Jesus is a gentleman. To the hypocrite He is blasting words of fire. To the oppressor (a man such as Herod) He is terrifyingly silent. To the haughty and self-assured (a man such as the lawyer who elicited the parable of the Good Samaritan) He is succinctly challenging.

But to the needy, neglected and humbly petitioning He is patience, compassion, ready help and sensitive courtesy.

I love the story in Mark 7: 31-37. People have brought to Jesus a man who is deaf and dumb, beseeching that He might lay hands on him as other prophets of old would have done. Jesus takes him aside to a quiet and more private place. He wants to minister intimately and without embarrassment, fanfare or ostentation.

Then the Lord "looks to heaven". He will only give the credit to His Heavenly Father and wants to let the man know that it is entirely natural for Him to call upon such power in the here-and-now.

Then Jesus sighs. There are worlds of comfort and encouragement in this act. Messiah has come, has grown, suffered, laboured and laughed in our mortal sphere. He identifies and offers sinless, vital intercession. He feels, as if real, the handicap, frustration and shame of the man before Him.

He helps the man's faith to receive by doing something physical; fingers into the deaf ears and spittled touch upon the tongue. Note the order. It is better to hear from Jesus, firstly and intently, before having anything much of significance to say. Otherwise our tongues may be a frequent cause for stumbling and harm. Have we not heard the Lord say often, "He who hath ears to hear: let Him hear"? Remember that Jesus gives the ears, the perception, to hear rightly.

And then the word, the creative word, spoken calmly and with authority which compels a trusting response. "Be opened". The result of health and wholeness, new purpose and praise is a foregone conclusion.


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