Mark 7:31
Then Jesus left the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis.
Sermons
A Miracle of RestorationJ.J. Given Mark 7:31-37
Alone with JesusW. Forsyth, M. A.Mark 7:31-37
Bringing Men to JesusH. J. Wilmot Buxton, M. A.Mark 7:31-37
Christ the Opener of Locked DoorsBishop Boyd Carpenter.Mark 7:31-37
Christ's SighH. J. Wilmot Buxton, M. A.Mark 7:31-37
Deaf MutesR. Glover.Mark 7:31-37
EphphathaT. D. Bernard.Mark 7:31-37
EphphathaA.F. Muir Mark 7:31-37
Glimpses of JesusW. Forsyth, M. A.Mark 7:31-37
He Took Him AsideF. R. Wynne, M. A.Mark 7:31-37
He Took Him AsideW. Denton, M. A.Mark 7:31-37
Healing the Deaf and Dumb ManT. M. Lindsay, D. D.Mark 7:31-37
His Ears Were OpenedPontanus.Mark 7:31-37
Impediment in SpeechH. J. Wilmot Buxton, M. A.Mark 7:31-37
Leading Our Friends to JesusDr. Arndt.Mark 7:31-37
Leading Our Friends to JesusAnon.Mark 7:31-37
Love and SorrowJ. P. Barnett.Mark 7:31-37
Meaning of Christ's ActionH. Melvill, B. D.Mark 7:31-37
SighsQuesnel.Mark 7:31-37
Sorrow in HealingC. J. Vaughan, D. D.Mark 7:31-37
The Abuses and Uses of SpeechCanon S. R. Hole.Mark 7:31-37
The Deaf and DumbE. Johnson Mark 7:31-37
The Deaf Man CuredD. Moore, M. A.Mark 7:31-37
The Healing of the Deaf and Dumb ManR. Green Mark 7:31-37
The Heavy Ear and Speech of FaithDean Bramston.Mark 7:31-37
The Pattern of ServiceA. Maclaren, D. D.Mark 7:31-37
The Saviour's SighT. R. Stevenson.Mark 7:31-37
The Sigh of ApprehensionH. J. Wilmot Buxton, M. A.Mark 7:31-37
The Sigh of Disappointed DesireH. Melvill, B. D.Mark 7:31-37
The Sigh of JesusJ. Vaughan, M. A.Mark 7:31-37
The Sigh of JesusC. S. Robinson, D. D.Mark 7:31-37
The Successive Steps in the Conversion of the SinnerW. Denton, M. A.Mark 7:31-37
The Touch of ChristThe Quiver.Mark 7:31-37
Why Jesus SighedCanon F. W. Farrar, D. D., J. A. Seiss, D. D.Mark 7:31-37
Words not Necessary to PrayerG. Hunt Jackson.Mark 7:31-37
A rest, then a fresh journey ("again"). How long the interval we cannot determine. To free him from embarrassment, perhaps danger, and allow time for spiritual meditation. "Tyre and Sidon." The best manuscripts have "through Sidon," which was north of Tyre. "Decapolis:" ten cities, east and southeast of Sea of Galilee; named by the Romans B.C. 65. A favourite scene of our Lord's labours (cf. Matthew 4:25). In Matthew 15:29-31 a multitude of cases is mentioned. Here one is singled out as an illustration.

I. THE CASE. Familiar and ordinary; comparatively helpless; difficult to educate, mentally and spiritually.

II. THE CURE.

1. The manner of the great Physician. "They beseech him to lay his hand upon him - a grand expression.

(1) With respect to the people. He does not like the publicity, etc., and so he withdraws the poor man from the excited crowd.

(2) With respect to the patient. This step was full of consideration and delicacy. He sought to gain the confidence of the man. How deliberate and thoughtful was his mercy!

2. The means employed.

(1) Of what kinds. Physical - touch, saliva. Devotional - a heavenward look, a heavenward sigh. Authoritative - a word, Ephphatha!" Not used as a charm, but plainly intended to be otherwise understood; a word of the vernacular.

(2) He spoke to the man through signs, as he could not understand words. The means were only morally necessary; that the man might have some basis for confidence, intelligence, and faith. He ever desired to be understood.

III. THAT WHICH IS SYMBOLIZED. The shut heart of the world, dead to spiritual things. Which is worse? Only the compassion of Christ can save us. - M.







And they bring unto Him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech.
The "missionary spirit" is but one aspect of the Christian life. We shall only strengthen the former as we invigorate the latter. Harm has been done, both to ourselves and to this great cause, by seeking to stimulate compassion and efforts for heathen lands by the use of other excitements, which have tended to vitiate even the emotions they have aroused, and are apt to fail us when we need them most. It may therefore be profitable if we turn to Christ's own manner of working, and His own emotions in His merciful deeds, as here set forth for our example. We have here set forth —

I. THE FOUNDATION AND CONDITION OF ALL TRUE WORK FOR GOD, IN THE LORD'S HEAVENWARD LOOK. That wistful gaze to heaven means, and may be taken to symbolize, our Lord's conscious direction of thought and spirit to God as He wrought His work of mercy. Such intercourse is necessary for us too. It is the condition of all our power, and the measure of all our success. Without it we may seem to realize the externals of prosperity, but it will be an illusion. With it we may perchance seem to spend our strength for naught; but heaven has its surprises; and those who toiled, nor left their hold of their Lord in all their work, will have to say at last with wonder, as they see the results of their poor efforts, "Who hath begotten me these? behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been?" The heavenward look is —

1. The renewal of our own vision of the calm verities in which we trust.

2. It will guard us from the temptations which surround all our service, and the distractions which lay waste our lives.

II. PITY FOR THE EVILS WE WOULD REMOVE, BY THE LORD'S SIGH. It is a sharp shock to turn from the free sweep of the heavens; starry and radiant, to the sights that meet us on earth. Thus habitual communion with God is the root of the truest and purest compassion. He has looked into the heavens to little purpose who has not learned how bad and how sad the world now is, and how God bends over it in pitying love. And pity is meant to impel to help. Let us not be content with painting sad and true pictures of men's woes, but remember that every time our compassion is stirred and no action ensues, our hearts are in some measure indurated, and the sincerity of our religion in some measure impaired.

