Mark 7:31- 37 NLT
31 Jesus left Tyre and went up to Sidon before going back to the Sea of Galilee and the region of the Ten Towns. 32 A deaf man with a speech impediment was brought to him, and the people begged Jesus to lay his hands on the man to heal him.
33 Jesus led him away from the crowd so they could be alone. He put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then, spitting on his own fingers, he touched the man’s tongue. 34 Looking up to heaven, he sighed and said, “Ephphatha,” which means, “Be opened!” 35 Instantly the man could hear perfectly, and his tongue was freed so he could speak plainly!
36 Jesus told the crowd not to tell anyone, but the more he told them not to, the more they spread the news. 37 They were completely amazed and said again and again, “Everything he does is wonderful. He even makes the deaf to hear and gives speech to those who cannot speak.”
We can see how people continuously sought to bring challenges to Jesus that would 'stump' him. In the process they used disabled people as fodder for their evil intents. They brought the disabled to Jesus, not because he Could heal them but because they were sure he wouldn't be able. And, on the off chance that he might, they wanted to see a show. This reminds me of the odd looking, acting, or deformed persons I saw as a young child at local carnivals. People paid money to laugh at their deformities. This was the case of this poor man who was deaf and who could not speak-- as is often the case with hearing impaired persons who have been that way for very long.
Notice that Jesus did not, at this moment, chastise those who had done this. First he took the man away from the crowds. They must have walked some distance before Jesus was sure the lookieloos had given up the chase. They may have had to duck in between some streets and houses, to evade followers. Then Jesus performed the healing with only the man and his disciples to witness. This miracle was not for the masses to marvel at. It was done because God loved the deaf man and wanted his suffering to stop. It may have also been to teach the disciples a lesson they were yet in process of learning-- that ministry is not about greatness and reputations but about love and service.
Why did Jesus moisten his finger with his own saliva and touch the man's ears and tongue before commanding that they "be opened?" The passage does not give that explanation. It does illustrate that the very voice who said "Let there be light. . ." millennia before this tune now spoke to the closed ears and stilled tongue of this one whom he had created, commanding them to open and be loosed. As with creation, the result was immediate. The man could hear, and could speak? How did he learn to speak-- even that takes time for most people? Again, the text does not answer us. But we can recall that Jesus has said "with God, all things are possible." Does this illustrate, yet again that Jesus is God? It does for me. When they returned to the crowd with the man hearing and speaking Jesus told people not to bother telling others? Why? Reverse psychology? I don't know, but they did tell? And it only added to the furor of the national leaders to destroy this gifted Son of God who could open closed ears and loose stilled tongues. Yet, Jesus persevered and saved us? Why? Because He Loves Us, that's why!
Your servant in Christ's love