Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, that is, And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
Jesus never allowed outside influences to divert his main activity and agenda. He had a plan. He had a purpose. And humbly he followed his Father’s plan and purpose all the way to the cross, and then back again to the Father. That’s the big picture. But this passage from Mark 7 (one of the chapters in our reading plan today) gives us a picture of Jesus' attention to the intricate details of this plan and purpose. Did you notice?
The crowd brought Jesus “a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment”. They begged Jesus to heal him. Then they stood there, probably waiting for Jesus’ powerful, amazing, and game-changing response. But instead of wowing them, Jesus took the man aside, away from the crowd, and healed him privately.
To be sure we ought to be constantly mindful of the communal aspects of Scripture and the gospel. Especially as western Christians we have a tendency to overlook this important aspect of God’s purpose and plan. But let’s not swing the pendulum too far. God and his good news are still deeply personal and private. And, of course, Jesus knew this.
When Jesus brought the man aside he certainly had in mind his timing for making his kingdom agenda and identity public. But he also made a point to graciously and personally connect with this single individual.
Sunday's Sermon: Genealogy (Matthew 1:1-17)
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