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Mark 7:31-37


Intro: The passage opens with Jesus leaving the Gentile cities of Tyre and Sidon headed back to Galilee. But, Jesus and His men do not go straight back to Jewish country. Verse 31 tells us that they went to “Decapolis”.

        If you look at where they were and where they were headed to, you would see that Jesus and His men took the long way around. In fact, going through Decapolis to get to Galilee is like going through Atlanta to get to Charlotte! Scholars tell us that a journey of this nature might have taken as long as eight months on foot.

        If this trip took that long, it would have represented about 20% of the Lord’s total earthly ministry! That is eight months of the Lord’s ministry of which we have no record. What was He doing? We can only speculate, but I would imagine that He was teaching them and training them for the difficult days ahead. When He and His men return, Jesus finds Himself under increasing attack by the Jews. This will be one of the last opportunities that He will have to be alone with His men before He goes to Calvary to die.

        It is also interesting that Jesus goes to Decapolis. If you will remember, the people of that region had asked Jesus to leave their country, Mark 5:17. Jesus had cast a legion of demons out of the Gaderene Demoniac. Those demons had entered into a herd of swine and the pigs had all drowned. The people of Decapolis had rejected Jesus and forced Him to leave.

        Now He returns and they receive Him with open arms. Why the change? What made the difference? The answer can be found in Mark 5:19-20. That redeemed demoniac went home and told everyone he met what Jesus had done for him. He was such an effective witness that the people were eager for Jesus to come back to town, and when He did, they embraced Him. What a lesson for those who know the Lord. We should be in the business of magnifying Him!

        By the way, it thrills my heart that Jesus went back! They rejected Him and He would have been justified had He never returned. But, Jesus came back and gave them a second chance! Aren’t you grateful that He didn’t write you off the first time you rejected Him? I praise His name that He keeps on loving; He keeps wooing; He keeps drawing; He keeps calling; until He gets what He’s after! Praise His name!

        In this passage, Jesus comes to Decapolis and the people bring a deaf man to Jesus for healing. Jesus heals this poor man and the crowds marveled. They saw His power and they were amazed. They said, “He hath done all things well.” I want to take this passage and preach on the thought “Well Done Jesus!” I want you to see that He still has the power to amaze those who come to Him. Let’s watch Him work in this miracle and learn the lessons contained here.


  I.  v. 32           THE MAN AND

                         HIS CONDITION

·         The Bible tells us that this man was “deaf”. The word means “to blunt or to dull”. It may have been that this man lost his hearing as the result of an injury; or he may have been born deaf. Either way, this poor man cannot hear. Not only was he deaf, but he also had a speech impediment. He could talk, but his speech was impaired. These two conditions seem to go hand in hand. Because a deaf person cannot hear themselves saying words, they tend to have trouble using verbal language correctly. I will say more about his condition in a minute.

·         While this man’s condition is tragic, his verse is a blessing. This man, even though he was handicapped, had people around him that cared about him. They heard that Jesus was passing by and they brought their deaf friend to Jesus. They just believed that the man Who had cast a legion of demons out of the demoniac could heal this poor handicapped man!

·         Let me make a few observations about this business of physical handicaps before we move to the next verses.

        First, there was something in the heart of Jesus that drew Him to the handicapped. He loved people who were often cast aside by others. Jesus spent much time ministering to those with physical infirmities because He had a heart full of love and compassion for their needs. I would say that if you want to be like Jesus you should reach out to the handicapped! He loved them and ministered to them and we should do the same.

        Besides that, handicapped people seem to be drawn to Jesus. And do you know why? It is because He accepts them and loves them just like they are. They are looking for that kind of love and acceptance from a society that rejects them because they are different. Jesus loves them like they are and so should we! There are many handicapped people who would love to hear the Gospel, if someone only cared enough to tell them.

        Another observation that arises from these verses has to do with Heaven. I am glad to report to you that there will not be a single handicapped individual in glory! There will not be a shriveled body, a feeble mind or a paralyzed frame in that glorious land! Those precious people, who have suffered so much in this world and have trusted Jesus, will be delivered forever from their wheelchairs, their crutches, their beds and their institutions. Their bodies will be made whole and their minds will be renewed! Praise the Lord!

        A third observation serves to remind us that the physical healings Jesus performed are but illustrations of what He can do in the spiritual realm. You may have a good mind and a healthy body today. You might not be blind, deaf, crippled, paralyzed or mentally challenged today, but if you are lost, you have a far more serious handicap than any physical handicap ever endured by anyone in the history of the world. If you are lost, you cannot hear God. You cannot see what He is doing. You cannot serve Him. You cannot walk for Him. Your spiritual body is crippled and if you die in that condition, you will be lost forever! That is a serious condition to be in today!

