from God (7:34).
6. Sighing (7:34) reveals our Lord’s great sympathy for those suffering from sickness and infirmity.
7. One preacher said, “It indicates the strong emotion of Jesus as he wages war against the power of Satan” (CEB Cranfield, cited by Hiebert).
8. Donald Grey Barnhouse said, “This sigh encompassed His love for the whole human race, a race that does not hear His call.”
9. Hebrews 4:15 says Jesus is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” “Infirmities” refers to sickness and death. This deaf and dumb man represents the whole human race – deaf and dumb to the Word of God, deaf and dumb to the Spirit of God, deaf and dumb to the call of God, and deaf and dumb to the judgment of God.
10. There is a statement Jesus made many times: “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear” (Mark 7:16).
11. To each one of the seven churches in Revelation 2 & 3, our Lord said, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
12. Jesus looked up to heaven and sighed (7:34). We think of how Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus (John 11:35).
13. In our zeal to defend the great doctrine of the deity of Christ, let us not forget the humanity of Christ. Jesus groaned and sighed and wept.
14. Jesus said to him, “Ephphatha, that is, Be opened” (Mark 7:34). Ephphatha is an Aramaic word.
15. “And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain” (7:35).
16. Before this miracle he was a stammerer. But now “he spake plain” (7:35).
II. OUR LORD CHARGED THEM TO TELL NO MAN (7:36)
1. I heard a preacher say, “Jesus charged them that they should tell no man: but they went out and told everyone. He told us to tell everyone, but we go out and tell no one!” (Cf. 1:44, 45).
2. He had a point. But why did our Lord give this order to the deaf and dumb man, and those who witnessed the miracle?
3. Apparently our Lord did not want this miracle publicized at the time (cf. 5:43). Matthew Henry said, “it was his humility, that he charged them they should tell no man.”
4. Some think our Lord was protecting the man from the big crowds of people who would be swarming him with questions about his healing.
5. Furthermore, the time was not right for our Lord to be crucified. Our Lord had a schedule that no one (not even His disciples) could understand. Perhaps if the multitudes learned about some of these great miracles, the Pharisees would try and kill our Lord right away (cf. Luke 4:28-30; John 8:59).
6. One thing is certain: The Bible says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8, 9; cf. Mark 5:19, 20).
7. Just as our Lord healed people differently –sometimes from a great distance (7:29) and sometimes up close (7:33), He often gave different instructions to different people on different occasions.
III. JESUS DOETH ALL THINGS WELL (7:37).
1. If you are saved, you can say, “He hath done all things well.”
2. One strong evidence of our Lord’s deity is the fact that “He hath done all things well.” “No matter how carefully we study His deeds, we can find no flaw in any of them—no deficiency, nothing He should have done differently, or left undone...He was always master of every situation. Peter said that He just ‘went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him’ (Acts 10:38)” (Henry Morris).
3. Unsaved friend, if you will come to Jesus tonight, you will find that He doeth all things well. He can save you from your sins, and save you from the penalty of sin, which is eternity in hell.
4. Our Lord can turn your life around, and give you eternal life because He doeth all things well.
It was a blind lady who wrote these beautiful words:
All the way my Savior leads me;