The “Ephphatha” Under the Pandemic
Translated by Allan Liang
After Jesus healed the daughter of the Syrophoenician woman, he continued to go on spreading the gospel, making known the gospel entrusted to him by his father. The passage here describes Jesus’ healing of a mute and deaf man, an account unique to the book of Mark. The condition of this mute and deaf man was very pitiful, unable to express himself and unable to understand others. Jesus used a very special method of healing. He led the person away from the crowd. Jesus often performed miracles in front of crowds in order to have them see with their own eyes and testify to the authority of Jesus. Here, Jesus performed the miracle in private, in order to show that he did not pursue his own glory, teaching us also to seek not our own glory (Matthew 6:1-4). Moses, the man of God, was once one of slow speech and tongue, but God had him think: who was the Creator of his tongue? (Exodus 4:11) “Ephphatha” is an Aramaic word (meaning “to be loosened”) and not some sort of magical spell. (Isaiah 8:19). This miracle of healing demonstrates that Jesus is God, that he is the Christ, and Messiah, and as the old testaments prophesied, the Christ will open the ears of the deaf, and cause the mute to sing (Isaiah 35:5-6). The words of Jesus possess the infinite power and authority of God, and upon his command, the ears of the man opened and his tongue loosened. This also reveals that when Jesus’ gospel and grace comes upon the life of a miserable sinner, a sort of “ephphatha”, or loosening occurs in the heart. The “deafness and muteness” of one’s heart, spirit and mind is healed by the Word of Jesus. Christ has opened the ears of sinners, so they may repent and turn to God. Christ has also opened their mouths, so that prayers and praise may flow from there unto God. My mother who was formerly a Buddhist, lost her hearing completely 17 years ago, making it necessary for others to communicate to her through writing. These years, I have read and have used in prayer this passage countless times while sharing the gospel with her. Although I have not yet experienced her physical manifestation of “ephphatha”, her deafness still persists, but thanks be to God, for her spirit has experienced an “ephphatha”. My father was taken into the bosom of God on May 10th, 2018, after which my mother, who was completely deaf, began to attend the local house church on a weekly basis. There came a time when I led her in prayer, specifically, the prayer of accepting Christ, during the middle of which she suddenly and spontaneously cried out “Abba Father!” (2019 02 23, Romans 8:13-17). A few months later, she joined 128 others and was the last to be baptised in the river by the local house church; she was 90 years of age when she came to Christ (2019 07 06). My mother’s acceptance of Christ was like the healing of this man, entirely a miracle, praise the LORD. May God forgive me of the sins of my speech during my visits to her, and my failure to show the same compassion Jesus showed to those who suffered the pains of muteness and deafness (1 Corinthians 12:22-26). Under the present pandemic, let us reflect on how blessed we are for being able to listen to God’s Word and open our mouths in praise. Let us also consider how we are to have the heart of Jesus and join God in his work, as well as how we are to view and treat with kindness, those who are unable to “listen and speak”, both in spiritual and physical regards. Let us, like the friends of this man, often bring people to the presence of Jesus Christ. Let us use the opportunity of this pandemic to spread the gospel so that more people may experience the salvation of the “ephphatha” that the gospel of Jesus brings. Please read carefully Mark 7:31-37, and meditate with reflections and prayers: through the pandemic, let us ponder about the “deaf and mute” aspects of our lives that need to be opened by the work of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, so that we may seek only God’s pleasure. How are we to care for and show love to the weak and sick members of Christ’s body around us?