Early in our marriage, Carla volunteered to babysit four-year-old Elizabeth, the only child of good friends, John and Jean. She was a beautiful and smart little girl with long brown hair. Her mom usually dressed her in colorful dresses with a matching hair bow. Her eyes were playful and bright. She was much like any other four-year-old, except for one small matter. Elizabeth was profoundly deaf.
Carla bought a sign-language book and learned quickly. Soon, Carla was telling Elizabeth this and that, all by waving her hands and making meaningful gestures... sign language. I didn’t learn quite so quickly. After a couple of years, I could say yes and no, hello and goodbye, and with great concentration I could sign, “You are a funny duck.” Later, after more practice, I also learned to say, “You are a funny chicken!” I was genuinely happy that I could make Elizabeth giggle.
In Mark’s seventh chapter, Jesus made a deaf and mute man giggle.
His friends brought him to Jesus and begged for a miracle. We need friends like that... and we should be friends like that!
Jesus took that man away from the watching crowd. Privately, Jesus seemed to speak in sign language. First, Jesus put “his fingers in the man’s ears” (Mark 7:33, CSB). I’m pretty sure that in sign language that means, “I’m goanna fix your hearing.”
Then Jesus spit on the ground and reached out and touched the man’s tongue (Mark 7:33). Now, I don’t know what that spitting meant, unless maybe, Jesus had just swallowed a gnat. I’ll have to look at Carla’s book. But when Jesus touched his tongue, I’m fairly certain that meant, “I’m goanna help you learn to talk.”
Next Jesus looked up to heaven. That’s easy to interpret. “God is up there, and He’s listening! Pal, you are about to see a heaven-sent miracle!”
Then Jesus commanded, “Be opened!” (Mark 7:34). “Immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was loosened, and he began to speak clearly” (Mark 7:35, CSB).
That’s the God we serve. He cares about messed up people! The deaf. The mute.
Can you imagine what happened when Jesus and the deaf-mute returned to the waiting crowd? They had stepped away, maybe around the corner where others couldn’t see. Now, Jesus and His new friend stepped back into view.
“They were extremely astonished and said ‘He has done everything well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak’ ” (Mark 7:37, CSB).
Miraculously, He’s made me a little less messed up. You?
Yes indeed! He has done everything well! Thank you, Lord!
South Georgia Baptist Church
Mike Martin, Pastor