III. LOVING CONTACT WITH THOSE WHOM WE WOULD HELP, IN THE LORD'S TOUCH. The would-be helper must come down to the level of those whom he desires to aid. We must seek to make ourselves one with those whom we would gather into Christ, by actual familiarity with their condition, and by identification of ourselves in feeling with them. Such contact with men will win their hearts, as well as soften ours. It will lift us out of the enchanted circle which selfishness draws around us. It will silently proclaim the Lord from Whom we have learnt it. The clasp of the band will be precious, even apart from the virtue that may flow from it, and may be to many a soul burdened with a consciousness of corruption the dawning of belief in a love that does not shrink even from its foulness.

IV. THE TRUE HEALING POWER AND THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF WIELDING IT, IN THE LORD'S AUTHORITATIVE WORD. That word is almighty, whether spoken by Him, or of Him (John 14:12). We have everything to assure us that we cannot fail. The work is done before we begin it. The word entrusted to us is the Word of God, and we know that it liveth and abideth forever. Nothing can prevail against it.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. TEACHING FOR THOSE WHO WOULD FOLLOW THE LORD IN DOING GOOD.

1. Be considerate. Deal with each case according to its need.

2. Look up to heaven. It is the privilege of serving God to create correspondence with God. He who does good, enters into alliante with heaven.

3. Sigh. "Shall the heirs of sinful blood, seek joy unmixed in charity?" Doing good is lessening evils; contact with evils makes us serious — sad. Therefore many avoid it all they can — avert eyes from realities around them, attend only to what will please and amuse. Selfish creatures, children of world, who have not the Spirit of Christ. Those who have will, in this, share His experience. Sadness in sympathy: pain in disappointment.

II. ADMONITION TO ALL TO WHOM THE WORD OF GOD COMES. Their case was before Christ's mind. The deepest cause of His sigh and sorrow was that they were spiritually deaf, and therefore spiritually dead. "Hear, and your soul shall live."

(T. D. Bernard.)

I. Many cannot speak because they are deaf, so some souls are silent because they are dull of hearing.

II. Christ sighs over faculties misused or destroyed.

III. We need this miracle in our souls — the opening of the ear, and the loosening of the tongue.

IV. When one was healed many sought healing (Matthew 15:30), and found it, till the half-heathen people summed up their experience in a word which describes all Christ's action in miracles, providence, and grace — "He hath done all things well."

(R. Glover.)

Thus it is that God's greatest works are performed. Crowds may admire the full-blown rose, but in silence and secrecy its leaflets have been folded in the bud. The broad river bears navies on its bosom, but amid the mosses and ferns of the lonely mountain it takes its rise. In this instance, when the man and his Saviour were alone together, there was as much care bestowed on him as if there were none else in the world.

I. THE GREATNESS OF GOD'S UNIVERSE. How difficult to conceive that one individual can be of importance to its Ruler. tiara we see each soul standing in His sight aside from all the rest;

(1)Aside for responsibility;

(2)Aside for affection.

II. IN THE WORK OF SPIRITUAL HEALING, CHRIST DEALS IN THE SAME WAY STILL.

1. In childhood, by a mother's voice.

2. In after years, by books, sermons, friends, trials. The conscience is touched; we stand face to face with God.

III. THE HEALED IN BODY MIGHT GO BACK TO THE MULTITUDE. The healed in soul must stay aside. In the world, but not of it. His objects of life, tastes, aspirations, are different from those of the multitude. He must be much alone with Christ in prayer, communion, and study. Alone, but not lonely.

IV. THE FINAL TAXING ASIDE. Death. Aside from the earthly multitude, its toil, bustle, and sorrow: united with the great multitude whom no man can number.

(F. R. Wynne, M. A.)

Jesus speaks to him in signs.

(1)Takes him aside from the multitude — alone with Jesus;

(2)puts His fingers into his ears — these are to be opened;

(3)touches his tongue with His saliva — Christ's tongue is to heal his;

(4)looks up to heaven and sighs — God's help in man's sorrow;

(5)speaks the word "Ephphatha" — and the man speaks plain.

(T. M. Lindsay, D. D.)

Teaching us by this act —

1. To avoid vain glory in all our works of mercy to others.

2. That the penitent must separate himself from the crowd of worldly cares, tumultuous thoughts, and inordinate affections, if he would find rest for his soul in God.

3. That he must tear himself from the company of evil and frivolous companions, and from the bustle of incessant occupation.

4. That Christ alone can heal the soul. He took from the deaf and dumb man any trust that he might have had in those who stood by.

5. He leaves also this lesson to His ministers, that if they would heal the sinner by their reproof, they should do this when he is alone.

(W. Denton, M. A.)

1. The departure from the multitude, i.e., from evil companions, sinful desires, corrupt practices.

2. The favour which comes from Christ, who gives us both the sight of our sins, and the knowledge of God's will; and then strengthens us to obey His commands.

3. The confession of our sins which is given us when Christ touches our tongue with the wisdom which is from above, and gives us grace to acknowledge God by word and deed.

(W. Denton, M. A.)

The whole action would seem to have been symbolical, and accurately suited to the circumstances of the case. Translate the action into words, and what have we but sayings such as these? "I have taken thee aside from the multitude, that thou mightest observe and remember Who it is to Whom thou hast been brought. Thine organs are imperfect: here are members of thy body, which are useless to the ends for which they were given, and I am about to set on them with a power which shall supply all defects. Yet I would have thee know that this power is but a credential of My having come forth from God, and should produce in thee belief of My prophetical character. Behold, therefore: I lift My eyes unto heaven, whilst I utter the word which shall give thee hearing and speech."

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

I. WHY DID CHRIST SIGH? For us Christians, as well as for that poor Jew; because, when He looked up to heaven, He looked up to His home as God, and as God He had before His omniscience all the sins which, through ear and tongue, had brought, were bringing, and would bring, misery to man.

II. IS THERE NOT STILL A CAUSE WHY CHRISTIANS SHOULD SIGH WITH CHRIST?

1. For blasphemous words.

2. Unbelieving, sneering words, and flippant, irreverent words.

3. False words; the lies of society, of vanity, of business, of expediency, of ignorance.

4. Obscene, lascivious, wanton words.

5. Bitter, slanderous, and railing words.Of what does our conversation too often consist? First, there are self-evident platitudes about the weather (very often murmurings of discontent with that which comes so plainly and directly from God); then, the old Athenian craving either to tell or to hear some new thing, and that new thing, how commonly! an evil report about our neighbour. "Thou safest at thine ease," deliberately, in your home, at the table of your friend, in the railway carriage, in the newsroom, in the office, "thou satest and spakest against thy brother. Instead of every man shall give an account of himself," it might have been written, "every man shall give account of his neighbour unto God," so eager are we to detect and remember his infirmities, to ignore and forget our own. It never seems to strike us that, while we are so busy in spying and pointing out to others the thistles in our neighbours' fields, the tares are choking our own wheat. Our neighbours' idleness, lust, drunkenness, profanity, debt, — these are our theme; and we forget that there is such a thing as a judgment to come for our own misdeeds.

