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Prayers for challenging times

3 min read

Prayers for challenging times

People were overwhelmed with amazement. "He has done everything well," they said. "He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak."

Mark 7:37, NIV

Lord our God, you fill heaven and earth with your Spirit and allow us to share in your gifts. We thank you for all you have given us, for all you are giving and will give. We are poor and needy; all people are poor and needy in spite of their striving, longing, and seeking. Only you, through your Spirit, can awaken something in us to help us go toward your goal. Keep us from being caught up in what men do. The greatest help for our hearts is what you do, and each of us can tell something about it. Each of us has received help beyond anything we had hoped or thought of. How much you have done for us! How much you are doing for the nations! Yes, we thank you for this present time. Although our lives often seem hopeless and full of sorrow, your powers are still living among men, working for their good and awaking them to new life. The time will surely come when our hearts will be released from their hunger and we can be filled with the life from above, which you give us in Jesus Christ. Amen.

The context of the words of Mark 7:37, NIV

Mark 7:31–37 mentions only this one healed man and is the only Gospel to do so, while Matthew 15:29–31 describes Jesus healing a great crowd. It's possible that this one healing created the crowd mentioned in Matthew. Healing the deaf is associated with God's direct blessing (Isaiah 35:5) and the Old Testament does not record any account of a literally deaf person being healed; most mentions of ''deaf'' people are references to those who are spiritually hardened. The people praise Jesus not only for healing the deaf and mute man, but for doing it well.

Chapter Summary

Jesus counters another traditional error from the scribes and Pharisees, explaining that food in and of itself does not make a person unclean. Rather, it is the intent of the heart that matters to God. He specifically condemns traditions which effectively undo the original intent of God's commands. Jesus heals the daughter of a persistent Gentile woman, and a man suffering from deafness and a speech impediment.

Meaning of the words

"People were overwhelmed with amazement. "He has done everything well," they said. "He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak."

When the crowd brings the deaf man with the speech impediment to Jesus, they don't ask Him to heal him but to lay His hands on him (Mark 7:32). It could very well be that the people don't expect healing, but just a blessing. "Astonished" is from the Greek root word ekplesso and means to be struck with amazement, as if someone hits you. "Beyond all measure" is from the Greek root word huper perissos and is used only here in the New Testament. When the crowd says Jesus has done "all things" well, it suggests they knew of His success in healing in other areasβ€”perhaps from the man Jesus freed from a legion of demons (Mark 5:1–20).

Although the term for "speech impediment" is used in Mark 7:32, here the crowd seems to say the man was mute. The Greek root word alalos can mean completely speechless or just impossible to understand. The healing brings to mind the Messianic prophecy in Isaiah 35:5–6, in which God promises, "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy." Earlier, Jesus did not correct the Canaanite woman when she called Him "O Lord, Son of David" (Matthew 15:22). Soon, Jesus will lead Peter to confess that Jesus is, in fact, the Jewish Messiah (Mark 8:27–30).

Despite Jesus' request that the crowd keep this secret, they can't contain it (Mark 7:36). Before long He will pull away to a mountain where many will demand healing, including the prophesied lame, blind, and crippled (Matthew 15:29–31). Yet again, the day will grow late, and the people will get hungry. The Pharisees scolded Jesus' disciples for not practicing the manmade tradition of washing hands before eating. Meanwhile, Jesus is happy to interact with a Canaanite woman at the table (Mark 7:24–30) and share bread with some four thousand Jews and Gentiles, sitting on the ground (Mark 8:1–10).

Illustration

Jesus heals a deaf man