The people were utterly astonished and said, "He has done all things well! He makes even the deaf to hear and the mute to speak!"
Creator, whose variety in nature is infinite. No two leaves in the forest are alike - no two faces in a flock of sheep; and even the same sea changes in its aspect from hour to hour. This variety is greater as we go higher in the scale of creation, and is most conspicuous in man, whether considered individually or collectively. And Christ Jesus was the Image of the invisible God, who is omniscient. He knew the avenue to every heart, and how best to win affection or arouse praise. If there was one string in the harp which could be made tuneful, he could touch it. Hence the variety in his method of dealing with those who came to him. One was called upon for public avowal, and another was charged to tell no man; one was cured by a word, another by a touch; the servant of the centurion was healed at a distance, but of the lunatic boy Jesus said, "Bring him hither unto me." Bartimaeus was suddenly restored, but this man was gradually given his speech and hearing. This change in merle was not from outward hindrance to the Lord's power, nor because that power was intermittent, but because he put restraint on himself for the sake of the sufferer or of the observers. Mark appears to have taken special interest in cases of gradual restoration. It is not because he would minimize the miraculous element, as some suggest, but possibly because, seeing in all miracles types of what was spiritual, he saw his own experience more clearly in these. He had been brought up under holy influences. As a lad he had heard the Word in the house of his mother Mary, and had been gradually enlightened, like the blind man at Bethsaida; or like this man, without abrupt suddenness, had his ears opened and his tongue loosed to glorify the God of Israel. The method of this sufferer's cure is given in detail, and deserves consideration.
I. JESUS LED HIM APART FROM OTHERS, dealing with him as with the blind man, whom he also took by the hand and led out of the town. This, we think, was not "to avoid ostentation," nor to prevent distraction in his own prayer, but for the man's good. Christ would be with him alone, and so concentrate attention on himself. He took him into solitude that he might receive deeper spiritual impressions, and that the first voice he heard might be the voice of his Lord. It is always good for men to be alone with God, as was Moses in Midian, David watching his flock at Bethlehem, Elijah in the cave at Horeb, and others. Our quietest times are often spiritually our most growing times - illness, bereavement, etc.
II. JESUS BROUGHT HIM INTO VITAL CONTACT WITH HIMSELF. "He but his fingers," etc. We must remember that the man could not speak nor hear, but he could feel and see, and therefore what was done met the necessities of his affliction. With his finger Jesus touched his ear, as if to say, "I am going to cure that;" then, with finger moistened with saliva, he touched his tongue, to show that it was a going out of himself which would restore him. The man was brought into vital contact with Christ, as the child was brought close to the prophet who stretched himself upon him. Our Lord seeks that personal contact of our spirit with his, because the first necessity of redemption is to stir faith in himself. The man yielded to all the Saviour did - watched his signs and expected his word of power; and it is for that expectant faith he so often waits.
III. JESUS RAISED HIS THOUGHTS TO HEAVEN. He looked up to heaven. Watching that loving face, the sufferer saw the Lord look up with ineffable earnestness, love, and trust; and the effect of this would be that he would say to himself, "Then I also should pray, 'O God of my fathers, hear me!'" We are called upon, in the light of Christ's example, to look above the means we use for discipline or instruction, and away from ourselves and outward influences to the heavenly Father, who is neither fitful nor indifferent to our deepest needs.
IV. JESUS MADE HIM CONSCIOUS OF PERSONAL SYMPATHY. "He sighed." It was not a groan in prayer, but a sigh of pity, that escaped him when he gazed on this sufferer, and realized, as we cannot do, the devastation and death wrought by sin, of which this was a sign. Even with us it is the one concrete case of suffering which makes all suffering vivid. With that feeling we must undertake Christian work. Sometimes we are busy, but cur hands are cold and hard; and when our heads are keen to devise, our hearts too often are slow to feel. But when we, followers of Christ, lock on those deaf and indifferent to God, who never repent or pray, and who are sinking into irreligion and pollution, we should yearn over them and pray for them with sighs and tears. If our hearts are heavy with pity, God will make our hands heavy with blessings. After the sighing and prayer came the word of power, "Ephphatha!" - " Be opened!" and the sealed ear opened to his voice and the stammering tongue proclaimed his praise. See Keble's lines -
"As thou hast touched our ears, and taught CONCLUSION. Henceforth this man would be a living witness to Christ's power. Though it was expressly forbidden to blaze abroad his cure, all who saw him at home or at work would say, "That is the man whom Jesus healed." So let us go forth to live for Jesus, resolving that our words shall utter his praise and that our lives shall witness to his holiness, till at last another "Ephphatha!" shall be heard, and we pass through the golden gates, into the land where no ears are deaf and no tongues are mute. - A.R.