III. THE CURE OF THE DISEASE.

1. Not mere secular "education": that is only the pioneer, who saps and mines, not the artillery which destroys the citadel. If the fountain is poisonous, the filter may remove the dirt which discolours, but it will not make the water wholesome. No mental, no moral education, can directly act upon the soul. You may teach men to speak more correctly and politely, to think more cleverly, and to reason more closely; but this will not purify the heart. Lust and dishonesty are all the more dangerous, when they quote poetry, and converse agreeably.

2. Education is but a means to an end. It is the ambulance on which we may convey the wounded man to the surgeon — the couch on which we bring the sick man to Jesus. Regarded thus, education is a most useful handmaid to religion. Christ is the sole physician; to Him, and to none else, the sin-sick soul must come.

IV. FAITH IN HIM, STRENGTHENED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, LEADS US TO CONSECRATE OUR POWER OF SPEECH TO HIS GLORY AND THE GOOD OF HIS CREATURES.

V. THE FINAL ISSUE. The use we make of the tongue will decide our future (Matthew 12:37). It is said that one who had not long been converted to Christianity, once came to an aged teacher of the faith, and asked instruction. The old man opened his Psalter, and began to read the Psalm which first met his eye, the thirty-ninth; but when he had finished the first verse, "I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I offend not in my tongue," his hearer stopped him, saying, "That is enough; let me go home and try to learn that lesson." Some time after, finding that he came no more, the elder sent to enquire the reason, and the answer was, "I have not yet learned the lesson"; and even when many years had passed, and the pupil became a teacher as full of grace as years, he confessed that, though he had been studying it all his life, he had not mastered it yet.

(Canon S. R. Hole.)

What did that sigh mean?

1. Sympathy for the afflicted. The incarnation brings the heart of Jesus close to our own, and we know that He feels for our sorrows.

2. Grief at the effects of sin. Man, made in God's image, had become through sin the poor dumb creature on which Christ looked. The thought of Eden with its sinless inhabitants, and the sad contrast presented by the sight before Him, made Jesus sigh.

3. Apprehension for the future. What use would the man make of his restored faculties? Hitherto he had been unable to let any corrupt communication proceed out of his mouth, and his ears had been sealed to the cruel, false, impure words of the world. What evil he might now do with his tongue; what poisonous words might now enter into his ears.

(H. J. Wilmot Buxton, M. A.)

It is by prayer, and the secret sighs of the heart, that Christ applies His merits, and that the Church does it after His example. If the conversion of a sinner cost Jesus Christ so many desires, prayers, and sighs; is it unreasonable that it should likewise cost the sinner himself some? Is it not necessary that His servants, called and separated to this work, should be men of desires, prayers, and sighs? That which Christ does here is the pattern which a minister of the Church ought to follow, who, in the exercise of his ministry, ought to lift up his heart toward heaven, to groan and sigh in behalf of those under his hand, and to expect everything from Him who is the sovereign Master of all hearts.

(Quesnel.)

We may readily understand how, on the instant of working a miracle, a glance towards heaven might cause Christ to sigh. Wherefore had He descended from that bright abode if not to achieve its being opened to the lost race of man? And wherefore did He work miracles, if not to fix attention on Himself as the promised seed of the woman who, through obedience and death, was to reinstate our lineage in the paradise from which they had been exiled for sin? There was a sufficiency in the satisfaction which He was about to make, to remove the curse from every human being, and to place all the children of Adam in a more glorious position than their common parent had forfeited. But He knew too well that, in regard of multitudes, His endurances would be fruitless; fruitless, at least, in the sense of obtaining their salvation, though they cannot be in that of vindicating the attributes of God, and leaving the impenitent self-condemned at the judgment. Therefore, it may be, did Christ sigh; and that, too, immediately after looking up to heaven. I can read the sigh; it is full of most pathetic speech. "Yonder," the Redeemer seems to say, "is the home of My Father, of the cherubim and seraphim. I would fain conduct to that home the race which I have made one with Myself, by so assuming their nature as to join it with the Divine. I am about to work another miracle — to make, that is, another effort to induce the rebellious to take Me as their leader to yon glorious domain. But it will be fruitless; I foresee, but too certainly, that I shall still be despised and rejected of men." Then who can wonder that a sigh was interposed between the looking up to heaven and the uttering the healing word? The eye of the Redeemer saw further than our own. It pierced the vault which bounds our vision, and beheld the radiant thrones which His agony would purchase for the children of men. And that men — men whom He loved with a love of which that agony alone gives the measure — should refuse these thrones, and thereby not only put from them happiness, but incur wretchedness without limit or end — must not this have been always a crushing thing to the Saviour? and more especially when, by glancing at the glories which might have been theirs, He had heightened His thought of their madness and misery? I am sure that were we striving to prevail on some wretched being to enter an asylum where he would not only be sheltered from imminent danger, but surrounded with all the material of happiness, a look at that asylum, with its securities and comforts, would cause us to feel sorer than ever at heart, as we turned to make one more endeavour, likely to be useless as every preceding one, to overcome the obduracy which must end in destruction. Therefore ought we readily to understand why the Redeemer, bent only on raising to glory a race, of which He foresaw that myriads would voluntarily sink down to shame, gave token of a distressed and disquieted spirit, between looking towards heaven and working a miracle — as though the look had almost made Him reluctant for the work.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

