Sermon Notes for 12thSunday after Trinity Title, 8 September 2019 Anno Domini
(by AOC Lay Reader Ryan Underwood)
The Deaf Man Tells No Tales.
Text: Mark 7: 31.
My Dear Brethren in Christ, in today’s Gospel Lesson we learn of the great mercy which Our Lord has for spiritually deaf and mute sinners, the hope which he sets out for them, and how He wills that His saving health bemade known among all nations.
JESUS, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis.
Why was Our Lord in Tyre and Sidon? In the preceding verses, we read that Our Lord condemned the Pharisees for laying aside the Commandmentof God, and insteadteaching for doctrine the commandments of sinful men, thereby, “making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered.”1 The Jews’ hearts were hardened by their man-made and sinful doctrines,so that they could no longer hear nor speak the Word of God as they ought; they were spiritually deaf and mute. Our Lord saw this apostasy,and determined to
bring His Word to those in the heathen lands of Tyre, Sidon, and Decapolis who hitherto heard it not. We Americans have committed the same sin as these Pharisees by rejecting God’s Word for the sinful traditions of men,and can expect the same punishment from Almighty God, namely a famine of His Word whereby we are made deaf and mute to the eternal Truth upon which America was founded.
And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; andthey beseech him to put his hand upon him.
We can all identify with this deaf and mute man, for we are all by nature dead in our trespasses and sins, unable to hear or speak God’s Word as we ought.
The men of Decapolis had apparently heard of the mercy and power of Jesus Christ. In faith and love, they thereforewent to Jesus in the hope that He would heal their disabled countryman.
Consider the sinful multitudes in modern America who suffer from spiritual deafness and blindness, men who have never read the Bible or been in a Bible-believing church. Do we bring them to Christ and beseech Him to heal them of their sins? Do we pray for the conversion of our sinful countrymen? How often does our charity pale in comparison to these men of Decapolis! For Our Lord was in their town but one day, and they were moved by the Holy Ghost to bring this poor man to Him for healing, but we claim to have Our Lord in our Churches, our cities, and our hearts daily, and yet so far are we from bringing the lost to Christ that we often only scoff at sinners likethe self-righteous Pharisee scoffed at the publican. Truly both we and the phariseesare mute concerning God’s Word and His salvific properties.
And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit,and touched his tongue; And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him,
Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.
This text reminds us that most often when Our Lord performs miracles, He does not do so in a showy fashion, like the modern TV evangelists who get millions of dollars in royalties for performing ‘spirit healings’ on national television. Rather, the free operation of God’s healing Word most often takes place quietly and discreetly in the hearts of sinful men.
The outward signs by which he heals this man are most interesting. In modern times, some people might accuse Jesus of causing a health hazard! Why do you think Our Lord did it in this way? One reason might be to show us that the power of healing comes from Himself rather than any specific ritual, so that while He may heal by the ordinary means of laying on of hands, He may also heal in any other way He pleases, for He is God.
It should further be remarked that Our Lord looked up to Heaven and sighed before he healed the dumb man. Why is this? Remember, “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”2 Death and all other ailments are ultimately the product of human sin, and it is only by the mercy of Him who sits between the Cherubim, even the suffering of the spotless Lamb, that death can be overcome.
Here is a man who no earthly medicine could heal, but when Our Lord speaks the Word, “Be Opened”, it comes to pass! Even the most miserable of creatures can be healed by God’s Word! If this be true of physical ailments, how much more so of the spirituallydeathand dumb, for truly He does open our lips, that our mouths may show forth His praise!3
And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it; And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear,and the dumb speak.
As fallen menwe are all deaf to God’s Word and mute to His praise by reason of our sin,so that by ourselves we are as helpless as this sinful dumb wretch of Decapolis. However, when Christ comes to your heart, then your ears are unclogged and your mouth is opened! Just as Christ healed this poor man of his physical maladies, so too can He heal you of your spiritual deadness caused by sin and death. By this divine restoration to spiritual Health, we are given to Hear and speak His Word with the purpose of living solely for His Glory in the promulgation of His Word to all lands in fulfillment of His commandment, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost!”4 Here is our hope and our duty! Never forsake it, Christian people! Indeed, for would any man who was once deaf and mute, but who has since been healed, ever willingly go back to such a state of disease? How much more should we refrain our ears and our lips that they may neither hear nor speak any guile which would lead us back to the spiritual deafness and mutability of our souls?
Let us pray that our mouths and ears may be always occupied with the good things of God, that the treasures of our hearts may be filled with His grace, that we may show forthHispraise not only with our lips,but in our lives by giving up ourselves to His service in obedience to His to Hiscommandments, “For ye are bought (and healed) with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”5
In Jesus’ Name.