In our gospel reading today, Jesus lays hands on a deaf man and prays “Ephphatha” ('Be opened’) and immediately the deaf man is healed. The crowds are astounded beyond measure, saying, "He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak."
The irony is that although the deaf man has been healed, many of those in the crowd still fail to hear what Jesus is saying to them. Jesus ordered them to tell no-one, but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it.
Do you ever wonder how often it is that Jesus might speak to us and we might fail to hear? Like the crowds in Jesus day, it is so easy for us to get caught up wanting Jesus to do things our way, that we forget to listen to what he is actually asking of us. In Mark 8:34 Jesus says, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
James takes up this message as well this morning as he challenges us to put our faith into practice:
“Faith by itself, if it has no action, is dead" (James 2:17 ).
Only when we fully allow ourselves to be open to the work of the Holy Spirit with us can we truly be faithful to all that Jesus is calling us to be. So perhaps Jesus’ prayer for the deaf man should also be our prayer for our own hearing along with our hearts and mind: “'Ephphatha.' Lord may my heart be open to your call."
Pray it with me if you dare and see the good things that God has planned for us. Amen!
Till next time …
Rev. Andrew Smith
Vicar of Light in the Hills