The Ephphatha of Christ was not spoken in Decapolis alone. It is heard also in history. He sighed "Ephphatha," and the conflict of His Church was revealed to His evangelist. He sighed "Ephphatha," and the tongue of Galileo and Kepler told of. the wondrous order of the heavens. He sighed "Ephphatha," and buried monuments gave up their records of the past, and threw side lights on higher truths. He spoke "Ephphatha," and Caxton gave new powers to the world. Knowledge stepped forth from her dust-covered shrine, and carried her rich bounties into every city and house. History unlocked her long-hidden lore. Science painted in noble colours the half-veiled face of Nature. The tongue of Europe was loosed. But well might a sigh have been heaved as the Ephphatha was spoken. It is not truth alone, or holiness alone, which has been unlocked. It is not Chaucer's "well of English undefiled," the pure song of Spenser, the heart-rousing vision of Dante, the chivalrous epic of Tasso, the stately and magnanimous verse of Milton alone which have been given to the world. A fouler current mingles with the bright, pure stream, and darkens the flood of knowledge — the unredeemed filth of Boccaccio, the unbridled licentiousness of Scarron, the stupid sensuality of Dancourt, the open indecency of Wycherley, the more fatal suggestiveness of Sterne. The press became indeed the voice of nations; but when it was loosed a sigh drawn from the pure heart of Christ, wounded by the misuse of a glorious opportunity, might have been heard by the Church of God. Yet Christ did not withhold the boon. Freely, ungrudgingly, were His miracles of love performed. To deny powers or privileges, or the free exercise of rights and faculties, on the ground that they may be abused, is to act according to the dictates of expediency, not of right. But there is a remedy for the evils which accompany this freedom. It is by conferring an additional and guiding gift. There is another "Ephphatha." He speaks, "Be opened," and the tongue is loosed; but the ear is unstopped also. While He bestows the faculty of speech, He bestows also the opportunity of hearing those glad and soul-elevating principles of righteousness, and forgiveness, and love, which will fill the loosened tongue with joy, and put a new song of praise in that long-silent mouth.

(Bishop Boyd Carpenter.)

Christ first opened the man's ears, then untied his tongue; because we must hear well, before we can speak well.

(Pontanus.)

There are diseases of the soul as well as the body, and a man's spiritual nature often needs, in order to its perfection, as great and almost as miraculous a change as the gifts of speech and hearing to the dumb and deaf. What shall we say of those who have no ears to hear what our Father in heaven is always revealing to the hearts of those who love Him? There are sounds in nature which often arrest our attention in spite of ourselves; there are messages of grace which often touch the conscience in the midst of an ungodly course. Can the discontented churl walk abroad, on a fine morning in the early summer, and not find the joyous singing of the birds around him in some sort a condemnation and a solace of his unthankful spirit? Can the moments of solemn thought (though they be but moments) which are awakened by the heavy roll of thunder, pass away without our remembering how small and insignificant we ourselves are in the hands of Him who made all created nature? Is it possible that the old, old story of Jesus Christ, our Brother and our God, can be repeated without stirring up some desire to be with Him? Or is it possible for us, who have our organs of speech perfect, to use that speech for every worldly object of profit or interest, and yet to have no voice, because we have no heart, to join in earnest prayer, or utter our songs of praise? Is it possible, in short, for a professing Christian to harden his heart, and to be deaf to the spiritual invitations which he listens to in God's Word, in God's providence, and in God's whispers to his soul? Alas, we know such things are possible; but we know also that He who imparted the gift of speech and hearing to the afflicted one near the lake of Galilee is waiting, by His Spirit, to impart a greater gift to every one of us, however careless and unfaithful and earthly has been our life. The Lord our Master is ready to bestow the hearing ear and the speech of faith.

(Dean Bramston.)

In all our Saviour's sorrows — I do not enter now into the mysteries of Gethsemane and Calvary — but in all the sorrows of our Saviour's life among men, there are two features characteristic, beautiful, and instructive. Our Saviour's recorded sadnesses were all for others. They were either, as at Bethany, sympathy with others' griefs; or as when He wept over Jerusalem, or when He encountered the opposition of the Sadducees, for our sins; the selfish element was unknown. Again, His sorrow was never an idle sentiment. There is a great deal of useless, impassioned feeling in the world. Thousands are pained by the wickedness and misery they see around; they descant upon it; they can even weep when they speak of it — but it leads to no action. There is no effort; there is no self-sacrifice. It is almost poetry. It is but little more than the luxury of a tragedy. How different His! We never read of a sigh or tear of Jesus, but it immediately clothes itself into a benevolent word, or a benevolent work. I question whether, if we were in a right state, there would ever be a sorrow which did not throw itself into an action. Some receive affliction passively and meditatively. They go into seclusion. But others at once go forth the more. They see in their trial a call to energy. The sigh of Jesus, as He healed the deaf and dumb man in Decapolis, has been made to speak many languages, according to the varied habits of mind of those who have interpreted it. I will arrange them under four heads, and we may call them: — the Sigh of Earnestness; the Sigh of Beneficence; the Sigh of Brotherhood; and the Sigh of Holiness. Let us note each: lest, by omitting one, we should miss our lesson.

1. Because it says that "looking up to heaven, He sighed," some connect the two words, and account that the sigh is a part of the prayer — an expression of the intensity of the workings of our Lord's heart when He was supplicating to the Father. And if, brethren, if the Son of God sighed when He prayed, surely they have most of the spirit of adoption — such a sense of what communion with God is — who, in their very eagerness, exhaust themselves; till every tone and gesture speak of the struggle and ardour they feel within.

2. But it has been said again, that He who never gave us anything but what was bought by His own suffering — so that every pleasure is a spoil purchased by His blood — did now by the sigh, and under the feeling that He sighed, indicate that He purchased the privilege to restore to that poor man the senses he had lost.

3. But furthermore, as I conceive of this, that sigh was the Sigh of Fellowship — the Sigh of Brotherhood.

4. But fourthly. All this still lay on the surface. Do you suppose that our Saviour's mind could think of all the physical evil, and not go on to the deeper moral causes from which it sprang? But, after all, what is worth sighing for, but sin? And observe, He only sighed. He was not angry. He sighed. That is the way in which perfect holiness looked on the sins of the universe.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

Who among us has not sighed to look on his speechless child in its cradle, thinking what words those innocent lips might one day form? Who has not sighed when he first sent his boy to school, remembering what other lessons must enter into his ears besides those of the classroom? Jesus looked up to heaven as He performed the miracle of healing. Surely this was to teach the dumb man to look up also, and to learn that every gift comes from above.

(H. J. Wilmot Buxton, M. A.)

? —

1. This is not the only record of the sighs, and tears, and troubled heart of Jesus (Hebrews 5:7; Mark 8:12; John 11:33). Truly He was "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." So, to some extent, have all His saints and children been. You must not suppose that our blessed Saviour had no bright and joyous hours on earth. This joy of Jesus — deep joy, though noble and subdued — is not our subject today, but I touch on it for one moment only, lest any of you should take a false view of the life of man, or fatally imagine that in this world the children of the devil have a monopoly of happiness. Happiness? — they have none. Guilty happiness? there is no such thing! Guilty pleasure for a moment there is; — the sweetness of the cup whose draught is poison, the glitter of the serpent whose bite is death. Guilty mirth there is — the laughter of fools, which is as the crackling of thorns under a pot. But guilty happiness there never has been in any life, nor ever can there be. True happiness, happiness in the midst of even scorn and persecution, happiness even in the felon's prison and in the martyr's flame, is the high prerogative of God's saints alone — of God's saints, and therefore assuredly, even in His earthly life, of Him the King of Saints; since there is in misery but one intolerable sting, the sting of iniquity, and He had none.

