Twelfth Sunday after Trinity (1880

Mark 7:31-37 It is a sad proof of the great spiritual blindness of mankind that they do not recognize in their thousand-fold hardships and sorrows not only the true causes of them, namely sin, but also they do not seek help for it where it is only found. They take their refuge in hardships in their own understanding and wisdom, or in the good will of others, seek help from the creature who cannot help itself.1 So they must finally temporally and eternally perish in their hardships. For there is only One in Whom we can receive help in every need: Jesus Christ, our Savior. Today's Gospel indicates to us an example, that it is He Who makes everything well and can and will help in all hardships. The all healing help of Jesus to a deaf-mute. This help was 1. faithfully requested; a. the helper, from Whom it was requested.2 It is Jesus, Who shortly before had made well the daughter of the Canaanite woman within the borders of Tyre and Sidon, Who went about doing good etc.3, Who will cast out no one who comes to Him4; b. the affliction that needed Him.5 This deaf and dumb man is a reflection of the spiritual misery of his mostly heathen people in the Decapolis beyond the Jordan, like the human race in general, which is by nature, if not physically, then spiritually deaf and dumb by original sin; c. the people that begged Him.6 Those friends who kindly attend to the deafmute, show their faith that had been wrought in them by what they heard about Christ, and the love springing from faith compelled them to bring to Christ the deaf-mute so that he might gain his own faith and find physical and spiritual help through this in Jesus; d. the request that they make on his behalf.7 Their request was to the effect that the Lord lay His Hand and might heal him, as He did with many others, and they did not doubt in the hearing of their request. - This help was

1 2

Jeremiah 2:13. Mark 7:31. 3 Acts 10:38. 4 John 6:37. 5 Mark 7:32. 6 ibid. 7 ibid.

2. willingly and powerfully given; a. the willingness to help shines forth from all actions and gestures of the Lord, with which He comes towards the deaf-mute: α. He took him particularly from the people.8 The deaf-mute recognized from that that Jesus in particular shows His goodness to him, would be his doctor and helper. β. He put His fingers in his ears9. This was a sign for the deaf-mute that the Lord knew his impediment quite well and now prepares Himself to heal him thoroughly. γ. He spat and touched his tongue.10 The deaf-mute sees how the Lord takes on Himself the means by which He will help, and that he required nothing more than His saliva. δ. He looked to the heavens and sighed.11 If the willingness of the Lord to help him had become manifest through the existing procedure of the Lord as by an easy to understand sign language of the deaf-mute, and the Holy Spirit had by this kindled true faith in his heart, then this heartfelt sigh, with which the Savior sighed about all the misery of the human race lying in sin and misery, must also awaken in him an ardent sighing for help from God; his faith manifested itself in prayer; b. the wonderful help itself.12 No sooner had the deaf-mute now obtained his own faith by God's grace and his sighing heart clinged to his sighing Savior, then the powerful "Ephphatha" resounded from the Savior's mouth, and suddenly the entire injury was completely and miraculously healed. It was helpful to him not only in the body, but also in the soul. This help was 3. publicly praised and glorified; a. the behavior of the people at the prohibition of the Lord13, b. whose example is in many ways worth emulating among us. If the Lord had sometimes prohibited the fame of His works in the days of His flesh, then it should instead be continually spread throughout the world. If those people rightly marveled at the miraculous healing of the deaf-mute so that they cried out "He has done all things well!", how much more we must also cry out as the entire redemptive work of Christ and all the wonders of His grace to His believers are clearly before our eyes! G[eorg] S[töckhardt]

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Mark 7:33. ibid. 10 ibid. 11 Mark 7:34. 12 Mark 7:35. 13 Mark 7:36-37.

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