Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 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. And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” Mark 7:31-37
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
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;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes. Isaiah 35:5-7 ESV
There was a man named Muharrem who lived in Turkey and was hearing impaired. He couldn’t talk with people by listening and making words with his mouth, but instead he used his hands to talk with sign language, and was able to understand others by looking at them if they used sign language. Muharrem couldn’t communicate very well with people who didn’t know sign language, because they couldn’t talk to him in a way he understood and they couldn’t understand what he wanted to say to them. But one day many people in his neighborhood had a surprise for him. They all learned some sign language, and when he went out with his sister, people talked with him in his own language. A man on the street wished him a good morning. The clerk at the bakery told him that there were hot bagels available. A man at the market offered him an apple. A woman on the street apologized for bumping into him. A taxi driver welcomed him into the taxi. Muharrem was no longer isolated from his neighbors, and it made him very happy.
Jesus returned to the Decapolis, where he had earlier healed a man who was oppressed by many demons, and had sent the demons into a herd of pigs. The people there had been very frightened and had begged Jesus to leave, but Jesus had sent the man he had healed home to his family and friends. Now when Jesus came back to the Decapolis, the people welcomed him. They brought a man to him who couldn’t hear or speak, and they believed that Jesus could help this man. Jesus touched the man’s ears and his tongue and said, “Be opened,” and right away the man was able to hear and to talk. He became able to communicate with his family and friends and the people in his community. Everyone was amazed and said that Jesus had done everything well!
We are all isolated from God and cut off from each other because of sin. We aren’t able to reach God or to hear what he has to tell us, and so often the things we say to other people or the things they say to us hurt us because of selfishness or hatefulness or just misunderstanding. But Jesus came to break down the barriers of sin. He died on the cross to open the way back to our Heavenly Father, and he sends us his Holy Spirit to help us to hear and understand God’s word to us. He gives us love to help us understand and care about other people and to speak in ways that are helpful and not hurtful. Jesus has done all things well for us and for the whole world!
Dear Jesus, thank you for breaking down the barriers of sin in our lives. Amen.