Today’s Reading: Mark 7:31-37
And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” (Mark 7:34)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Jesus sighed. You know this sigh. It’s the one you might make when you can’t believe what you are dealing with. Part frustration. Part sadness. Mix in some disappointment and anger and you have this sigh. How long, O Lord? How long?
A man who cannot hear has been brought to Jesus, but he has no idea that he should go to Jesus. Not hearing the voice of a loved one is painful. Not hearing the voice of God through the Holy Scriptures? That is eternally dangerous. Remember, they didn’t have printed Bibles in their homes to read like you and I do. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17), and this man can’t hear the Word of Christ who is standing right in front of him. How often have you turned a perfectly good ear from hearing the Word of Christ? Thus Christ sighs. Frustration, sadness, maybe some anger, at what sin has wrought on mankind.
Jesus takes hold of this man to do for him what no one else can do. Jesus saves him. With healed ears, the man can hear the saving Word of Christ. His tongue is released so that he might proclaim salvation by faith in Christ to others who will hear. The Word of Christ to which Paul refers is the entirety of the Bible, climaxing in the Word made Flesh, Christ Jesus, who was sacrificed on the Cross in order that heaven would “ephphatha,” be opened, to all who confess with their mouth, their released tongue, “that Jesus is Lord and believe in [their] heart that God raised him from the dead” (Romans 10:9). The preaching of Jesus Christ and Him crucified for sinners opens the ears and releases the tongue that you might hear the Good News of your salvation and sing the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. By Jesus’ death on the Cross, heaven has been opened to you, that hearing the Word of Christ, confessing with your tongue that Jesus is Lord, and believing in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Almighty and everlasting God, give us an increase of faith, hope, and charity; and that we may obtain what You have promised, make us love what You have commanded; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the 12th Sunday after Trinity)
-Rev. Daniel Voth, pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Grand Forks, ND.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.