Mark 7:31-37 – Jesus Heals a Deaf Man

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Mark 7:31

  1. Decapolis means “the ten cities” and was an area in modern-day Jordan where ten cities had joined together in a confederation.
  2. The last time Jesus was here, he drove the Legion out of a man who was badly possessed and who was then asked to tell about Jesus in Decapolis (Mark 5:1-20).

Mark 7:32

  1. Jesus often healed the sick by laying his hands on them (Mark 6:5).
    1. People knew that Jesus used to heal the sick in this way (Mark 7:32).
    1. Jesus urges his disciples to heal the sick by laying hands on them (Mark 16:18).
    1. Jesus’ disciples healed the sick by laying hands on them (Acts 28:8).
    1. Jesus blessed people by laying his hands on them (Mark 10:16).
    1. The power of the Holy Spirit is communicated through the laying on of hands (Acts 8:17-19, 9:17, 19:6).
  2. But even though Jesus often healed the sick in this way, there is no magical automaticity through the laying on of hands. The most important ingredient in someone being healed is that the person actually believes that Jesus can heal and demonstrates this by acting in accordance with their faith.

Mark 7:33

  1. It was not uncommon for some kind of “act of faith” to precede the miracles Jesus performed:
    1. Jesus calls the lame man to stand up (Mark 2:11).
    1. Jesus invites the man with a withered hand to stretch it out (Mark 3:5).
    1. When the woman with hemophilia touches Jesus, believing that she can be healed, she is healed (Mark 5:28-29).
    1. Earlier in this chapter, when the woman does not leave Jesus despite a seemingly dismissive response, Jesus heals her daughter (Mark 7:24-30).
    1. Jesus asks two blind men, “Do you think I can do this?” They answered, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes and said, “As you believe, so shall it be done to you.” And their eyes were opened. “(Matthew 9:28-30).
  2. But in this case, the man can neither speak nor hear, so Jesus cannot ask the man questions, but must use other means to make the man believe in Jesus’ power.
    1. Even though the man was deaf and dumb, he could see, so Jesus performs symbolic acts to make the man understand what is going on and to challenge the man to believe in Jesus’ power to heal.
      1. Jesus touches the man in the places where he is sick and then looks up at the sky, which symbolised God, to make him understand what Jesus is about to do.
      1. Jesus says “Effata!” so that the deaf man can read Jesus’ lips and thus be further helped to understand what is going on and make him believe in Jesus’ power to heal.

Mark 7:36

  1. Jesus did not want to be known as the Messiah as long as the general image of the Messiah held by the people prevailed. The Jewish people longed for a Messiah who would be a new David, a new warrior king who would drive out the Romans and re-establish Israel as a strong nation.
    1. The first time Jesus came to earth, he came as the suffering servant, offering peace and reconciliation to all peoples (Acts 10:34-36).
    1. At Jesus’ return, he will take his rightful place as king and destroy all his enemies (Rev 19:11-16).
  2. The people were happy about what Jesus had done, but they didn’t want to obey him. If you want Jesus as your Lord, you need to both praise him and obey him, not just one or the other.

Mark 7:37

  1. After God created the earth, he looked at his work and considered it “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
    1. Unfortunately, the Fall destroyed God’s good creation and sin and sickness became a reality in human existence.
    1. When Jesus goes around healing the sick and casting out demons, he restores the good creation and so Mark can write, alluding to the creation story, that “all he has done is good.”
    1. Paul writes: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
  2. Mark is probably also connecting to what Isaiah prophesied 700 years earlier (Isaiah 35:3-6).
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