Mark 7:34 Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.”
Jesus heals the man who has been deaf. He puts his fingers in the man’s ears and then the man’s tongue, touching him at the point of his exact need. Could the man not speak because he could not hear, or could he not hear and therefore could not speak? Jesus knew, and the symbolism of his touching brought healing.
However, Jesus did not only touch this man, but he looked up to heaven and then he sighed. Jesus sighed! Was he tired and worn out from ministry? Did he need strength from God in that moment? We don't know but then, Jesus speaks just one word, “Ephphatha,” which the gospel writer quotes for us. This word is spoken in Aramaic and is here transliterated for the Greek audience. A big sigh — looking up to heaven and breathing out one word in this man’s native tongue, “Be opened.” This was Jesus’ word of healing spoken over this man. Whether it was his mouth or his ears — he had been closed up, unable to be in touch with the world around him and now, he was being set free.
From deep within himself Jesus breathes out — “Be opened.” Immediately the man is set free.
This is the promise of Jesus for all of us who find ourselves closed. It may be that we are closed, or that we are in contact with others who are closed and we all are in desperate need of a touch from him.
Jesus’ touch to the world today comes through his Spirit-filled followers. We are challenged to reach out and touch the world at the point of their deepest need.
And yes, there may be times that we are tired and worn out. We sigh a big sigh along with Jesus. I actually find his sigh somewhat comforting. I’ve been known to let out a big sigh from time to time because sometimes the work in service to the kingdom is simply exhausting. I think Jesus was exhausted and so he looked up to heaven for a bit of encouragement from the Father.
The words are plainly spoken in the language of the community of this man. Some would think that the word was spoken for the man to understand in his own language — but if he was unable to hear and/or speak before the healing — why would it have mattered? But was the healing also a gifting of language for this man — the language that he would need in order to communicate with the community to whom he belonged? The healing of “be opened” was one of wholeness, not just physically, but emotionally and socially. May your senses be opened, but may also your life be opened up to be accepted as a whole human being within society. You will hear and speak and fit in because you will be able to communicate in the local tongue. Wow!
Be open. A word of healing breathed over not just the deaf and mute physically, but the deaf and mute spiritually. The promise of wholeness is for all who are willing to present themselves before the Master healer. Today, the promise of “be open” can bring total transformation for all.
Lord, may you lead me to the place of being open every day. Amen.