Sunday, March 7, 2010
Sighing as He Sighs
32There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged him to place his hand on the man.
33After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man's ears. Then he spit and touched the man's tongue. 34He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, "Ephphatha!" (which means, "Be opened!" ). 35At this, the man's ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.
Hear what is said by Alexander Maclaren about this beautiful illustration of Christ's compassion, courtesy and power:
The root of all our efficiency in this great task to which we, unworthy, have been called, is in fellowship with Jesus Christ. "The branch cannot bear fruit of itself; without me ye can do nothing." Living near Him, and growing like Him by gazing upon Him, His beauty will pass into our faces, His tender pity into our hearts, His loving identification of Himself with men's pains and sins will fashion our lives; and the word which He spoke with authority and assured confidence will be strong when we speak it with like calm certainty of victory. If the Church of Christ will but draw close to her Lord till the fulness of His life and the gentleness of His pity flow into her heart and limbs, she will then be able to breathe the life which she has received into the prostrate bulk of the dead world. Only she must do as the meekest of the prophets did in a like miracle. She must not shrink from the touch of the cold clay nor the odor of incipient corruption, but lip to lip and heart to heart must lay herself upon the dead and he will live.
The pattern for our work, dear brethren, is before us in the Lord's look, His sigh, His touch, His word. If we take Him for the example, and Him for the motive, Him for the strength, Him for the theme, Him for the reward of our service, we may venture to look to Him as the prophecy of our success, and to be sure that when our own faint hearts or an unbelieving world question the wisdom of our enterprise or the worth of our efforts, we may answer as He did, "Go and show again those things which ye do hear and see; the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached unto them."
Note: Believers, can we enter into this compassion and boldness any other way than to be steeped in Jesus. Take long draughts from the Gospel. Set aside ethics and philosophy. Know for a certainty that closeness to Christ alone can impart eyes that see, ears that hear and a heart that weeps and understands. Christ alone can be entrusted with this sensitive mandate, and we His yoke-fellows. No room for pride in this.