CONCLUSION. Henceforth this man would be a living witness to Christ's power. Though it was expressly forbidden to blaze abroad his cure, all who saw him at home or at work would say, "That is the man whom Jesus healed." So let us go forth to live for Jesus, resolving that our words shall utter his praise and that our lives shall witness to his holiness, till at last another "Ephphatha!" shall be heard, and we pass through the golden gates, into the land where no ears are deaf and no tongues are mute. - A.R.
He hath done all things well.I. THE EXCELLENCY OF CHRIST'S OPERATIONS. "He hath done all things well;" as is apparent —
1. In the magnificence of His operations. Instance the sublime works of His creative energy; His infallible administration in the kingdom of providence; His stupendous miracles; His mediatorial achievements (Psalm 86:8-10; Psalm 103:19; Colossians 1:16, 17; Colossians 2:15; Matthew 11:4).
2. In the completeness of His operations (Deuteronomy 32:4).
II. THE DEVOUT SENTIMENTS WITH WHICH THEY SHOULD BE CONTEMPLATED.
1. Devout admiration (Psalm 77:13-16).
2. Adoring gratitude (Psalm 148:13).
3. Zealous attachment (Jeremiah 50:1-5). Has Christ done all things well?Then —
1. How flagrant the impiety of mankind!
2. How justly is Christ entitled to the worship of the whole universe!
3. Let Him be the subject of our song, and the object of our supreme regard.
(J. Burns, LL. D.)
I. It has a grand significancy in the creative works of Christ.
II. In His Divine government of this and all worlds.
III. Its climactaral glory belongs to redemption. He undertook the world's redemption, and effected it, by —
1. Obedience to the law.
2. Suffering the penalty for sin.
3. Conquering the powers of darkness.
4. Bringing life and immortality to light.
5. Obtaining the Holy Spirit.
IV. In the salvation He obtained and bestows. An entire salvation of the whole man — a free salvation of sovereign grace — a salvation for the whole race — and a salvation to eternal glory. "He does all things well."
V. In the experience of His people. He sought and found them — He forgave and healed them — He renews and sanctifies them — He keeps and upholds them, and He glorifies them forever.
(J. Burns, LL. D.)I. IN CREATION.
1. Order and regularity.
4. Happiness of creatures designed.
II. IN REDEMPTION.
1. In design — vicarious suffering.
2. Development — Incarnation.
3. Application to individuals.
4. To Resurrection.
III. IN PROVIDENCE.
2. Persecution, which only wafts the seed of truth to distant lands.Conclusion:
1. Submit to Him.
2. Work with Him.
(E. Hargreaves.)paras, and other badges of superstition, and became, as was believed, a partaker of the grace of God. Many a nominal, and even professing Christian, who is as dumb on religious subjects as if under a "vow of silence," would find a tongue to speak, if religion were really to touch and warm his heart.
(Anon.)I. Christ's actions were good in themselves. In His general conduct, as a man, He did all things well.
II. Christ's actions were performed with good designs.
III. Christ's actions were performed in an amiable and graceful manner. Learn —
1. How unjust was the treatment our Lord met with in the world.
2. How worthy is Christ of our admiration, reverence, and love.
3. How fit is it that we imitate this excellent and lovely pattern.
4. Let it be our concern to do all things well.
(J. Orten.)All things well: —
I. THE FACT. Creation announces it. Providence announces it. Redemption announces it.
II. THE TESTIMONY. Saints testify to it. Admirers astonished at it. Critics confess it.
III. THE CONSEQUENCE. Those who oppose Christ are sure to perish, for the right must prevail. They will stand self-condemned. The universe will say "Amen" to their condemnation, for they have conspired against it. (L. Palmer.).
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