2. But you will not have failed to notice that on two of the occasions on which we are told that Jesus sighed and wept, He was immediately about to dispel the cause of the misery. He was about to heal the deaf. Why then should He have sighed? He was about to raise the dead. Why then did the silent tears stream down His face? The doing of good is not a work of unmixed happiness, for good men can never do all the good that they desire. They have wide thoughts and much feeling for the rest of the world as well as for themselves; and this sort of happiness brings much pain.

3. My friends, there was in truth cause enough, and more than enough, why the Lord should sigh. In that poor afflicted man He saw but one more sign of that vast crack and flaw which sin causes in everything which God has made. When God had finished His work, He saw that it was very good; but since then tares have been sown amid His harvest; an alien element intruded into His world; a jangling discord clashed into His music. Earth is no longer Eden.

4. And alas, it is not only the unintelligent creation which groans and travails. We ourselves, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we ourselves also groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit the redemption of the body. We are apt to be very proud of ourselves and of our marvellous discoveries and scientific achievements; but, after all, what a feeble creature is man! what a little breed his race! what shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue! We fade as the grass, and are crushed before the moth. If we knew no more than Nature can tell us, and had no help but what Science can give to us, what sigh would be too deep for beings born to sorrow as the sparks fly upward?

(Canon F. W. Farrar, D. D.)

I. The NATURE of the miracle. One of the most wonderful ever wrought. It was both a physical and mental miracle, reaching the mind as well as the organs of the body. It not only conferred the wanting faculties of hearing and pronouncing words, but also supplied an acquaintance with the meaning and use of words. Long and laborious discipline of the tongue, and inward effects of memory, and association of ideas with particular inflections of sound, are still necessary to enable us to employ that language as a medium of communication. Here, however, was the impartation at once of both hearing, and understanding of what was heard. It has been compared to the work of creation; it had in it all the elements of creativeness, beneficence, and Divine power, from which we may see the majesty of our Saviour.

II. THE ATTENDANT CIRCUMSTANCES of this miracle.

III. THE SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE of this miracle. There are disabilities upon every soul by nature akin to the deficiences of him whose ears were deaf, and whose tongue was tied. The Great Healer is now among us He can help anywhere, on the highway. This Ephphatha is prophetic. It tells of the ultimate consummation of Christ's mediatorial work.

(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)

Notice, too, that those who are spiritually deaf have also an impediment in their speech. This is shown in many different ways. When I find persons who will not speak out boldly for the honour of Jesus Christ, who will not confess Him before the world, I know they have an impediment in their speech. When I find persons in church silent throughout the service, making no responses, singing no psalm, or chant, or hymn, I know they have an impediment in their speech: they will not put their tongue to its right use, which is to praise God with the best member that we have. If I find a man saying what is false, hesitating to give a plain, straightforward answer, I know that he has an impediment in his speech, his stammering tongue cannot utter the truth. If I hear a man wild with passion, using bad language, I know that he has an impediment, he cannot shape good words with his tongue. And so with those who tell impure stories, or retail cruel gossip about their neighbour's character, they are all alike afflicted people, deaf to the voice of God, and with an impediment in their speech. And now let us look at the means of cure.

(H. J. Wilmot Buxton, M. A.)

They brought the afflicted man to Jesus. That is the first step. If we would find pardon and healing, we must be brought to Jesus. The Holy Spirit leads the sinner back in many different ways. It was the reading of one text of Scripture which turned from his evil life. It was the single word "Eternity" printed in the tract which a man had torn scoffingly in two, and which lay in a scrap of paper on his arm, that led him to repent. Sometimes it is a word in a sermon, or a verse in a hymn; sometimes it is the question of a little child, or the sight of a dead face in a coffin; but whatever it is which brings us back to Jesus, that must be the first step to finding pardon and healing.

(H. J. Wilmot Buxton, M. A.)

I. THAT SIGH, THEN, WAS A PRAYER. Probably Jesus, when on earth, never did any great work without prayer. And how much of the real force of prayer was concentrated in this one sigh? Let us not measure the power of prayer by the time it occupies, or by the noise it makes.

II. But while the sigh was a prayer, THE PRAYER WAS A SIGH. But what does the sigh suggest to us?

1. Not that He felt Himself incompetent to perform the task sought at His hands.

2. Not that He felt any reluctance to bestow the requested boon. Jesus was no miser in mercy.

3. Not that He felt that the performance of this miracle would be in any respect inconsistent with the principles and purposes of His mission to our world.

I. IT REVEALS TO US THE REALITY AND INTENSITY OF THE SAVIOUR'S LOVE TO INDIVIDUAL SUFFERERS.

II. IT SHOWS THE KEENNESS WITH WHICH THE SAVIOUR FELT THE EVIL OF SIN.

III. MAY NOT THAT SIGH SUGGEST THAT THE SAVIOUR FELT THAT THE BOON HE WAS ABOUT TO BESTOW WAS A COMPARATIVELY TRIVIAL ONE? He is only one of millions of men, all of whom are victims of some misery, and all of whose miseries spring from the one cause — sin. What have I done towards the accomplishment of My work when I have cured this man?

IV. THAT SIGH REMINDS US OF THE ESSENTIAL CENTRAL PRINCIPLE OF THE PHILOSOPHY OF SALVATION. Christ never relieves a man of any curse the misery of which He does not appropriate to Himself. In all our afflictions He is afflicted. This sigh was the price He paid for an opened ear and a loosened tongue. What spiritual blessing have you and I which He has not paid for in the sorrow of His own experience?

V. THAT SIGH MAY WELL SUGGEST TO US THE HOLY SADNESS OF DOING GOOD.

(J. P. Barnett.)

"He sighed" when about to unstop deaf ears. Sighed when on the verge of opening the door by which the music of nature and the welcome sounds of the human voice would enter the hitherto silent regions within. Sighed when He was prepared to give power to the mute organ of speech. Why, we should rather have expected that He would have smiled, and, "looking up to heaven," rejoiced. We do not sigh when engaged in a mission of mercy. Far from it. When we take loaves to the famishing, or money to the wretched bankrupt, we feel a throb of sacred delight. As we mark the pallid invalid get stronger and better, or as we visit asylums for the deaf and dumb in order to witness the compensations offered by us for the defects of nature, we are filled with grateful happiness. Why did the Master sigh?

