Twelfth Sunday after Trinity – Pr. Anderson sermon
St. Mark 7:31-37 “Jesus Does All Things Well”
August 27, 2023 | Christ Lutheran Church
In Nomine Iesu
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Almighty and everlasting God, who created all things, we thank You that You have given us sound bodies, and have graciously preserved our tongues and other members from the power of the adversary: We beseech You, grant us Your grace, that we may rightly use our ears and tongues; help us to hear Your Word diligently and devoutly, and with our tongues so to praise and glorify Your grace, that no one is offended by our words, but that all may be edified by them; through Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one true God, now and forever. Amen. (Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary, by Veit Dietrich, p. 161)
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. (Rom. 1:7, etc.)
The sermon text for today is taken from the 7th chapter of the Gospel according to St. Mark. We read selected verses in Jesus’ name:
And taking him aside from the crowd privately, He put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. And looking up to heaven, He sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.
These are Your words, heavenly Father. Sanctify us by Your truth, Your Word is truth. Amen. (Joh. 17:17)
In Christ Jesus, who is your hope in this life, who does all things well for you, dear fellow redeemed:
In this day and age news can travel. Depending on what kind of news it is, it can spread like wildfire. We would know this living out here in the west where wildfires do spread quickly. When the authorities need to get the news out about the wildfires, thanks to modern technology they can do so with relative ease. Now before this current age of being able to post something in seconds and share it with others, in Jesus day the news could not travel like that. However, just because the news couldn’t be shared with a click of a button, it doesn’t mean that the news traveled slowly. As Jesus continues in His ministry, the news about Him and what He is doing is spreading like a wildfire. We see in our text that even in an area that is north of Judea, they have heard what Jesus is doing and they want to see it for themselves. As they hear that Jesus is helping those who are in need, the news grows and they bring people to Him. This is the news that they want to hear, that someone can help them. This is the same news that we hear today. Why does the news of Jesus travel so far and so fast? The news travels and we hear it because it is good news, Jesus does all things well.
Jesus is no longer in Judea. He is now in gentile territory by the Sea of Galilee. He is showing His disciples that the Jews are not the only ones in need. According to Mark, the disciples have been witnessing miracle after miracle. The miracle before this was the healing of Syrophoenician woman’s daughter. The woman shows great faith that Jesus was to come for the Jews and Gentiles. As the disciples are eye witnesses to all that Jesus does, the Word of Jesus and His teaching is spreading too. It can be hard for Jesus to go anywhere without being surrounded by a crowd even in a remote place across the border. This crowd is realizing one thing, that Jesus does all things well.
They can’t believe what they are seeing. It would be hard for any of us to believe it when a man comes performing miracles. Why are the people so excited to see Jesus healing? This has only happened a long time ago with God’s prophets. A regular human being does not go around and perform miracles. It’s not like He is giving people wealth, or He is leading a revolt. He is simply doing what they cannot. Jesus is curing them of their ailments. The people have these ailments because of the sinful world they live in. They brought a man to Jesus, “who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged Him to lay His hand on him.” This poor man can’t speak because He can’t hear. He can’t hear the Gospel message that comes from Christ. That is what the Gentiles don’t have. This is what Jesus is bringing to them.
Like the people that Jesus is bringing the Gospel to, we are amazed at what we see. Is it possible that a man can do these things? Can a man perform miracles of healing? If we would hear that someone is doing that, we would be a little skeptical. Why is this different? This is the Son of Man who has come for all. We need Him to come for all. We are just like the people of Jesus day and the people of the Old Testament. As crazy as it sounds for someone to be performing miracles, we need a miracle. As Paul tells us, like the people who knew the Old Testament, the law is blinding. “Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory?” (2 Cor. 3:7-8) The law carved into stone, is a glory that we can’t look at. We can’t stand seeing our sins.
As our sins are laid out in front of us because of the law, we see ourselves relating to the man who needs to be healed. This is not just any illness. As Jesus heals the man, we also see the spiritual illness that has come upon the world. Our sinful nature causes us to be deaf and mute. We start by being deaf to God’s law on our terms. We will pick which commandments we want to follow. Some are more important than others in our eyes. Breaking the commandments we wear ourselves down. The more worn out we are, the harder it is for us to hear the Gospel. It will sound faint in our ears. As the world, the devil, and our sinful nature tempt us away with what looks like joy and peace to do what we want, God’s Word becomes very quiet. In a world that will continue to suffer, there is only one place to look for relief. The man in our text is brought to the One who does all things well.
“Doing all things well”. This sounds too good to be true. Did this man even know what was going on? Could someone communicate to him that he was going to see Jesus. Jesus takes this man away from the public’s view. He wants to make this man comfortable. “He put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. And looking up to heaven, He sighed and said to him, ‘Ephphatha,’ that is, ‘Be opened.’ And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.” The Man who does all things well cured him. His ears are opened. In this great miracle to heal the man’s hearing a greater miracle occurs. This man can get what he really needs. He gets to hear the sweet comfort of the Gospel in his ears. With his tongue being loosed he will now be able to sing his praises to God! This is everything made well, hearing the Gospel in our ears.
God kept His promise. This crowd is seeing it happen right before their eyes. “In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 29:18-19). Jesus is fulfilling this Old Testament passage in our text. This can only happen because Jesus is the One who does things well. The world is broken in sin. He does everything right by correcting all that is wrong. He heals mankind by being the answer and all who hear this message sing praises to God because of what He has done. Jesus reveals himself as true God and true man.
There is no one else who is true God and true man. No one sitting here is. God tells you that your ears are plugged to His Word. Plugging your ears to God’s Word causes distress in your lives. In this distress the world will try to tell you how it can get you out. Yet we see in Scripture that there is only one way. Paul clarifies who does all things well once more. “Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor. 3:4-6). There is nothing that you can do. You see your comfort; Christ Word, the Spirit, makes you well.
It is through the Word where you see that you are not alone. Christ came into the world to heal it of all its illnesses. He serves humbly, traveling all over, and keeps the message of His ministry as the focus. He takes the man away from the crowd, revealing His power as God. As He heals the man, He also heals you. He fixes what you cannot fix. Jesus heals you not only opening your ears to the Gospel, but He also takes away your sins by dying for them. Like this man, Jesus saves you because He does all things well.
In a world that is dying, how is it that Jesus helps it? How is He doing all things well right now? The world wants to use all of the bad things that happen as a way to discredit Jesus. The world wants you to think that only you can make your lives better. Knowing that you are not good, knowing that you are a sinner, you might feel like the deaf and mute man. You might feel that you can’t hear God and you can’t sing His praises. Jesus heals you. You see how He heals you because you are right here hearing the Gospel message. Your ears are open as you hear that you are made right with God through Him. Jesus protects you from the world making sure that you will live eternally because He is the way of eternal life. You can look in your lives and see that you are healed. The good that you do for others, these good works only happen because Jesus does all things well through you. As you continue through your life, you can continue to sing His praises. Jesus has made you well.
The news of Jesus has spread to remote places. It was a remote place in our text and we even see now that the Word of God spreads rapidly. Why is this news spreading like wildfire? The news of Jesus spreads because He does all things well. He heals those who could not heal themselves. He cures those who cannot cure their hearing. Our ears were closed. They were closed in sin. Jesus comes to us through His Word and He tells our ears to be opened. Our ears have been restored. We have been cured forever because of Jesus. Our tongues are loosed to share the hope that we have. Our comfort and strength is in our Savior, who works things out for our good and makes us well forever. Amen.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, forevermore. Amen.
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