September 8, 2019

September 9, 2019


Jesus Heals A Deaf- Mute + Mark 7:31-37

The soldiers lead Jesus away into the palace, that is, the governor’s headquarters, and they called together the whole battalion, roughly five hundred soldiers. They clothed Jesus in a purple robe, and twisting together a crown of thorns together, they put it on His head. They began to salute Him, crying out, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they were striking His head with a reed and they spit on Him and knelt down in front of Him, worshipping Him. They mocked him, and they stripped Him of the purple robe and put His own clothes on Him. And they led Him out of the city to crucify Him. And when He died and gave up His spirit, Jesus said, “It is finished.”

Jesus, the Son of God, humbled Himself unto death on the cross for those whom He loved. Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords, was mocked and beaten and spit upon, by those whom He loved. Those, for whom Jesus came down from heaven, hated Him and wanted nothing to do with Him. Those whom Jesus called friend and brother, despised and disowned Him. They rejected Him. They put Him to death. They were enemies of God. They celebrated the innocent, bitter suffering and death of Jesus. They failed to receive the holy precious blood of Jesus. They didn’t care about the sin, death and the power of the devil which had overtaken them. 

We see those enemies of God when we look at ourselves in the mirror. Like them, we do not place all fear, love and trust in God above all things. We do not fear God’s judgment and condemnation, even though He tells us to watch and pray. We do not fear hell, even though He promises to come to judge the quick and the dead. We don’t really believe God will punish us. We do not repent and turn away from evil. We are just like those in Jerusalem on Good Friday, who cry out, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” 

We do not use our mouths to speak the name of Jesus among us. We do not speak the words, “Our Father who art in heaven”, calling upon God’s name in prayer. We do not gather for worship and make the sign of the cross when we speak the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. We do not give thanks to God with our lips for what He has done, is doing now and will do for us forever. We do not sing His praises, with our voices in the liturgy and hymns, giving God alone all thanks, praise, service and obedience, even though this is our duty. We don’t teach our children how to pray. We don’t worship together as a family. Our mouths are silent.  

We do not use our ears to hear the Word of God being preached and taught. We do not listen intently to the words that the Holy Ghost speaks to us, that we would be called by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that we would be enlightened with His Sacramental gifts, that we would be sanctified, be holy and kept in the one true faith. We do not hold the Word of God sacred, gladly hearing it and learning it. We don’t read the Word of God. We don’t learn the Word of God, putting it to memory. We don’t even inwardly digest the Word of God, that we would have a clean heart and a right spirit within us. We don’t really want to be near God, in His presence, even though that is what God wants for us, even though God never leaves us or forgets about us. It’s no wonder that so few of us are regularly in church. Our ears are deaf.

We do not confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and we do not believe in our heart that God raised His Son Jesus from the dead, and sadly, we will not be saved. With the heart we believe that Jesus Christ is the once and for all perfect sacrifice, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, and because of Him we are made right with God. This is the gift of God to us sinners. For God the Father so loved the world, that He gave His only Son unto death on the cross, that whoever believes in HIm would not perish but have everlasting life. And this is what we confess with our mouths, because we have been saved. The Holy Scriptures says, God has spoken, “Everyone who believes in Jesus will not be put to shame. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” This is the confidence that we have through Christ Jesus our Lord. We are not sufficient in ourselves, for we have all sinned and fall short of God’s glory. We are deaf and we cannot speak. But our sufficiency is from Jesus, who purchased and won us from sin, death and hell. That is why He said, “It is finished”. Because of Jesus, we do not fear death and condemnation. By Him we are healed. By Him we are forgiven. By Him we hear and speak, because we have been saved.   

We hear this truth with the man who was brought to Jesus who was deaf and could not speak, they begged Jesus to lay His hand on him. And taking him aside from the crowd privately, Jesus put His fingers into the man’s ears, and after spitting touched the man’s tongue. And looking up to heaven, Jesus sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.

This is how it is to be with us. We bring our neighbors to Jesus to be healed – friends, enemies, and family alike. We want Jesus to say, “It is finished”. We want Jesus to say, “Be opened”. We want all people to have their ears opened to hear the Word of God spoken and taught in all of its truth and purity. We baptize all nations in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, teaching them to obey everything Jesus has commanded, knowing that God is with us now and forever. In Holy Baptism, God spits upon us. He puts Himself on us and over us and in us. Jesus washes us clean. In Holy Baptism, we are joined to the death and resurrection of Jesus. We are joined to the suffering and shame that Jesus endured. With our mouths we taste the goodness and mercy of God for us sinners. Jesus opens our mouths to clearly proclaim our Lord’s death until He comes again. This is what we taste with our open mouths when we come to eat the body of Jesus given on the cross and drink the blood of Jesus which poured forth from His wounds. By these wounds we are healed. This is what we want for ourselves. This is what we want for our neighbor. This is what we want for all people, because this is what God wants for us. 

He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak. Jesus charged them to tell no one, but the more He charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. Jesus has done all things well. This is why we should have our babies baptized as quickly as possibly after they are born, they need what Jesus has done well. They need to have their ears and mouths opened by God. Even if the angels tell us not to, we should desire all people to believe and be baptized and be saved. We need to be zealous in our evangelism efforts. We should want our neighbors to hear about the good things Jesus has done for them and receive them – forgiveness, life and eternal salvation. We need to share the forgiveness of sins with our neighbors, that they would want to be part of God’s kingdom, members of the family of God, heirs of heaven. We should want all our neighbors to join us at the altar rail, participating with the angels and archangels and all the company of heaven and earth, giving all praise, honor and thanksgiving to God. And when they aren’t here, we should make contact with them, pray for them, and encourage them; that where God is, there would His people be. Amen.