Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mark 7:31-37 Jesus heals in Decapolis

31 Again, departing from the region of Tyre and Sidon, He came through the midst of the region of Decapolis to the Sea of Galilee. 32 Then they brought to Him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech, and they begged Him to put His hand on him. 33 And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers in his ears, and He spat and touched his tongue. 34 Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly. 36 Then He commanded them that they should tell no one; but the more He commanded them, the more widely they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”

From the Phoenician cities of Tyre and Sidon Jesus now moves into another Gentile region, Decapolis, into the very heart of it. It was from this region that early on multitudes came to follow Jesus. And it was in this region as well that Jesus after healing the demon possessed man who lived amongst the tombs in the region of Gadara; went and told it everywhere in the region of Decapolis what Jesus had done for him. Decapolis was after all a region comprising of at least ten major cities, (of Greek polis city states), Gadara being one of them. Located mostly on the eastern side of the Jordan River it circumvented about ¼ of the southeastern section of the Sea of Galilee running as far north as Damascus of Syria and south to modern day Ammon in Jordan. Its union was that it was the hub for originally Greek than Roman culture, thought and political life in what was otherwise Semitic lands. In other words in Jesus’ time this was the epicenter of Roman culture in occupied Israel. If Jesus had a “Jewish only” agenda His visiting this region which was thoroughly Greco-Roman in thought and culture would have quickly quelled that. But as we will see Jesus didn’t preach Moses and the Law but the Kingdom of Heaven which encompasses every tongue, tribe and nation which exercises in faith in God exclusively through Him. So it will be that while Jesus is in the region of Decapolis near the Sea of Galilee that they will bring to Him a man “…who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech, and they begged Him to put His hand on him.” Vs. 32
Jesus’ response is not to heal the man in the presence of them all. Rather He takes the man aside. Away from the multitude; than Jesus puts His fingers in the man’s ears and spat and touched the man’s tongue. Then Jesus looked up to heaven, and sighing He says to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” Vs. 34 Now with Jesus words immediately the man’s tongue was loosed from its impediment and his hearing was restored and the man spoke plainly (vs. 35). I’m not sure why Jesus touched both the man’s ears and tongue before He spoke since it was His Word which made the man well. It may have been He did so because that is what they requested; that Jesus lay His hands on the man to heal him. And really it doesn’t matter. Jesus healed by both personal touch and by personal Word sometimes combing the two, sometimes not. Now with the man’s healing Jesus plainly commands them that they should tell no one. Yet the more He commanded them, the more widely they proclaimed it (vs. 36). Now at certain times Jesus did not want His miraculous works revealed. At least not until He had fulfilled His purposes with His death on the cross than resurrection. In three instances this occurs: the first being after Jesus gave His Sermon on the Mount and a leper came to Him requesting to be healed, (Matt. 8:1-4) which Jesus graciously did but after doing so He commands him to tell no one, but rather go and “…show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Mark 1:44 Thus Jesus wanted him to be His living witness of the Power of God through Jesus Christ to transform lives, not to the crowds, but to the priests, who should have known and believed, but in reality did not. Yet that man went out and proclaimed it freely and so Jesus could no longer go into the town openly but instead He had to stay in the country and people came to Him from every quarter (Mark 1:45). The next instance is when Jesus raises a little girl from the dead. Yet Jesus keeps the astonished parents who were eye witnesses to it from telling others (Mark 5:21-43). Finally we have the instance here which the people who brought Jesus the man when they saw how He healed him the Scripture says: And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.” Vs. 37
Jesus truly opens the ears of the deaf and loosens the tongues of the mute. Both then and now of men and women everywhere of every culture and background who hear His voice through His Word. As He draws people to Himself, speaking to our hearts and souls and minds, saying:
"Look to Me, and be saved,
All you ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other." Isaiah 45:22

Than Jesus looses our tongues so that we might confess Him as Lord and declare His righteousness and sing God's praises, and His alone. Since He "...Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 1 Peter 2:24-25

What are you looking too? Is it Jesus Christ, God's only Son, crucified for your sins remission and raised from the dead for your justification before God the Father when you believe in Him and confess Him as Lord (Rom. 10:9-10). Or are you looking to yourself, trusting your own righteousness to make you approved before God the Father? Yes, God loves those who follow righteousness (Prov. 15:9) but He cannot bear the self righteousness who trust in themselves rather than God (Prov. 16:5; Luke 18:9-14). For in God's sight there is none who are righteous, no not one (Rom. 3:10). If there were then there would have been no need for Jesus Christ to have to suffer and die in our place so that God might save us by His crucifixion for our sins (Gal. 2:21). As the prophet Isaiah says in foretelling of the Lord Jesus Christ's crucifixion:
 "But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5

Our peace with God comes at a cost and that cost can only be paid by Christ. Read the Bible and look into God's commandments, than examine your own heart and life, and see that you are like all others, sinful. Maybe not to the same degree as others, nonetheless we are all guilty of sin before God as the Scriptures says "all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God." Rom. 3:23
Who then is going to pay the debt? We can't, since God has shut all of humanity under sin making self redemption impossible. Nonetheless God did not leave us without hope, rather so that He might have mercy on all who believe, He gave us His Son so that whoever looks to Him crucified and raised from the dead He might not only remit our sins, Jesus Christ having paid the penalty for them on the cross, He might also transform our person here and now by Christ's Power through His Spirit dwelling within us making us fit for and apart of the Kingdom of heaven here and now. Eternal life is not something you get when you die, it's something God gives you and places in you by His Spirit dwelling within you here and now, the moment you believe (Eph. 1:13-14). "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16
Do you have eternal life? Are you sure you know that you are ready to stand before God the Father when you die? Will Jesus Christ be your Righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21) and Advocate (1 John 2:1) on that day, or will you stand alone clothed only in you're sins and transgressions?
If you're not sure, make sure, right now ask the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart. If you believe, invite Him in and tell Him you trust Him and only Him by His death on the cross for your sins remission for you want to repent of your sins. And His Spirit, the Holy Spirit will help you do so. For no one can cleanse themselves from their sins and change their inner person, which is corrupted by sin, only Christ can, and this He does by His shed blood, for "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." Heb. 9:22 Then by His Spirit dwelling within us He changes us to more and more to reflect His likeness through the fruits of the Spirit, which are: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Gal. 5:22-23 Whether God's or mans. "For if anyone is in Christ they are a new creation, old things have passed away, behold all things have become new." 2 Cor. 5:17

Scripture Quotations
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

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