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Ephphatha

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Title: Ephphatha

Text: Mark 7:31-37

Introduction:

v. 31

Here in the text Jesus returns to the region Decapolis (ten cities).  He went back to Gentile country.  This is the place where they ran him out after casting out a demon and sending into pigs.  The owners of the pigs did not care for this too much and ran Jesus out of town.  But I guess they forgot that He is the king of the comeback.  He will prove it again in the not so distance future where He was not just run out of town but they ran Him out of mortal via the cross but He came back in immortality.  Despite of the unbelief known of those who live in this Gentile region, Jesus comes back.  He comes back to fulfill His purpose as the Messiah.  He is about to make some unbelievers into believers.  Some of us can identify with this more personally.  There was a time that you were just like the Gentiles in this region.  You saw and knew about Jesus but you thought he was a trouble maker because when He came around He meddled in your personal life and disrupted your flow.  But there came a point where He demonstrated who He was in your life in a personal and magnificent way that you could not deny that He was indeed Lord.  

v.32

As Jesus reenters this region, a crowd awaited Him on His return. But this crowd was just not there as fans waiting to see his or her favorite star jump out a limo just to get a look.  This crowd that gathered on the shores of Galilee was on a mission.  They were gathered around for a purpose.  They had a need that they knew only Jesus could fulfill. This crowd was more like congregants.  They were together on one accord believing in one God.  That is why it is so important to come together in agreement and worship the Lord.  The agreement of believers causes God to move into action.  It does take a lot of folks but the Bible says “when two or three”.   Look at your neighbor and tell them “I agree”.  You just put God into motion of there behalf. 

       This crowd was motivated to get to Jesus by someone else’s need.  No one in the crowd was looking for personal gain from Jesus, but each one had this one person on there mind.  The crowd was moved with compassion to bring a man to Jesus who had a problem. He had some issues. Not just one issue but two.  Both issues were connected.  One grows out of the other.  The text says that they brought a man to Jesus who was not only deaf, hearing impaired but also he was mute, he could not speak!  There is somebody here under the sound of my voice that is just like this man in our text.  You just don’t have one issue but you have more than one. And it stems from a root problem that manifests and translates into other issue in your life. It hinders you from being what God has called you to be.  Like this man, you have more than one thing going on with you.  You got a combination of problems that you are dealing with personally and one flows out of the other.  You got low-esteem and depression.   You are bitter and angry.  You are greedy and selfish. You are controlling and abusive.  You other issue flows out from another source.

Not only are we like this in the number of issues that we have but also what our issues do to us.  Like this man, something is blocking our senses of hearing and speaking.  We are hard of hearing and what we say is difficult to understand.  We don’t know the basis of this man’s issues, but these two senses were not functioning properly.  We can’t hear or speak because something is hindering us from getting the right information into our mind and process it correctly and be able to articulate it effectively.  Hearing and speaking are connected physically as well as spiritually.  A person who has trouble hearing can’t distinguish certain sounds and pronunciations therefore when this person speaks it is inaudible or incorrect because sounds and words was not correctly received.  Spiritually this works the same way. You can’t distinguish the truth about God due the blockage of your hearing therefore you can’t speak truth in your life.  Something is blocking what is going inside of you.  Nothing can get in and nothing can come out.  Or whatever is coming in is distort and what is coming out is distorted.  And what is blocking or filtering what gets in you comes from three areas: sin, self, and your surrounds.  All three prevents you from receiving anything good and prosperous that God want you to have.  Therefore, they have to be removed. Thus, you need some things open in your life.  Does anybody need some things open in there life?

       MB and MS, your ear canal may not be closed but you may have a closed in mind and spirit.  Your heart has been locked up for a long time and it needs to be open.  Your tongue may not be stammering or slurred but your lifestyle is.  I am here to tell you that Jesus wants you to be open to what he has in store for you.  And this crowd knew this.  This crowd knew that all Jesus had to do for their friend was to do what the prophets of old did. Just touch one his divine authority would fix this man’s troubles.  The text says that they beseeched or begged him which is translated to plead Jesus to lay hands on their friend.  This is another instance that points us particularly to intercessory prayer where you go to God on the behalf of someone else.  This crowd interceded for a man who could not help himself to get open.  There are people in your life that need to open from there confined living or thinking that God has placed in your life to intercede for.  It is your assignment that is why your heart is so burdened by their issue.  You are their intercessor.  But the good news is that God will hear your concern. 

