There is one peculiar circumstance [in Mark 7:31-37] which deserves to be particularly noticed, namely, how in the very act of healing the man our Lord sighed.
If we may ask it with reverence, “Why was this?” Why did Christ sigh, seeing that at that very moment he was about to give him relief, and make him capable of enjoyments from which he had before been unable to do?
No doubt it was partly a feeling of compassion for the sufferings of men which caused our Lord to sigh, when he beheld his piteous condition.
Christ took him aside from the multitude, Mark 7:33. Ordinarily, he wrought his miracles publicly before all the people, to show that they would bear the strictest scrutiny and inspection; but this he did privately, to show that he did not seek his own glory, and to teach us to avoid every thing that savours of ostentation. Let us learn of Christ to be humble, and to do good where no eye sees, but his that is all eye.
He used more significant actions, in the doing of this cure, than usual. (1.) He put his fingers into his ears, as if he would syringe them, and fetch out that which stopped them up. (2.) He spit upon his own finger, and then touched his tongue, as if he would moisten his mouth, and so loosen that with which his tongue was tied; these were no causes that could in the least contribute to his cure, but only signs of the exerting of that power which Christ had in himself to cure him, for the encouraging of his faith, and theirs that brought him. The application was all from himself, it was his own fingers that he put into his ears, and his own spittle that he put upon his tongue; for he alone heals.
Jesus said, Ephphatha; that is, Be opened. Christ speaks as one having authority, and power went along with the word. Be opened, served both parts of the cure; “Let the ears be opened, let the lips be opened, let him hear and speak freely, and let the restraint be taken off;” and the effect was answerable (Mark 7:35);
Straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and all was well: and happy he who, as soon as he had his hearing and speech, had the blessed Jesus so near him to converse with.
It was to this man, he sighed, not because he was reluctant to do him this kindness, but because of the many temptations which he would be exposed to, and the sins he would be in danger of, the tongue-sins, after the restoring of his speech to him, which before he was free from.
Jesus looked up to heaven, to give his Father the praise of what he did; for he sought his praise, and did his will, and, as Mediator, acted in dependence on him, and with an eye to him. Thus he signified that it was by a divine power, a power her had as the Lord from heaven, and brought with him thence, that he did this; for the hearing ear and the seeing eye the Lord has made, and can remake even both of them. He also hereby directed his patient who could see, though he could not hear, to look up to heaven for relief.
We continue on this season of Covid-19......Sigh! May I encourage you to look up, be encouraged, and keep you eyes on Jesus?
The great command of the gospel, and grace of Christ to poor sinners, is Ephphatha-Be opened. Grotius applies it thus, that the internal impediments of the mind are removed by the Spirit of Christ, as those bodily impediments were by the word of his power. He opens the heart, as he did Lydia’s, and thereby opens the ear to receive the word of God, and opens the mouth in prayer and praises.
Grace and Peace,
David Mahfouz, D. Min.