MUSINGS – October 20, 2018


Mark 7:31-37
Jesus then left the neighborhood of Tyre. He went through Sidon and the territory of the Ten Cities to the Sea of Galilee. Some people brought to him a man who was deaf and who also had a speech defect. They begged Jesus to lay his hand on him. Jesus took him away from the crowd to be alone with him. He put his fingers into the man’s ears, and after spitting, he touched the man’s tongue. Then he looked up to heaven, sighed, and said to the man, “Ephphatha!” which means, “Be opened!” At once the man could hear and talk normally. Jesus ordered the people not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them, the more they spread the news. Jesus completely amazed the people. They said, “He has done everything well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute talk.”

This scripture is so concise that it is difficult to sermonize. I’m not alone in think this way about the text. Martin Luther had this to say about this section of scripture, Dearly Beloved: I hope you thoroughly understand this Gospel, for it is plain. However, as we have but one old story to preach, and since it is so precious and cannot be sufficiently considered, we will apply our text also to this old story, and briefly speak of faith and love. In the first place, we will look at the simple story of the text itself; then, if time permit, we will also speak a little of its spiritual meaning.

Having said that, Luther went on for an hour long sermon anyway. Hey, that’s what preachers are paid for, right? I have no long sermon to preach, just a quick thought. Many times in this gosple the author has pointed out that Jesus kept telling people not to tell about him. “Jesus ordered the people not to tell anyone.” And in every case the word went out fast and wide about this amazing teacher and healer.

We’re not good at keeping secrets Benjamin Franklin said, Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”

And Sarah Yager, writing in The Atlantic said, research shows an association between keeping an emotionally charged secret and ailments ranging from the common cold to chronic diseases [3]. Other evidence in favor of disclosure includes multiple studies showing that writing about a traumatic experience can boost the immune system [4], and the finding that teens who confide in a parent or close friend report fewer physical complaints and less delinquent behavior, loneliness, and depression than those who sit on their secrets [5].”

Perhaps the gosple spread so quickly because it was supposed to be a secret. With that in mind, I urge you to not tell anyone today that their burdens can be lifted by turning to Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Shhhh!

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All content (except quotations) © 2018 Thomas E. Williams

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