Mark 7:31-37

Mark 7:31 (KJB)
And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis.

It is not written as to how long Jesus stayed in the area of Tyre and Sidon, but ancient writings state He went through Tyre to Sidon which was about 20 miles (32 km) from Tyre and then He went east approaching the Sea of Galilee from the east. He may have done this to avoid the crowds for a while and spend some time with His disciples and also to gain a period of rest. This was another teaching scenario which was about to get underway. (Mat 15:29 KJV) And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there. He did not go up into the mountain to rest but it was to work. The term “sat down there” does not mean He was just sitting around on a sunny afternoon but it points to the fact that He was there for several days. (Luke 24:49 KJV) And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. The same word used for “tarry” in Luke 24:49 is used in the verse above for “sat down.”

Mark 7:32 (KJB)
And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him.

Here we have another group of friends who were bringing a person to Jesus. This person was not lame but was deaf and had a speech impediment. The word “impediment” in the Greek carries with it the meaning of “difficulty of speech.” It may have coincided with him being deaf. Just like the four friends who lowered their paralytic friend through the roof to see Jesus, these friends had shown the same level of faith believing that Jesus could heal their friend. (Isa 35:5-6 KJV) Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. {6} Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. Isaiah 35:6 was about to be fulfilled literally but the ultimate meaning is when someone receives the Gospel, they now see where they were blind, they now hear where they were deaf, and they now walk when they were lame, all of these are done in the Gospel having their spiritual ears and eyes opened which results in them sending forth the Gospel and using their legs to do it.

Mark 7:33 (KJB)
And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue;

Jesus took the man aside from the multitude to avoid publicity and maybe to put the man at ease. He probably had endured much ridicule by others who probably made fun of his speech problem. Jesus placed His finger in the man’s ears and then had spit on His finger and then touched his tongue. What Jesus was doing here was building the man’s faith by doing something out of the ordinary. If the man believed Jesus could do it, then it would not matter how it would be accomplished. (Isa 55:8 KJV) For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. Isaiah 55:8 teaches us that God’s ways are very different than ours. This man could no doubt had been healed by just a word from Jesus but here Jesus was giving a lesson in faith.

Mark 7:34 (KJB)
And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.

Once Jesus had done those things He then looked toward Heaven. The sigh can also be understood as a groan. Jesus was not sighing because He was tired from healing but He was commiserating with the man who had suffered these physical problems. (Heb 4:15 KJV) For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Jesus had compassion on those with physical infirmities because He saw what sin had done to His perfect creation. The word “Ephphatha” is an Aramaic word which Mark translates for us, “Be opened.” When Jesus saves us He opens our understanding of all things spiritual. (Luke 24:45 KJV) Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, (Acts 16:14 KJV) And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. It is the Lord who does the opening and not us.

Mark 7:35 (KJB)
And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.

Immediately the man’s ears were opened and he was able to hear. Then the string of his tongue was loosed. The word ‘string” in the Greek carries with it the idea of “band, shackle, or imprisonment.” In other words, it tells us that whatever has shackled the man’s tongue to prevent him from speaking was now loosed or set free and the man was able to speak again without an impediment. The word “plain” may also be understood as “rightly.” Now the man could once again join society and never be mocked again for his infirmities.

Mark 7:36 (KJB)
And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it;

In this instance also Jesus did not want it published all over the area because He knew that His enemies wanted to destroy Him but the time was not yet. No matter how hard He tried, the people continued to propagate the miracle. It seemed the harder He tried to quash it, the more it was published. Jesus did not want His mission to earth to be identified with only physical healing because that is not the reason He came. Jesus came to grant salvation to His Elect and spiritual healing was the primary reason He came. Physical healing was temporary but spiritual healing is forever.

Mark 7:37 (KJB)
And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

Since Jesus was doing this in the area of Decapolis, the crowd would probably been made up of mostly Gentiles but there were probably also many Jews in the area who may have come just as spies for the Pharisees. When the people started seeing the sick and handicapped people becoming healed, there was a sense of amazement in the crowd. The Jews in the crowd looked upon these miracles in astonishment because their religion had become lifeless and dead and all they had to remember the past with Elijah, Moses, and Elisha and the miracles they performed. Now they were seeing for themselves something which had life in it. The Gentiles also would have marveled because their heathen religions with all their idols could produce nothing like what was happening now. When these things were occurring, they all gave glory to God because now they knew it was all real. This brings to life the words of Isaiah. (Isa 35:4-6 KJV) Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you. {5} Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. {6} Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.