March 9, 2023
Daily Lectionary: Gen 24:1-31, Mark 7:24-37
And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. (St. Mark 7:33–36)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Have you ever seen an old-time Bible movie about Jesus? They really bother me, because Jesus is always so clean and well groomed, wearing white and floating through the movie as if he was almost not even really there.
We see a different Jesus in the gospels, especially today. This is the Jesus we really need to keep in our minds. This is the Jesus who lives among His people, bearing their burdens, sharing their pain, and healing their infirmities. This is the Jesus who laughs and cries, because He knows exactly what it is like to live on earth, with sin and evil around every corner; and with family and friends by your side.
Jesus pulls the deaf man aside so he knows Jesus is focused on him and his needs. Sure, this isn’t very hygienic by today’s standards (what, no hand sanitizer?!?), but this is the Son of God we’re watching. Fingers in ears that don’t hear; fingers on a tongue that can’t speak. Looking to the heavens from which our help comes, and a deep sigh.
All of these actions show the deaf man that Jesus is here for him. Specifically to help him and to show His might and power to those nearby. Touching, sighing, and speaking, Jesus restores what was broken. He heals what caused pain.
You might not be deaf or mute, but you are afflicted by sin and death every single day. Jesus breaks into your world on a regular basis and restores you, ever so briefly in this world, but for all of eternity in the Divine Service. There, He puts his Word into your ears, and He touches your tongue with His Body and Blood to restore you. To forgive you. To grant you everlasting life and eternal salvation.
You may not always understand what is happening, but Jesus sees you in your struggles, and He speaks directly to you, touches you, and assures you of His mercy, now and forever. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Almighty and most merciful God, in this earthly life we endure sufferings and death before we enter into eternal glory. Grant us grace at all times to subject ourselves to Your holy will and to continue steadfast in the true faith to the end of our lives that we may know the peace and joy of the blessed hope of the resurrection of the dead and of the glory of the world to come; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. (Collect for Times of Affliction and Distress)
-Pastor Duane Bamsch is the Pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley, CA and the President of Higher Things.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Patrick Sturdivant, Development and Marketing Executive at Higher Things.
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.