        One of these days the physically and mentally handicapped persons who have trusted Jesus will leave their infirmities behind forever. They will go to Heaven where they will get new bodies and perfect minds. But, if a person dies without Jesus, they will leave this world and drop off into Hell! That is far more serious than any physical handicap a person can endure here!


 II.  v. 33-35       THE MASTER

                           AND HIS CURE

·         The people bring this poor man to Jesus and He does a great work in the man’s life. I want to take a few minutes to watch how Jesus ministered to this man.

·         The first thing I notice is that Jesus “took him aside”. The crowd expected Jesus to just touch him right there and heal him. But, Jesus is a gentleman! He does not embarrass the man more than he already is. This man is deaf! He probably has no idea what is going on.

        The deaf will tell you that their affliction makes them a special class of people. Blindness and most other physical handicaps can be seen by others, and those who see the handicap make special allowance for the handicapped person. But, you can’t see that a person is deaf! Often people will grow impatient with a deaf person because they are having trouble understanding something. Sometimes people treat the deaf like they are less intelligent than others just because they cannot hear. Often, the deaf are embarrassed by their condition and they withdraw into themselves rather than face a harsh staring public.

        Jesus refuses to make a spectacle of this man. Jesus takes him aside and does a great work in his life. By taking him aside, Jesus is saying, “you are more than a problem, you are an individual and you are important to me! I care about you!”


(Note: Thank God for the personal ministry of Jesus! He doesn’t treat people like they are mere numbers. Just look at the ministry of Jesus. He healed many people, but His methods varied from case to case. He touched a leper. He put spit and dirt in a blind man’s eye. He made one blind fellow go to a pool and wash his eyes. Others He healed from a distance.      Every case was different and every case merited special attention from the Master!

        He may have saved you and me by the same blood and the same Gospel, but I guarantee you that He used different methods in each of our lives. I love that about God! You can’t put Him in a box! He doesn’t always work the same way! But, there is one constant that you can depend on: Jesus cares for you on a personal level. He will work in your life in a manner unique to you! You are special to Him and He will honor that special relationship in His dealings with you!)


·         Jesus continues His special ministry in this man’s life. He cannot tell the man verbally what He is about to do, so Jesus uses a rough form of sign language to communicate His intentions. First, He sticks His fingers in the man’s ears to let him know that He is going to do something about his deafness. He spits on His finger and touches the man’s tongue to let him know that He is about to lubricate his speech. That’s gross, but that is what Jesus did!

        It would seem that Jesus is attempting to awaken faith in this man’s heart. He is trying to get the man to understand that something is about to happen in his life and that Jesus is going to bring about the changes. Whatever the reason for His actions, Jesus reaches out and touches this man!


(Note: Praise the Lord for the Master’s touch! He touched the sick and made them well! He touched the rot of leprosy and made it clean! He touched the black pallor of death and made it live! Jesus wasn’t afraid to touch the defiled. He wasn’t afraid of being defiled. He knew that sickness and death had to yield to His holiness and power. Jesus just walked up to this poor man and touched him!

        Praise the Lord for His touch! When we could not get to Him, He left Heaven and came into this world to die for our sins. We could not touch Him, but He came to our world, lived among us, died on the cross to save us, and He touched us! Glory to God! He didn’t shy away from our defilement, but He took our sins upon Himself so that we might be saved, 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:24. The redeemed are saved, and the lost can be saved, because Jesus was willing to touch us where we were, Ill. Job. 9:33.

        By the way, if we are going to reach the lost for Jesus, we are going to have to go where they are. We are going to have to touch them where they live. We cannot isolate ourselves from them. We must not be partakers of their sins, but we must make the vital connection of touch if we would be effective for Jesus.)


·         After touching him, Jesus looks toward Heaven. This act served two purposes. First, it told the deaf man where the healing was coming from. Jesus was looking to His Father and He was telling this man, via sign language, that his healing was coming from above.

        This act of looking toward Heaven also demonstrated the Son’s dependence upon the Father. Jesus often looked to Heaven for the help He needed. He did this at the tomb of Lazarus, John 11:41. Jesus lived a life of close communion and the Father used Him!


(Note: If you and I would be as effective as we could be, we must also live lives of close communion with the Father. We will be more effective in our outreach and we will be more effective in our ministry to others if we live close to the Lord. If you want to be used of the Lord, stay close and stay clean! Spend time with Him and spend time in His Word. He blesses those who make Him a priority!)


·         After looking toward Heaven, Jesus “sighed”. This word means “to groan”. The deaf man could not hear the sigh, but he could see Jesus when He did it and it spoke volume to him. The sigh said “I care about you and what you are going through!”


(Note: I praise the Lord that we have a Savior Who cares! He is “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief”,  Isa. 53:3. He is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities”, Heb. 4:15. He cares about you and what you are facing in your life, 1 Pet. 5:7; Matt. 11:28. Regardless of what you are facing today, you will find help and hope in Him!

