Gospel: The Man Who Opened Up

Open communication is more than just a corporate buzzword. It is the ability to send and receive information. In Mark 7, Jesus encounters a man with critical limitations to his ability to send and receive messages. He is deaf and has a severe speech impediment.

This story highlights several important facts. First, in a physical way, this man experienced isolation. His ability to interact with others was cut off because of his condition. Sadly, our natural condition causes us to be cut off and separated from God. Isaiah tells us that “your iniquities (sins) have separated between you and your God” (Isa 59:2). Every sin that we commit is against God and our best efforts cannot bridge that isolation.

We read that Jesus came to where he was. In choosing not to heal this man from a distance, Christ demonstrates His willingness to cover the distance between Himself and this man. In the same way, Jesus left His heavenly home to come to where we as sinners lived. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (2Tim 1:15).

It is interesting to note that Jesus also dealt personally with this man. He singled him out and took him aside to deal with him separately from the crowd. Notwithstanding His love for the whole world, Jesus is vitally interested in individuals. In the gospel of John we read that “God so loved the world” (3:16) but in John 6:37, Jesus makes it personal when He says “him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Salvation happens individually, one person at a time.

Jesus puts His finger right on this man’s problem in a way that he can understand. Jesus communicates to him that the problem is with his ears and his tongue. Jesus uses sign language to indicate where the problem is. When Jesus deals with sinners, He again puts His finger right on the problem – our sin! He preached the need for repentance. He taught eternal punishment. Why? Because of sin. Whether it was the woman at the well, Simon the Pharisee, the rich young ruler, or others that Jesus met on the way, He always put His finger right on the problem – their sin.

With the simple phrase, “Be opened,” Jesus removed the problem and exposed the man to a whole new aspect of relationship: communication. Not only can the man now hear, but the very first voice he hears belongs to Jesus. The desire of the Lord Jesus to communicate with us is on full display when he says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life” (John 10:27-28).

It is no stretch to imagine that the first person this man spoke to was Jesus Christ. What he said is not recorded. What would you say to the Lord Jesus Christ if He removed the biggest problem in your life? That’s why He died, to take away our sins.

He paid the price for sin when He died on the cross. He ended isolation from God, and opened communication for us with God. Those who trust Christ hear His voice and their mouths give praise to God (Heb 13:15).