We worship God most honestly when we know who He is. Jesus shows us just that, doesn’t He? In Jesus, God came near to men and women in the 1st century and He still comes near to us like that today.
Mark 7:32-35 shows us one of those times when Jesus came very near to one man:
“And they brought to Him (Jesus) one who was deaf and spoke with difficulty, and the entreated Him to lay His hand upon him. And He took him aside from the multitude by himself, and put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting, He touched his tongue with the saliva; and looking up to heaven with a deep sigh, He said to him, ‘Ephphatha!’ that is, ‘Be opened!’ And his ears were opened and the impediment of his tongue was removed, and he began speaking plainly.”
We see a man who is stuck on a very difficult situation; he can’t hear. And because he cannot hear, he also cannot speak very well. Today, I would be frustrated to live that way, but I could still function very well. In the 1st century information was given by word of mouth; not much was written down. No sticky notes on the fridge, no planners, no laptops, no written anything. So, if you couldn’t hear, and no one was writing it down for you … you were really stuck.
Notice with me that when this man was stuck Jesus was sensitive.
He doesn’t take the advice of the crowd and just lay a hand on the man. Maybe Jesus did that sometimes. Maybe He just passed through a crowd and grazed their heads with his palm. I doubt it. The stories we read are of how Jesus personally interacted with each broken person.
Jesus took the man aside — one-on-one and face-to-face — to explain what was going to happen next. He’s telling the man through sign language “yours ears are the problem and I’m going to fix that. Your mouth is a problem so I’ll make your tongue work like mine does.”
He prayed to His Father.
And what comes next is the most sensitive of all: Jesus sighed deeply. One translation says He “groaned mightily”. Jesus had a guttural, visceral response to how this man is stuck; how all of mankind is stuck in sin. Jesus knew that this was not how life was meant to be lived. We were not meant to live stuck like this. So He groaned.
And He commanded – “Be Opened!”
And the man was unstuck.
My ears and my mouth both work just fine. But I can really be stuck sometimes too. I can be spiritually stuck in a place where I don’t hear the truth. When I don’t hear it I don’t speak very well either.
Have you ever been stuck like that?
- Bitterness can really get us stuck in a cycle of blame.
- Anger can really get us stuck being self-righteous.
- Fear can freeze us to one spot so we can’t move, no matter how much we want to.
- Sin, in all of its forms makes us unable to hear Jesus speaking in our lives.
But when we are stuck, Jesus is sensitive
He will take us away from the crowd. Don’t be surprised if you feel lonely as you pursue a deeper relationship with Jesus. Feeling lonely draws us into solitary times and quiet places away from our crowded lives where Jesus can speak one-on-one and face-to-face to us.
He will touch us and show us where we are stuck. Sometimes self-discovery can be overwhelming. Choose to read God’s Word in small, meaningful pieces. Look at Mark 7:32-35 and ask God to weave that simple story into your life.
He will intercede to the Father. Remember Hebrews 7:25 says, Jesus “always lives to make intercession” for us. Count on it!
He will command what’s stuck to be opened. I wish I could promise that this will happen in an instant like it did with this deaf man. I cannot. But I can truly say that as you pursue Jesus and your relationship grows those things that were sticking points will loosen up. And one day you will find yourself fully free.
If you are stuck will you trust Him to do that for you today?
If someone you love is stuck will you trust Jesus to sensitively enter their life rather than trying to unstick them yourself?
Thank you for coming near to us through Your Son. Your sensitivity is amazing. Your grace is overwhelming. Your touch is transforming.
For all the things of earth that have us stuck in wrong living, make us aware of Your words of truth that can set us free.