GOD'S EMPATHY & ATTENTIVENESS
32 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.
33 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. 34 He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). 35 At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.
36 Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. 37 People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
The first thing Jesus does with the person in need is separate him from the crowd. He is not going to help the man for the benefit of those who brought him. This kind action is not an opportunity to exploit the person in need. Why do we always want a press release for doing something noble?
Jesus is most attentive to the man who cannot hear or speak. He is the one who needs Jesus’ attention at this time. This is not a time for the man to be embarrassed by public attention. He already has lived a life of being excluded and humiliated. Jesus attentiveness and undivided attention bring dignity and respect to the man.
Are you able to empathize with outcasts? Can you give them your undivided attention or are you distracted by a desire to gather a crowd around to notice you?
After healing the man, Jesus tells the people to keep this quiet. Jesus was attentive to what was needed and resisted the idea of getting famous as a miracle worker. If he were to be faithful to the Mission, he would be heading to a cross. This was not a mission to look good or amass an army to protect himself. The miracle was all about God’s love and Jesus’ empathy for a fellow man.