Two Miracles Peculiar to Mark's Gospel: Deaf and Blind Men

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This is one of the two miracles peculiar to the Gospel of Mark, the other being the cure of the blind man of Bethsaida (chap. 8:22). They both illustrate the prophetic service of the Son of God. He had come to the lake of Galilee.
"And they bring to Him [one] deaf and hardly speaking, and they beseech Him to lay His hand on him. And having taken him away from the crowd apart, He put His fingers to his ears: and He spit and touched his tongue: and looking up to heaven He groaned, and saith to him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the bond of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke aright. And He charged them that they should tell no one; but the more He charged them, the more abundantly were they publishing [it]. And they were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well; He maketh both the deaf to hear and the speechless to speak." vv. 32-37.
The minute accuracy of the Holy Spirit in recounting Christ's miracles is admirable. This case differs from others in that the sufferer is not said to have been absolutely mute, but to have had an impediment of speech, as well as deafness. Nevertheless the Lord takes special pains with him. The manner reveals the divine Servant's grace. There was no question of His power. Ordinarily He healed all that needed it in a moment, no matter how extreme, as when an unclean spirit was the cause of the dumbness rather than physical inability or defect. Here He was pleased to manifest His tender interest in detail, and His compassionate love no less than His power to heal. He does much more than what those besought who brought the patient to Him. Putting the hand on the needy one was the usual sign of blessing; and less than this, a word, would have been enough, if so the Lord had seen fit to God's glory.
But He took him aside from the crowd apart. For here it is not the crowd He thinks of, any more than the haughty scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem. Just before, He had met the desperate need of the Syrophenician woman on behalf of her demoniac daughter on the borders of Tire and Sidon. Now He had come through the midst of the borders of Decapolis, where, as the prophet had long before predicted, light was to shine for a despised remnant when darkness brooded over the mass with city and temple dead to the rejected Messiah (Isa. 9:1, 21Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. 2The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. (Isaiah 9:1‑2)). So He took the deaf man apart from the crowd, and put His fingers unto, if not into (as the preposition may mean according to the sense required), his ears. But more than this; having spit, he touched the tongue of the stammerer.
He marked in both acts how all depended on bringing Himself personally to bear on the actual wants. He who wrought was man, but no less was He God, the Son incarnate and on earth, in His pitiful love serving God and man. It was not only that He applied what came from within Himself to the man's tongue, but looking up to heaven He groaned, and said to him, Ephphatha; that is, Be opened. Power truly went out of Him, and love was its spring in devotedness to God who is as truly light in His nature as love is the character of its energy, which His own service was manifesting. And thus, if He deigned to touch the man so intimately, He looked up to heaven whence He came in a love that abides unchanging and above all evil, yet groaned in deep sense of it, while He said to him, Be opened.
The afflicted man was but an emblem of the state of Israel, unwillingly, alas! and unable through unbelief to hear God or to speak out their own misery and His praise. But as brought to Him, He set forth the remnant on whom light dawned in a region and shadow of death. And "straightway" (a word characteristic in the Gospel of His service) his ears were opened, and the bond or tie of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke aright. If the unbelief of the people and its chiefs made their blessing impossible, the poor of the flock prove the all-suffering of His gracious power, and reap the great blessing of faith, be it ever so small. And the love which so wrought will encourage a remnant in a future day, who will re-commence the Jewish history in the land, till it becomes a strong nation in that faithfulness which is unwearied and will never forget the promise.
For the present all was vain; and He charged them to tell no one, but the more He did, the more a great deal were they its publishers. Yet, true as it might be in word, it was not faith in the heart, but rather extreme astonishment. Even so, what a comment on Christ's service! "He hath done all things well: He maketh both the deaf to hear, and the speechless to speak."
The Blind Man of Bethsaida
This is the second of the two miracles peculiar to the Gospel of Mark. In the first, the Lord led away the deaf man who could not speak aright from the crowd apart; here He took hold of the blind man's hand and conducted him out of the village. The mass of the Jews had already had ample signs in testimony of who and what He was. It was but for greater hardening of their hearts to see more. They might get their sick healed, they might eat of the loaves He made and be filled; but even the most orthodox sought from Him a sign from heaven, tempting Him, so that He could only groan in His spirit and say, "Why doth this generation seek after a sign?" Had He not given them countless signs? In the sense of their unbelief, which a Syrophenician woman's faith rebuked, the Lord leads aside from the multitude, though He still acts in compassionate grace. This could not fail where they bring distressful need before Him, the Servant not more righteous than gracious.
"And they bring Him a blind man, and beseech Him that He might touch him. And taking hold of the blind man's hand, He led him forth out of the village, and having spit on his eyes, He laid His hands on him, and asked him if he beheld anything. And having looked up he said, I behold men, for I see [them] as trees, walking. Then He laid His hands again on his eyes, and he saw distinctly, and was restored, and saw all things clearly. And He sent him to his house, saying, Neither enter into the village, nor tell [it] to any one in the village." vv. 22-26.
It is the gospel of His service; and here, as throughout, we are made to behold the perfect manner in which His mighty works were done. It is not only the power of God ever ready to heal the sick and those oppressed by the devil. The way in which He answered every such appeal was worthy of the Son of God become servant to glorify God and win man. He had put His fingers to the deaf man's ears, He had touched the ill-speaking tongue; here He laid His hands upon the blind man outside Bethsaida. There was no necessity for any such actions. He had but to speak, and it was done. But love is far beyond power; and when man has power to wield it in ever so limited a range, how little he thinks of love! Least of all does he, conscious however scantily of his sinfulness, look for love from the God he slights and dreads. The Lord, in the way He wields divine power, manifests divine love, and as Man in the midst of men. Nor is there the smallest ostentation, but its marked absence; all is done in genuine simplicity as well as tenderness.
There are the miracles in which the Lord uses His own spittle-here and in the cure of the man born blind, as told us in John 9. Whatever the reality and lowliness of the humanity He had taken up in His grace, there was divine efficacy in His Person; and the sign of this He applies in all three cases, each having its own distinction. When He touched the tongue, He looked up to heaven with a groan, and said to the man, Be opened; and immediately the happy result followed. When He mixed clay with what came of Himself and anointed the blind man's eyes, He told him to go to Siloam and wash; and only then did he come seeing. Here, the very intent was to mark by the twofold act of laying His hands on his eyes that the Lord would not have the cure partial. It was much to behold men, like trees, but walking. Yet the Lord would not let him go thus; He would give him to see distinctly. He therefore laid His hands upon his eyes, so that he was restored and saw all things distinctly. It was simply the way of love that the blind man might know the deep interest of His heart who might have dispensed with any or all of these circumstances and have effected the perfect cure with a word. But what a blank for the man and for our hearts if it had been only so!
What thanks shall one render when one believes that the same Jesus is the Son of God, not only the true God but eternal life, ready and willing to give life eternal to you who can find it nowhere else? This is the way, the best way for a saint, the only way for a sinner, to honor the Son. It is to believe on Him, for indeed He is the way, the truth, and the life. Thus believing, you do not come into condemnation, but even now have passed from death unto life.