        Did you notice that His sigh of compassion immediately follows a time of communion with His Father? When one has been in the presence of the Almighty, the harshness of the human experience will become even clearer. The closer we live to the heart of God the more we can feel the heartache of our fellow man! The secret of compassion is a life of close communion with the heavenly Father! The closer our communion with Him the more effective our ministry to the world around us!

        I pray the Lord will help us develop a heart of compassion that desires to alleviate the needs it sees. That is His will for us, Phil. 2:4; Rom. 12:15; James 2:8.

        Ill. One day a little boy came home from school and he looked rather sad. His mother said, “Honey, is everything all right?”

        He said, “Well, I guess so. But, Billy came to school today and told the class that his daddy had died. They just buried his daddy yesterday, mama.”

        Then he said, “Mama, Billy was so upset about his daddy dying that he just cried and cried.”

        His mother said, “Well, what did you do?”

        He said, “I just laid my head on my desk and cried with him!”

        That is the kind of heart that Jesus had, and that is the kind of heart that we need!)


·         Then, Jesus said one word, “Ephphatha”, which means “be opened”. When Jesus said this, the man’s ears were healed and his tongue was loosed. He could hear! He could speak! Oh, what a miracle! One command from Jesus and his life changed forever! That is the power of the Word of God!


(Note: I have seen spiritually deaf ears opened by the Word of God! I have seen spiritually blind eyes opened by the Word of God! I have seen spiritually dead people raised to life by the Word of God! I have seen lives changed by the power of the Word of God! That is what our Savior can do when He moves in power! He can do that for you today!)



                       THEIR CONFESSION

·         As soon as He has accomplished the miracle, Jesus tells the multitudes not to tell anyone else. He does not want to identified as a Gentile Messiah. Jesus came to the Jew first and then the Greek, Rom. 1:16. So, He tells them to keep quiet. The tense of the phrase “charged them” suggests that He kept on commanding them to keep the matter quiet. But, they did just the opposite. He told them to tell no one and they told everyone!


(Note: What a contrast that is with the way we are. He told them to tell no one and they told everyone. He commands us to tell everyone and we tell no one! Like those folks, every child of God should be in the publishing business. We should be spreading the news that Jesus is a life-changing, soul-saving Lord! That is His command, Mark 16:15. That is our obligation, Matt. 28:19-20. That is what He has equipped us to do, Acts 1:8.

        Jesus did not tell us to witness just when we “feel led” to witness. He expects us to tell the world about Him. Get up and get at it, you’ve got a story to tell!


·         The Bible tells us that these people were “beyond measure astonished”. What they saw Jesus do was more than their minds could comprehend. It left them with their mouths hanging open in amazement. They summed up what they felt about Jesus by saying, “He hath done all things well!”

        That statement was a statement of faith. They looked at all they knew about Jesus and they voiced their approval of Him and His ministry. They considered His miracles and His ministry and they said, “He hath done all things well!”


(Note: I can echo the words of that multitude in my own heart today. He hath done all things well! I can look back at the past and tell you that He has never failed me! Even when I was a sinner, He was patiently leading me along to that moment in time when He would save my soul. Praise His name! Since that day, He has been better to me than I deserve. He has blessed me, used me and let me see His power time and time again! He hath done all things well! I look back over the days of my life and I lift my voice in praise to the Lord and I say, “Well Done Jesus!”

        As I stand here and look to the future, it gives me confidence to know that He will continue to do all things well. We may not understand all the twists and turns of the road of life. We may wonder why some of terrible events in life take place. We may wonder why people have to get sick and others have to die. We do wonder about many of those things. Right now, some of you have question marks as tall as mountains in your mind over certain events in your life. I can’t tell you why life as gone like it has for you. I will venture to say that when you leave this world either by death or the rapture and you stand in His presence in Heaven, you will look back over the days of your life and you will say, “He hath done all things well!” And, when you stand before Him in glory, your voice will join the chorus of all the saints of the ages and together will praise Him for His grace and His goodness and we will shout, “Well done! Well done! Well done!” We will praise Him for His patient, loving, sovereign work in your life!)


Conc: The man in this text met Jesus that day and his life was never the same again. Meeting Jesus changed everything forever for this man. He can do the same thing for any person who will come to Him today! Why? He does all things well!

        If there is a lost person here, let me speak to you for just a moment. If you will come to Jesus today, you will find that He does all things well. He can save your soul from sin and from Hell. He can change your life. He can give you eternal life. He does all things well. Come to Jesus and see for yourself.

        Whatever your spiritual condition, whether you are saved or lost, Jesus can help you today! He can deliver you from addiction and lust. He does all things well. He can forgive your sins and help you to live a godly life. He does all things well. He can lift your burden and give you peace in your heart. He does all things well.

        “All” is a mighty big word! It covers a lot of territory. He does all things well. Come to Him and let Him teach you that truth today! He can fix it so you leave here today saying, “Well done! Well done! Well done!”


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