There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged him to place his hand on the man. 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. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means, “Be opened!” ). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly. Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
Dean Honnette, Senior Pastor
Hope Center Covenant Church (Pleasant Hill)
Probably almost everyone who reads this devotional can physically hear and speak. So we might conclude that we don’t need the healing power Jesus used to help the man in today’s text. But I suggest that most of us may periodically have either a hearing or speech problem, or maybe both.
When my kids were younger they would sometimes say, “Dad, you’re not hearing me.” Well, my eardrums were working just fine and their words were registering in my brain, but I was not listening to the heart of what they were saying. My preconceived ideas and/or my need to be in control were muting the heart of their message. It usually took Jesus’ loving touch to open my “ears.” Perhaps today we need Jesus to touch our ears so we can hear the heart of those around us.
Most of us also have hard times when we knew the words we needed to speak, but we just couldn’t loosen our tongue. Those words may have been something like: “I’m sorry,” or “I was wrong,” or simply words of encouragement to someone in need of them. Often it’s only Jesus’ healing and loving command “be opened” that loosens our pride-stuck tongue.
Jesus, You truly do “everything well.” Help us to hear those to whom we have previously been deaf and loosen our tongues to freely speak words of grace. In Your Name, amen.