I. THE ANSWER BRINGS BEFORE US THE MOST IMPRESSIVE AND TRAGIC FEATURE IN THE SAVIOUR'S EXPERIENCE. His whole life was a sigh. So utterly was this the case that we find Him mournful even when about to perform a miracle of great mercy! Just as there are dark spots on the bright sun, so even when suffused with celestial glory on the Mount of Transfiguration the awful cross made its appearance, for "they spake of His decease." Hardly had the cheerful hosannahs of the multitude died away when He "beheld the city and wept over it." To quote from Jeremy Taylor, "This Jesus was like a rainbow; half made of the glories of light, and half of the moisture of a cloud." We speak often of Christ's sacrifice in a one-sided style. Too often we mean by His sufferings the death He endured. We think of Calvary. The accursed tree rises before our imaginations. All these were dreadful indeed, albeit they were not the sum but the consummation of His trials. They were the closing pages of a volume filled with like details. He looked "up to heaven," and what saw He there? Crowns prepared for men who would not seek them; thrones made ready for such as cared not to occupy them.

II. WHAT OUGHT WE TO LEARN FROM THE SAVIOUR'S SIGH?

1. A lesson of consolation. Intense trouble seeks solitude. In great affliction men often wish to be alone. Even in inferior creatures something of this kind appears. The wounded deer retreats from the herd into the dark recesses of the forest. The whale, smitten by the harpoon, dives into the lowest depths of the sea. Human beings frequently prefer isolation when in trial. Peter "went out," when he saw the truth of his Master's prediction, and "wept bitterly." Of Mary, bereaved so heavily, the friends near her said, "She went forth unto the grave to weep there." Was there anything akin to this in our Lord? There was. Even in minor matters of such an order He was made "in all points like unto His brethren." Where did He sigh? In company? In a crowd? No. We are distinctly informed He "took him aside from the multitude." No one heard Him sigh, not even the afflicted man, for he was unable to do so. The sigh was between the Son and the Father. "Looking to heaven," not to earth, "He sighed." Let us be comforted in sorrow. These incidents clearly show how qualified the Great High Priest is to sympathize with His disciples. He was once as we are.

2. Is there not a lesson of stimulus? Jesus did more than sigh. He said, "Ephphatha," and thus restored sound and speech to the sufferer before Him. We must act as well as feel. Sighing will never reform the world, regenerate humanity. We must work. Our effort should be to bring men to Him who can still heal and restore.

3. There is also a lesson of caution. Possibly there were special reasons for sorrow on the part of Christ in reference to the man whom He healed. Perhaps the Redeemer foresaw that the bodily restoration would not lead to spiritual restoration, etc. Do we never sin with the ear? with the tongue? Alas, none is innocent herein. The golden rule has not yet brought our words into subjection to it. "Keep the door of my lips." The grand thing is to have our hearts right, then all will be well.

(T. R. Stevenson.)

I. The general STUDY OF THE STORY would furnish several very excellent and edifying lessons suggested by our Lord's action in working this miracle upon the shore of Decapolis.

1. We might note, earliest, the wide reach of the Master's zeal: "And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, He came unto the Sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis." Jesus had just come from Tyre and Sidon, clear across in a heathen land; He was now in the midst of some Greek settlements on the eastern shore of the Sea of Tiberias. We see how He appears thus going upon a foreign mission.

2. Then, next, we might dwell upon the need of friendly offices in apparently hopeless cases. "And they bring unto Him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech Him to put His hand upon him."

3. We might also mention, just here, the manipulations of our Saviour as illustrating the ingenuity of real sympathy. "And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers into his ears, and He spit, and touched his tongue."

4. Even better still is our next lesson: we observe our Lord's respect for everyone's private reserves of experience. "And He took him aside from the multitude privately." We shall surely do better always, when we bring souls to the Saviour, if we respect the delicacy of their organization, and take them aside.

5. Now we notice the naturalness of all great services of good. "And looking up to heaven, He sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened." At the supremely majestic moments of His life our Lord became simpler in utterance and behaviour than at any other time. He fell back on the sweet and pathetic speech of His mother tongue.

6. Again: we learn here the risks of every high and new attainment. "And his ears were opened, and the bond of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. And He charged them that they should tell no man: but the more He charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it. And they were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well; He maketh even the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak." What will the restored man do with his gifts?

II. The singular PECULIARITY OF THIS STORY, however, is what might be made the subject of more extended remark in a homiletic treatment. Three things meet us in their turn.

1. A question stands at the beginning: Why did our Lord sigh when He was looking up to heaven?

2. We are left in this case to conjecture. And, in a general way, perhaps it would be enough to say that there was something like an ejaculatory prayer in this sigh of Jesus' soul; but more likely there was in it the outbreaking of sad and weary sympathy with the suffering of a fallen race like ours. It may be He sighed because there was so much trouble in the world everywhere. It may be He sighed because there were many who made such poor work in dealing with their trouble. It may be He sighed because He could not altogether alleviate the trouble He found. Some worries were quite beyond the reach of His power. He did not come to change the course of human affairs. Men are free agents; Jesus could not keep drunkards from killing themselves with strong drink if they would do it. It was not His errand on earth to crush in order to constrain. It may be He sighed because the trouble He met always had its origin and its aggravation in sin. This was the one thing which His adorable Father hated, and against which He was a "consuming fire." It may be He sighed because so few persons were willing to forsake the sins which made the trouble. It may be He sighed because the spectacle of a ruined and rebellious world saddened Him. When the old preacher came back from captivity and found Jerusalem in fragments; when Marius returned and sat down among the broken stones of Carthage, we are not surprised to be told that they wept, though both were brave men. But these give but feeble illustration of the passionate mourning of soul which must have swept over the mind and heart of Jesus. Who knew what this earth had been when it came forth pure from the creating hand of His Father. No wonder He walked heavily depressed and mournful all through His career.

3. It is time to end conjecture, and come at once now to the admonition we find here in the story. Christians need more "sighs." Christians must follow sighs with more "looking up to heaven." Christians may cheer themselves with the prospect of a new life in which sighing shall be neither needed nor known. The Saviour shall then have seen of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

He sighed, and said, Be opened. The sigh therefore arose from no feeling of helplessness to remove the malady. The cure followed, as ever, that word of power. And yet He sighed as He said, Be opened.

