Trinity 12 (2013)
Delivered By
Pr. Mark D. Lovett
Delivered On
August 18, 2013
Central Passage
Mark 7:31-37

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

It seems as though some faithful friends brought the deaf-mute to Jesus to be healed. Who knows if they knew who Jesus was, probably not since shortly after this the Lord asks His disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” and they came back with a variety of answers. But whoever He might be, they do know that He can heal. He can heal their friend whose ears don’t hear and whose tongue doesn’t speak. So they bring him to Jesus, the Healer; that He might touch the man and heal him.

And so He does. Rather oddly, to be sure, sticking His fingers in His ears and touching His spit to His tongue. But He heals the man just the same. Those ears that could not hear the voices of his friends or the voice of his mother or children if he had any, could now hear perfectly well. And that tongue that could not ask for a drink of water or read a poem or tell those same children that their father loved them, now spoke plainly. The Lord does all things well, that is, He does them perfectly.

And the crowds pressed in on Him for it. They often gathered so closely and so intensely that neither the Lord nor His disciples could even eat or get a few hours rest. They often had to get into boats and sail away or sneak away at night. But the crowds chased Him down. They chased Him down over mountains, across seas and lakes, even into the wilderness where there was no bread for them to eat. They followed Him from town to town, from village to village just to touch the fringe of His garment that they might be healed. And as many as touched it were made well. They brought their sick friends, their sick children, the demon-possessed, and begged Him to come and save their near-death family members.

Mary and Martha begged Him to come see Lazarus who was deathly ill. The Centurion begged Him to come heal his servant who was near death. A father of a twelve-year-old girl begged the Healer to come and heal his daughter before she died. And even when they died, even when their mortal bodies succumbed to the disease and fever, still He came and had compassion on them, and often raised the dead.

For nothing stops this Healer sent from God. Nothing stands in His way as He goes about given the blind their sight, or opening deaf ears, or loosing mute tongues, cleansing lepers, casting out demons, and even raising the dead. For this Man is on a mission; a mission from His Father: sent to undo the works of the evil one; to bind up the strong man – not with rope and chain, but with divine authority. And He does all things well. No one could do such things if He were not from God, they said. So what if He calls God His Father, maybe He is! After all, such things as He has done had never been done in all of Israel, even in the world! Who ever heard of a man’s eyes being opened, having been blind from birth?

And they praised Him for it. They sang His praises in the streets and in the marketplace. They told of His power in the Jerusalem and in the temple. They enthusiastically went out spreading the news of this Healer and His miraculous touch so that His fame spread far and wide so that even kings wanted to see Him and even the rich and powerful made provisions to come and see this man that could make water into wine, calm storms, raise the dead, and cast out demons.

They wanted to make Him king. They welcomed Him into the holy city with palm branches, the symbol of peace and victory. They eagerly waited for Him to take His place as their long awaited king and leader who would heal their diseases and cast out their demons, who would satisfy their hunger from only a few loaves of bread and some fish. Who else but this man, He that could do and did so much for so many so that, as John puts it, if everything He did were written down in a book, the world itself would not be big enough to contain it all.

Whether He was sent from God or the Son of God or one of the prophets, or John the Baptist back from the dead, they often didn’t know and their opinions on the matter went back and forth. Even the chief priests and scribes – those who knew the Bible better than any –weren’t certain of who He was. But none could deny that His touch was divine, that His power was seemingly infinite, that His look was piercing, and that His heart was full of compassion even for the children, the sinners, and the outcasts. Even those that hated Him for His words against them often sought Him. They came to Him at night; they came to Him in crowds. They begged Him for healing, too. Even as they often thought to trap Him or catch Him in some compromising position, still they wanted to see this Man work and with baited breath waited for Him to speak.

But how often He did not heal and did not speak. He ignored Mary and Martha so that Lazarus died. He ignored the mother who came for her demon-possessed daughter, so that she was forced to beg and became a nuisance even to His disciples. He often sought to escape the crowds, wanting to be alone. He did not always heal or always wake the dead or always open the ears and mouths of deaf-mutes. Even if it was only because they were not all in Judea where He stayed, but in other parts of the world, still the one that claimed to be sent to the whole world did not see the whole world or divine miracles in the far reaches of the globe.

And almost as often as He healed their sick or raised their dead, He commanded them to say nothing. Oh, they ignored Him, as many do today. They sinned against Him and His word and went out and told everyone that would listen. Yes, it was a sin. For when is it okay, when is it not a sin to not do what Jesus has told you to do?

It seems this Man who was so sought after and so loved and so desired by so many, was Himself only desirous of being alone, being quiet, and being unknown. He did not come to be made king by the hands or by the will of men. He did not come only to heal mortal bodies and restore health, to right wrongs and bring about some manner of social justice. He came to do His Father’s will.  But these are the things people love Him for the most. Jesus gets more praise and attention over a good report from a doctor or a good turn of luck with money than He does for forgiving sinners. So that sinners even to act as though that since He forgives them, He has some obligation to make their lives a little better. Else why would we say, “He forgives me my sins, but He won’t heal my body? My relationships? My government?” These are the things people sing His praises for. So He says to those who would praise Him for being a great healer or a great leader or a political activist to be quiet and to say nothing.

He came to do the Father’s will. And the will of the Father is that the world be reconciled to God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So the Son set His face toward Jerusalem and became man. He became for us the curse on the cross that He might also be the cure. Not to conquer kings and establish earthly thrones, but to conquer the king of hell and establish the rule of God among men so that just as it is done in heaven, so His will is done on earth.

Behold! He does all things well! Here is the rule of God among men – the rule of mercy for sinners. Here is the cure, O sinful man, for your sins. Here is the cure, O mortal men, for your mortality. Here the divine Man touches mortal men and heals you body and soul, preparing you for eternal life. For this He looses our tongues to speak plainly. For this, we sing His praises. Praise God from whom all blessings flow; praise Him all creatures here below; praise Him above ye heavenly host: praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

+ In Nomine Iesu +