Trinity 12 - the Sunday of the Deaf-Mute
Delivered By
Pr. Mark D. Lovett
Delivered On
August 23, 2015
Central Passage
Mark 7:31-37

In the name of the FATHER and of the + SON and of the HOLY SPIRIT.

This miracle of healing the deaf-mute really is a living parable by which we can discover the kingdom of heaven and the work of the Almighty.

The man was deaf and had a speech impediment. He couldn’t hear or speak right. This represents all humanity. This is you and me. None of us can hear God or speak rightly about Him.

So Jesus sticks His fingers in our ears. The Bible calls the Holy Spirit the Finger of God. God sticks His Spirit in our ears by His Son. That’s the real miracle here: that God would care for us and love us by sending His only begotten Son to preach to us the way of life and salvation. And in sticking His Finger in our ears – by preaching the gospel to us, the words of the Spirit – He opens our ears that we would hear the Father. So Jesus looked up into the heavens and sighed. His sigh isn’t one of exasperation as ours would be if people kept begging us to do things for them even though they’re not as good as us and don’t even try to be. No, His sigh is one of compassion and long-suffering. Like a mother who sighs at the end of a long day with her children. She doesn’t sigh in hatred or frustration or exasperation. She sighs because she loves her children and has done what a mother should do: fed and clothed them, listened to them, ended their squabbles, bandaged their ouchies; told them stories of heroism and wonder. She is spent on her children and sighs in love and compassion.

Jesus is spent on us. That’s what the cross is. He gave everything He had. Gave it all. On the cross He sighed, too. He sighed and gave up His Spirit to the Father. And the Father, who loves the Son and is well-pleased in the Son for His obedience and trust – gave the Spirit back to the Son three days later and the Son who once was dead is now alive forevermore. And He sticks His divine Finger into our mortal ears so that we would hear the Father and live forever.

By His Spirit we hear rightly. We hear our Father in heaven who speaks to us by the Son. For the words the Son speaks are not His own but the words the Father gave Him to speak. And the Spirit, by whom we hear these words, brings all these words – these words of the cross and passion of Christ – to our remembrance. The Son of God continues to preach to us, to pour the Spirit of Life into our ears so that we would hear rightly and rejoice in the salvation of our God.

And in hearing rightly – the whooshing of self gone, buried in Holy Baptism, and the voice of God resounding in our ears – we speak rightly. The Son of God has loosed our tongues to speak of God rightly. What we hear, we speak. The Lord is compassionate and long-suffering, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His works. The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth (Ps. 145:17-18).

So be slow to speak and quick to hear (James 1:19) for hearing comes before speaking. It is better to draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools from foolish lips, for they don’t know that what they speak is evil (Ecclesiastes 5:1). Don’t presume to be a teacher – spouting off what you think you know about God and His ways – until you have become content with being a student who knows that it is not our words but the Word of the Lord that opens ears and unstops tongues and draws praise from the heart. Students always gather and listen to their teacher.

That’s what the crowds teach us in this living parable of the deaf-mute. They did not consider themselves able to heal the deaf-mute but brought him to the Great Physician. They

didn’t offer platitudes or quips about God and heaven and doing good or so forth. They didn’t leave their theology and the comfort of God up to Hallmark. They brought the man to Jesus.

You have been brought to Jesus for you are not hear of your own accord. But the Lord has stuck His divine Finger in your mortal ears so that you hear His voice and follow Him. This is following Him; eating His Bread and drinking from His Cup. This is following Him: hearing His word and gathering with His Body.

The world and the evil one continually attempt to stop your ears and twist your tongue. They flood you with your sins and the sins of others. But the Lord calls you to Himself though His the preaching of His word, the crowd that knows who He is, His Church, so that you stand before the Lord that He may heal you and give you ears to hear and a tongue to give thanks and to rejoice in Him. He does all things well. He even gives you eternal life.

+ In Nomine Iesu +