1. He sighed, we cannot doubt, at the thought of that destructive agency of which He had before Him one example. Here was one whom Satan had bound. Here was an illustration of that reign of sin unto death to which the whole world bears witness. This deaf and dumb man reminded Christ of the corruption that had passed over God's pure creation: and therefore, looking up to heaven, He sighed. And it will be no light gain, my brethren, if this thought should teach you to see with your Saviour's eye even those bodily infirmities which you perhaps are tempted to regard almost with ridicule, but which are making life a burden and a weariness to so many of our fellow creatures. Remember whence these things come; from the power of him who has entered into God's creation to torture and to ruin God's handiwork.

2. But there was more than this, as we all feel at once, in that sigh. That outward bondage was but the token of an inward thraldom. Whether healed or not in this life, no bodily infirmity can have more than a temporary duration. Death must end it. But not so that spiritual corruption of which the other was but a sign. That inward ear which is stopped against God's summons; that voice of the heart, which refuses to utter His praise; these things are of eternal consequence. And while bodily infirmities and disorders are occasional and partial in their occurrence, spiritual disease is universal. It overspreads every heart. And, as a mere matter of doctrine, I suppose we all assent to this. Without God's grace, we all admit, we can know nothing and do nothing. But oh, how different our view of all this and Christ's! First of all, we shut out from our anxiety every case but our own. No one by nature feels the value of his brother's soul: it is well if he bestows a thought upon his own. But how differently did Christ view these things, when He sighed as He opened the deaf man's ears! Christ sees sin as it is; sees it in its nature, as a defiance of God; sees it in its effects, as leaving behind it in each heart that it enters defilement, and weakness, and hardness, and misery; sees it in its consequences, as bringing forth fruit unto death — a death not of annihilation, not of blank unconsciousness, but a death of unspeakable and interminable wretchedness.

3. He sighed therefore, we may say further, from a sense of the disproportion in actual extent between the ruin and the redemption. The ruin universal. All the world guilty before God. And yet the great multitude refusing to be redeemed.

(C. J. Vaughan, D. D.)

I. Consider first THE MAN'S INTRODUCTION TO JESUS. Now, in contemplating a fellow creature in such sad case, the thought may well occur how little are we affected by our common mercies! How little think we of such blessings as preserved senses, unshattered reason, the links unbroken which connect us with the outer world, and all the faculties unimpaired which fit us for the activities of life. And, though of all such privations, the gift of sight is perhaps the one we should least like to have taken away, yet blindness even may be less to be deplored than loss of hearing and speech. For this calamity, unalleviated, and existing from birth, shuts up the soul of the sufferer in a perpetual prison house. He has no outlet for communion with his kind; he has no medium for the interchange of sentiment or emotion, until wearied with treading forever the same cycle of never-extending and never-wearied thought, he sinks into a condition of utter mindlessness — God's image on a dark cloud, a sad wreck of humbled and defaced humanity. It has been among the glorious achievements of a scientific philanthropy in our own day to have discovered means for abating somewhat the deep misery of this infliction; but any such alleviation was unknown then. So they bring him to Jesus. Brethren, is there not some light thrown by this fact on the purl which our friends are permitted to perform for us in reference to the more helpless and hopeless forms of spiritual malady? What does thin prove but that there are no men whose case is so bad and hopeless as that we must not try to convert them, but rather in exact proportion to the hopelessness of a man's moral condition, is the obligation to do all we can for him. We are to pray for none so earnestly as for those who through the inveteracy of their soul's malady cannot pray for themselves.

II. But I pass to our second portion, to observe SOME PECULIARITIES CONNECTED WITH THE METHOD OF THIS AFFLICTED MAN'S CURE. "And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers into his ears, and He spit, and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, He sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened." Why were the methods used by our Lord in working his miracles so diverse one from another? The only account to be given of these variations is, that they had reference either to something in the moral circumstances of the sufferer, or to some effect to be produced in the mind of the bystanders, or it might he, to some lesson of practical instruction which through these typical healings might be conveyed to believers to the end of time. Especially are we to suppose that in each case of the wrought miracle there was in the method chosen some express adaptation to the circumstances of the person benefitted — the state of his affections towards God, and his susceptibility to become a subject of the spiritual kingdom. For to this end we are sure our Divine Lord worked always. Indeed, the benefit had been no benefit otherwise. To what purpose had been the recovery of sight to a man only to look on the face of this outer world, while his soul was left to grope its way through mists of an everlasting blindness? The instances seem to suggest that there are some persons, who, in order to their learning holy lessons must be withdrawn from the world for a season. They cannot have their ears effectually opened in a crowd — not even in a crowded church. They must be forced into retirement. Anything Jesus might say to them while the bustle and stir of life was upon them, whilst its feverish excitements were drawing them hither and thither, would make no impression. On coming to some retired place, however, our Lord proceeds to the miracle, but still, observe, by a gradual process. He puts His fingers into the man's ears, then spits, and with the moistened finger touches his tongue. As to the reasons for the choice of these means, in preference to any other, it does not seem necessary to go further than the circumstances of the man himself. Questions he could not answer; verbal directions he could not understand; it was only by visible and sensible applications to the organs affected, that he could be made to perceive what was going on, or could connect Jesus with the authorship of his cure. All that we gather is, that the case was one in which it would not be well that the blessing to be bestowed should be instantaneous — that it was needful that time should be given for consideration of what all those processes were to lead to — that faith should be exercised, disciplined, taught to look up, expecting to receive something, and that the soul before coming into that which would be to it as a new world, should know who that Being was to whom it must dedicate all its restored faculties and powers. And it is certain, brethren, that the Great Healer has recourse to like protracted methods now. The ears of the deaf must be unstopped before the tongue of the dumb can sing. The heart must believe unto righteousness, before with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. But, then, how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard, and how shall they hear who are born deaf? Deaf to the calls of mercy; deaf to the alarms of danger; deaf to the warning of con. science; deaf to the voice of the Son of God. Must there not, I say, be an opening of the ears first? Must not the finger of Jesus be put into them, making a passage through, so that His word may reach the heart. Brethren, let us all pray for unstopped ears. It is for our life the prophet tells us — "Hear, and your souls shall live." Oh, how far is he on the way heavenward who has an ear ever open to the whisperings of the Divine Spirit! "And looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened." He looked up to heaven: so at the grave of Lazarus He lifted up His eyes. On the deep mystery of our Lord's prayers. They were as much prayers as yours or mine are prayers — and in connection with His miracles were petitions, not for Himself, that He might be able to work them, but for the people that they might be able to receive them, that the benefit might not be lost to them through the want of those moral dispositions, faith and love, without which He could not, according to the stipulations of the everlasting covenant, have performed any wonderful work. The same view gives a reality to His continued intercession for us at the throne of God. Christ does not pray for any. thing relating to His own work — for His blood that it may cleanse, for His righteousness that it may justify, for His pardons and acquittals, that they may be endorsed and owned of God — these are among heaven's immutable things. What he does pray for is the removal of those hindrances in our hearts which prevent the free flowing of His mercy towards us, for the triumphs of His grace over all our unbelief and worldliness, far the unclosed ear that the voice of the charmer may pierce through, for the loosened tongue that it may magnify the grace of God. "And He sighed." Again our thoughts revert to Bethany, where, just before working the miracle it is said, He "groaned in spirit and was troubled." We may see many reasons for the distress of soul on the part of the Holy Saviour. He sighed over the spectacle before Him as evidence of the suffering and sorrow of our race; He sighed over it as a mournful defacement and distortion of God's moral image; bat He sighed most of all over the stubborn unbelief, that miserable infidelity of tee heart, the one solitary obstacle in the whole universe of God, to the instantaneous wiping of all tears from off all faces, and the saving of every soul of man. Yes, brethren, this last it was that wrung these bitter sorrows from the Saviour's heart. He could bear the scourge, disregard the mockery, endure the cross, despise the shame; that which next to the hidden face of God, rent His soul most was, to be obliged to say continually, "Ye will not come unto Me, that ye might have life." "Ephphatha, Be opened." Here the Almighty power of God speaks. The taking him aside, the touching of the ear, the spitting and moistening of the tongue, the eye raised heavenwards, and the deep sigh, were all the human preparations; the man's heart was getting ready, the grace of Jesus making way for the demonstration of His power, the Spirit of God was moving upon the face of a dark soul before the irresistible word should go forth, "Let there be light;" and as irresistible was the word of Jesus to this poor sufferer, for it was the same word; so that it was no sooner uttered than straightway the man's ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. Our profit in the incidents we have been considering will be found in seeing how entirely our soul's health and life are in the hands of Christ.

