Friday 12 February 2021

Listening skills


Returning from the district of Tyre, Jesus went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, right through the Decapolis region. And they brought him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they asked him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, put his fingers into the man’s ears and touched his tongue with spittle. Then looking up to heaven he sighed; and he said to him, ‘Ephphatha’, that is, ‘Be opened.’ And his ears were opened, and the ligament of his tongue was loosened and he spoke clearly. And Jesus ordered them to tell no one about it, but the more he insisted, the more widely they published it. Their admiration was unbounded. ‘He has done all things well,’ they said ‘he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.’

Mark 7:31-37


What a contradiction. Jesus enables a man to hear again and to be able to speak clearly. And yet, in doing so, he silences him and his friends, orders them not to tell anyone what has happened! They don’t listen. “The more he insisted, the more widely they published it,” we read. Yes, it may seem strange that Jesus at times tries to silence those he heals! Sometimes our personal story of faith can get in the way of the source of our faith which is Christ. Telling our story, offering our own personal witness is important, of course, but there may be occasions when it can simply raise our own sense of importance, and becomes more about us than it does about God. If we have a particular interesting or dramatic story to tell, it can make others feeling that their experience of God in their lives is, well, rather mundane! We hear little of what happens to so many people in the Scriptures who encountered Jesus and received his healing touch. We often don’t even know their name! We can only imagine and conjecture. All we know is that the miracles they experienced were signs, pointing them – and us – to a deep reality in our lives. They are signs that the Kingdom of God has come close, and an indication of who Jesus is. He opens our eyes and our ears, our hearts and our whole lives to the possibilities of life with God. Out story is his story. Our life is his life.


God our Father, help us to recognise the beauty of the world around us, and the love that you have placed deep in our hearts, that we may discover true happiness which is life with you and for you. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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