“And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue.” (excerpt from Mark 7:24-37 ESV)
This past Sunday, we looked at Mark 7:24-37 where Jesus heals two Gentile (non-Jewish people). Last week, Jesus left having argued with the pharisees (the religious leaders of the time) about what made a man defiled. These leaders were adding on additional rules to the Jewish people who were already considered God’s chosen people to make doubly sure that they were a clean people. In this season of a pandemic, I’m sure our governmental leaders would applaud them for being so cautious! However, the goal wasn’t to be doubly sure you were clean, but to have a relationship with a living God who brought them out of slavery and into a promise land.
From that conversation, Jesus leaves to go see Gentiles!! These were defiled people. These were not chosen people. These were people who were not blessed by God. Jesus leaves the comfort of his own people to reach out to all people and families of the world. Unfortunately, what Jesus was probably hoping for (some R&R), turned into work as his famed proceeded him even to these Gentile cities.
Mark only gives us details of two healings Jesus performs while he is in the region. He grants the wish of a mother of a sick child and he heals a person who is both mute and deaf. What’s really interesting is that Mark takes time to explain, in detail, to us how he converses with the gentile folks. You might think an all-powerful God would speak the same to each person, use the same actions. But Jesus puts a personal touch on both of these healings, speaking to the mother as a mother (the mother to Israel) and he speaks in sign language to the one who is mute and deaf.
Jesus doesn’t treat us all the same. We don’t come to a God who is impersonal and waves his hand to grant us our greatest desires. He refuses to be seen as a slot machine or a vending machine where you put in money (or in a spiritual manner, prayers and petitions) and out comes miracles! No Jesus greets these two as individuals and he does so with us as well. He will speak to us in ways that we will be able to understand him. He will speak to us personally because he knows our lives and cares for us that deeply! He speaks to us because he wants to communicate to us that he loves us and desire the best for us.
We don’t serve a God who is far off but one who sees us, speaks to us in ways we can understand, heals us and ultimately, he goes to the cross, to die on our behalf to save us from death itself. We have a good who went to great lengths to save us. When we approach him, we do so with the knowledge that he knows our name, the hairs on our heads and the number of our days. Blessed be the one who loves us so!
Parkland Community Church:
We Exist to Develop People Who Love Jesus and Serve Others.