(D. Moore, M. A.)

It is a great thing to be alone with nature; to be alone with a man of a noble heart; a greater thing by far to be alone with Jesus, "Aside from the multitude."

I. THAT HE MIGHT QUICKEN HIS SENSE OF INDIVIDUALITY. God has made us persons; we lose ourselves in the crowd; trials depress, we lose hope and become more like things. But Jesus awakens us.

II. THAT HE MIGHT AWAKEN HIM TO A TRUER CONSCIOUSNESS OF HIS SPIRITUAL NEEDS. "Touched him." Where? Ears and tongue. There was the evil, there the cure. Some are touched through their fears, others through their hopes.

III. THAT HE MIGHT CONCENTRATE ALL HIS HOPES ON CHRIST.

IV. THAT HE MIGHT BIND HIM FOREVER TO HIMSELF.

(W. Forsyth, M. A.)

I. THE UPWARD LOOK.

1. Devout faith in heaven.

2. Conscious harmony with heaven.

3. Undoubting confidence in heaven.

II. THE SIGH.

1. Holy grief.

2. Brotherly sympathy.

3. Anxious solicitude.

III. THE WORD.

1. A word of love.

2. A word of power.

3. A word of prophetic meaning.An earnest of greater victories. Some sigh, but nothing more. Idle sentiment. Others sigh, but do not look up. No faith in God.

(W. Forsyth, M. A.)

It is impossible fully to enter into the profound depths of the "sigh" which Jesus uttered on this occasion. We may learn from it, at least, two things: — It teaches us that words are not absolutely indispensable to the offering of prayer. This sigh doubtless contained a prayer, for in all things the Redeemer acknowledged the Father, saying: "I can of Mine own self do nothing." The sigh of Jesus, like some of the mightiest forces of nature that are silent, was charged with the power of God. Some of the sincerest, deepest, and most agonizing supplications that have ascended to the ear of God, have gone up with no more audible sound than that of a "sigh."

(G. Hunt Jackson.)

How exquisitely delicate is the touch of those highly-gifted musicians who can sweep the keys or chords of their instrument and make it speak as with living voice, now melting the audience to tears, now stirring their souls with lofty thoughts or martial enthusiasm! With equally magic power does the master painter evoke life from the canvas, and impart to his creations those inimitable touches of form and colour that delight the eye and captivate the imagination. The tender manipulation of a wise and skilful surgeon or experienced nurse has almost a healing influence, as it soothes the overstrung nerves and infuses confidence into the sufferer. A friend's gentle pressure of the hand and touch of sympathy will often calm sorrowful hearts more than the most kindly and fitly chosen words of condolence. If it he thus with merely human beings, we might reasonably expect to find far more wonderful effects connected with the touch of Him, in Whom, while a partaker of flesh and blood, dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Such we know from the Gospels to have been actually the case: His touch does hold an important place in our Lord's miracles, as well as in His ordinary ministry. He touched, and was touched, and through this medium there went forth blessings of various kinds. His touch was healing, creative, life-giving, enlightening, comforting. The fact that it was so during His life on earth will suggest the inquiry how far it may be so still.

(The Quiver.)

I. IN VIEW OF THE GREAT MISERY IN WHICH MAN FINDS HIMSELF WITHOUT CHRIST (verse 32). Miserable condition of the dumb and deaf man.

II. IN VIEW OF THE GREAT BLESSEDNESS INTO WHICH HE ENTERS THROUGH THE LORD. Especially since we thereby enter upon the greatest happiness of earth (verse 33). The treatment of this deaf man is apt illustration of how Jesus treats those who are led to Him by friend or acquaintance.

(Dr. Arndt.)

During the exhibition of 1867 in Paris, a minister met with an instance of direct labour for souls which he states he can never forget. In conversation with an engineer employed on one of the pleasure boats which ply on the Seine, the discovery was made that the man was a Christian, and on the inquiry being put, by what means he was converted, he replied: "My mate is a Christian, and continually he told me of the great love of Jesus Christ, and His readiness to save, and he never rested until I was a changed man. For it is a rule in our church that when a brother is converted, he must go and bring another brother; and when a sister is converted, she must go and bring another sister; and so more than a hundred of us have been recovered from Popery to the simplicity which is in Christ Jesus." This is the way in which the gospel is to spread through the whole world.

(Anon.)

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