Harmony of the Gospels

 Harmony of the Gospels

-AD 29-
Decapolis
(42) Afflicted healed
Matthew 15:29-31, Mark 7:31-37

-Matthew-

29 Jesus departed from there, skirted the Sea of Galilee, and went up on the mountain and sat down there.
30 Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them.
31 So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.

Here in these verses is an account of Christ curing in wholesale.  The evidence of His power and goodness is enormous.  The place where He did these cures was near the Sea of Galilee, which was an area that Christ was very familiar with.  He had come from the region of Tyre and Sidon where he had cast a demon out of the daughter of a Canaanite woman.  Now He returned to the land of Israel, and He sits down on a mountain, so that everyone can see Him and have access to Him.  He sat down like a person who was tired and needed to rest, and as one wanting to be gracious.  He sat, as one expecting patients, as Abraham sat at the door of His tent, ready to entertain strangers; He was ready to do good work.  It is reported that multitudes flocked to Him, so that scriptures could be fulfilled; Genesis 49:10 predicted, “Unto Him shall the gathering of the people be.”  What would happen today, if Christ’s ministers could cure diseases?  There would be more gathering around them, because people are more responsive to their bodily needs than they are to spiritual disease and the needs of their souls.  The goodness of Christ was so great that He admitted all sorts of people; the rich as well as the poor were welcomed-there was room enough for everyone.  He never complained about the crowds, because the souls of the peasants were as precious to Him as the souls of kings.  The awesome power of Christ was apparent, because He healed all types of diseases.  Those who came to Him brought their sick friends and relations and placed them down at Jesus feet.  It isn’t recorded that they requested anything from Him, just that they placed them in front of Him as objects of pity.  This may be a lesson for us.  Whatever our need is, the only way to find relief is to lay it at Christ’s feet, to spread it before Him, and to submit it to Him and to pray “thy will be done.” 

They brought to Him those who were lame, blind, dumb, maimed and many others.  This was the work of sin; it turns the world into a hospital.  But observe the work that the Great Physician does.  He conquers all those enemies to mankind.  They all submit to the commands of Christ.  What a great comfort this is to the people of God, because we can see here Christ’s great power over all our weaknesses and the pity which He has for our misery.  Also, we can see His influence over the people.  First, they were amazed by what they saw.  Psalms 123:23 says, “It is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous.”  It is the spiritual cures that Christ does that are the most wonderful.  When blind souls are made to see in faith, the dumb to speak in prayer and the lame to walk in obedience it is amazing.  And after all of this it says that they glorified the God of Israel.  Those that were healed glorified God.  But if we are kept from blindness, lameness and dumbness, we should praise Him even more.  Those who stood by and watched the cures also praised God.  God must be praised and thanked for the healing of others as well as our own.  They glorified Him as the God of Israel, a God in covenant with His people, who has sent the Messiah as promised, and this is He.  The miracles were done by the power of the God of Israel, and no one else could do it.

 

-Mark-

31 Again, departing from the region of Tyre and Sidon, He came through the midst of the region of Decapolis to the Sea of Galilee.
32 Then they brought to Him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech, and they begged Him to put His hand on him.
33 And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers in his ears, and He spat and touched his tongue.
34 Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.”
35 Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly.
36 Then He commanded them that they should tell no one; but the more He commanded them, the more widely they proclaimed it.
37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”

Matthew wrote of the healing of the multitudes, but here Mark lifts out only one particular account, and he gives us a lot of details about what happened.  This unique healing is found only in the Gospel of Mark.  The Lord’s procedure is unlike any other recorded healing. 

Jesus had journeyed from Phoenicia southeast of the Sea of Galilee to Decapolis a Gentile region with ten cities.  Matthew recorded that on this occasion that He healed many, but Mark only focuses on this one deaf-mute that was cured.  Some think that He was born deaf, so he must of course have been dumb also.  Others think that he became deaf as the result of some unfortunate accident or disease, and that he could speak a little, but with difficulty, so that others could barely understand him.  Let’s pause for a moment and thank God for preserving our hearing and speech, so that we can hear the word of God and praise our Heavenly Father. 

They brought this poor man to Christ and begged Him to just put His hand on him.  It doesn’t say that they asked for Jesus to cure him, just to be aware of his condition and to touch him.

Why did Jesus resort to this healing procedure when a word could do all that was necessary?  It seems that He responded to peoples requests accordingly; and here they asked Him to touch the deaf mute and He obliged. 

Jesus took the man away from the crowd, so this healing was done in private, with perhaps only the disciples and a few others looking on.  Ordinarily, He did his miracles in public to show that they could stand up under scrutiny, but this time He did it privately, perhaps to show that He did not seek His own glory.  This time He used a most unusual cure; He put His fingers into his ears as if He would pull out what ever plugged them up.  He spit on His own finger and then touched His tongue, as if He would moisten his mouth and loosen that which kept his tongue tied.  These were not things which could bring a cure, but they were signs that the power He was exerting came from within Him.  They encouraged the man’s faith and the faith of those who had brought him.

Jesus looked up into heaven to give His Father praise; and in this way He indicated that His power was a divine power; a power that He had as Lord of Heaven, a power that He brought with Him. 

Jesus sighed at this point, not because He was having any difficulty with the cure, but because He had sympathy for the afflicted; for we are told He is touched with feeling for our afflictions.  As for this man, He sighed because of the many temptations he would now be subjected to, and because he would now be exposed to many sins; sins that would include spoken words.  In his stricken condition, he was shielded from these; but now he would be in danger unless he could close his eyes and bridle his tongue in their presence.  Jesus spoke to the man, saying, “Be opened;” which was a command to both parts of the cure; to let the lips be opened and the ears to be opened.  He could now hear and speak freely.  We are told that all was well, and that he was happy, and that as soon as he had hearing and speech that he blessed Jesus.

Jesus told those that were present to tell no one who had cured the man; but it was made public.  I believe that this is a lesson for us.  We can see here Christ’s great humility.  We should be pleased by doing good, but not for being known for it.  We should not be puffed up by it, and we should not seek recognition for our good deeds.  However, the miracle was blazed about, and everyone who heard about it was amazed.  They said, “He does all things well.”  Even His enemies, those who hated Him and called Him an evil-doer, had to admit that He did a great deal of good, and that He did it humbly and without charging anyone for the cure.  Therefore, it is even worse for them, that they continued to speak against Him

 

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