In the seventh chapter of Mark’s gospel, Jesus heals a deaf and mute man. Is he the only person healed in this story? No. Notice the reaction of the people who see the result of this miracle: they keep telling others about it, even though Jesus tells them to not do so. Why does Jesus not want them to tell anyone? Jesus comes into the sinful world to suffer and die on the cross for the sins of the whole world, not just to perform miracles. When people see Jesus perform miracles without knowing why, they may get the wrong idea. Thus, Jesus’ command “not to tell anyone” (verse 36).
When Jesus performs miracles, He teaches people. Miracles are teaching moments for Him. What lesson is Jesus teaching? That He is sent by God to destroy sin and correct the problems caused by sin. In this story, the problems caused by sin are deafness and muteness. This is the reason why Jesus touches the man’s tongue and sticks His fingers into his ears. Not everyone who sees the result of this miracle may have seen Jesus do this. Therefore, they may have the wrong idea about this miracle. This is why Jesus tells them “not to tell anyone” (verse 36).
Is the deaf and mute man the only person healed in this story? Certainly he is healed physically: he can hear and speak. Is he healed spiritually? When Jesus performs miracles, there may be two different types of results: physical and spiritual. Physical results are easier to see. In this story, the deaf and mute man hears and speaks. Spiritual results are more difficult to see. Does the deaf and mute man see Jesus in a certain way: as someone sent by God to destroy sin and correct the problems caused by sin? The story doesn’t say. But the people who see the result of this miracle certainly do. They see Jesus as someone sent by God to fulfill the words of the Prophet Isaiah: “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy” (35:5-6a). The people who see the result of this miracle see Jesus as someone sent by God to destroy sin and correct the problems caused by sin. They may not be healed physically, but they are healed spiritually.
Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him. After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly. Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” – Mark 7:31-37