In the v33 text, Jesus honors the request of the crowd for there friend.  The Lord will always honor a compassionate heart that prays for the well being of someone in need. In verse, 33 Jesus takes him aside from the crowd.   Even though this man was around people who cared about him, Jesus pulls him out of the crowd.  Now it is just Jesus and the man alone.  In order for the Lord to minister to us, He has to get us alone for a private encounter. He wants a deal with you on an intimate level.  He can’t do what has to do with you in the midst of anything thing that may distract you.  So he has to pull you out of some stuff even if you thought it was for you to be around.  God can bless you in church but He does his best work on you He got you all by yourself.  Next, the text shows us that no matter what the problem, the Lord is willing to touch you were you hurt.  The text says that he put His fingers in his ears to unclog the problem and spit on his hand and touched the man’s tongue to loosen what was tighten. I may sound nasty but spit was look as medicinal back in those days.  But you should be glad that no matter what the method Jesus uses, He does it to bless you.  He will use some strange things and circumstance to bless you.  Have you ever had something that didn’t make sense work out for your good?  His ways are not our ways.   In verse 34, after Jesus touches this man the first thing he does is look up.  Before we do anything in our life no matter what the task is or the difficulty you first got to look up. You have to look up for you strength. You have to look to the source of your supply. You have to look to where all the blessings flow. Look up to hills which cometh you help!  Look up. Jesus looked up as a dependence on His father in Heaven.  Our problem is we look everywhere but up first.  We look to play the numbers so we can get rich.  We look at our own strength to fix our problems.  We look to other people to make us feel important. But I am here to tell to look up to Jesus the author and finisher of your faith.  After Jesus looked, the text shows us the Jesus has an emotional connection to those of us in need. The scripture says that he sighed. A sigh is a strong emotion.  It is the acknowledgement of pain and suffering that was never intended to be. Jesus is still sighs over us. We are living in ways that God has never intended us to be.  You not supposed to be that stress out. You are not supposed to be that depressed. You not supposed to be that anger. And Jesus is sighing because He can feel you pain. He does like it but awesomely enough He does something about it.  He uses His divine authority to fix your situation.

In our story, Jesus commanded all that has been hindering and confining this man of pleasure of being whole and restored to be removed.  In the native Aramiac language of the day, Jesus commands “Ephphatha”, be open which really means “be open completely”.  The Lord spoke for complete removal of what is blocking this man’s use of his hearing and speaking clearly.  In verse 35, the text says immediately, his ears were open and his tongue loosed!  This teaches us that if you want change in you life, a Word from God is only thing that break any barrier that is hindering completely and create new life for you!  You can go from Genesis. When God spoke chaos ceased in the cosmos’ and life jumped out of the ground and sea. And it was all good!  All the Lord has to do is to say something.     

When this man was healed, Jesus admonished those who witness this miracle not say anything because he did want to be known because his time did not come.  But the more he told them not to say anything the more they opened there mouths to tell the great thing he has done. They had the case of the “I can’t help its”.  He is too good to shut my mouth. He is so awesome I got to praise Him. I have to give him glory!  Never before has anybody been able to see that deaf can hear and mute could speak!  He is wonderful God! 

Celebration: This man is now open to what life can be. He is able to experience its fullness. He is able to receive and respond to the wonderful sound of creation.  He is restored.  Not only can he see Jesus, he can hear his words and respond to his goodness.  Now faith can come thru his hearing and praise come out of his mouth because Jesus opened up what has been clogged!  My brothers and sisters, Jesus has come open what has been closed in your life. He is not like a genie who says open sesame. But He commands things to be open by the His Word!  Be Open to love. Be open to peace!  Be open to me word! Ephphatha!

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