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Experiencing the Gospel of Mark

At the end of part eleven, Jesus had traveled into Gentile territory. As his journey continues, he repeats for the Gentiles some of the more extraordinary healings experienced by the Jews. The theme of big signs and bigger misunderstandings continues, too.

Part twelve

The mighty works: Healing deafness and blindness

Mark 7:31-8:25

From the June 1998 issue of The Christian Science Journal

7:31-37 Still in Gentile territory, Jesus departed from . . . Tyre and Sidon, going from city to city along the coasts of the Decapolis. One day they brought unto him one that was deaf, having an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to put his hand upon him. Although their identity is unspecified, we have every reason to believe that "they" and the man are all Gentiles.

Taking the man aside from the multitude, Jesus put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Looking up to heaven, he sighed, saying, Ephphatha ... Be opened. Rather novel actions from one who has been healing in plain view and with only a word or pronouncement! Perhaps it was because the man was deaf and Jesus had to communicate with him, get his full attention, let him know what was about to happen. Straightway his ears were opened, ... his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. Contravening Jesus' charge to them that they should tell no man, the people talked about it a great deal. They were amazed beyond measure, saying, He hath done all things well, making both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

Symbolically speaking, this physical healing of ears that don't hear and a mouth that can't speak is very heartening after the Pharisaical controversy ... and the disciples' continuing "deafness" and lack of comprehension, which were discussed in part eleven. Hearing is possible.

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