1. At this point in Jesus' life on earth, He was in heathen territory. He had just been in Tyre (vs. 24), north of Israel. Now He is in the territory of Decapolis (vs. 31) which means "ten towns." They lay east and south of the Sea of Galilee, a very heathen territory.
2. Our text is paralleled at Mt. 15:29-31 but only Mk. gives us the detailed account of the healing of the deaf-mute.
3. Jesus always used His Word to forgive sins and heal illnesses. But He did not always use the same method. To the ten lepers He gave, a command which contained a promise, Lk. 17:14. To blind Bartimaeus Jesus simply said: "Receive your sight." Lk. 18:41. To cure Naaman of his leprosy (II Kings 5:10-14) Elisha said: "Wash in the Jordan seven times." But when Paul asked to be relieved of his thorn in the flesh the Lord gave Paul the grace to bear it. II Cor. 12:7-10, In each case the Word is used. The Word creates. Heb 11:3. It creates saving faith in people. Rom. 10:17. It banishes unbelievers to hell. Mt. 25:41. It raises the dead. Jn. 11:43. It is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Ps. 119:105. Only Jesus and His Word are Truth. Jn. 17:17; 14:6.
4. Jesus took this deaf-mute man aside from the multitude, placed His fingers into his ears, then He spit, then He touched the man's tongue, then He looked up to heaven, sighed and gave the command: "Be opened!" Why did Jesus use this elaborate method of healing? We are not given the answer to this question. God uses strange methods to help us. He does not always tell us why. But we should be thankful for His mercy.
5. There is no example of Jesus saying "Don't tell anyone" when He forgave sins. But, as in the case of the healing of the deaf-mute man, Jesus forbade the people to tell anyone. He even forbade the disciples to tell anyone that He was the Christ. Mk. 8:30. He forbade James and John to tell about the transfiguration. Mk. 9:9. Why did Jesus do this? We give the answer in the next paragraph.
6. Read Is. 35 which tells us of the coming of the Christ and His Kingdom. Vss. 5-6 read: "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer and the tongue of the dumb sing." These deeds of mercy proved that Jesus was the Son of God, the Messiah, the Christ. But when Jesus entered his ministry He said: "Repent for the Kingdom of God is here." Mt. 4:17. And just before He ascended into heaven He told the disciples to preach repentance in His name for the forgiveness of sins. Lk. 24:47. The Kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom, a kingdom of faith in the Messiah for the forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. Read Peter's sermon at Acts 10:34-43. He mentions that Jesus went about doing good. But that goodness only pointed to and proved the most important things, forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. Evidently Jesus forbade them to tell anyone because it might give the impression that He came ONLY to give gifts to the body only. His main purpose was to seek and save the lost. Lk. 10:19. Read Acts 3. Peter and John healed the lame man to prove that Jesus was the promised Messiah Who came to save people from sin, death and the devil. Many people want only a bread-king. Jn. 6:15. But Jesus wants to give them everlasting life. Jn. 6:38-39.
7. ln the OT many of the people resisted or misunderstood the message of the prophets. When Jesus came, many of the people wanted only a Savior for the body. When the apostles went out preaching they suffered much for Jesus' sake. Today, too, when we preach the true Word of God there will be many who misunderstand or resist the Word of God. When that happens we should read II Cor. 4. Christian teachers will meet those who are blinded by Satan, persecute the Christians and make life miserable for Christians. But twice Paul says: "We do not grow weary." Christian teachers keep their eyes on things which are not seen, the things of everlasting life. Like Jesus they look forward to everlasting life. Heb. 12:2-3.
THEME: He Has Done All Things Well
This is what the people said when they saw Jesus carefully heal the deaf- mute man. Peter said the same thing at Acts 10:38: "Jesus went about [doing] good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil for God was with Him." (Read Acts 10:34-43). He always did all things well even when He forbade people to tell. When God created the world He said that all was very good (Gen. 1:31). But then man fell into sin. Then Jesus came. He did all things well. He brought the new creation for all. (II Cor. 5:17-19).
I. He did this by healing peoples' illnesses.
Mk. alone gives us this detailed account of the healing of this deaf-mute. Why did Jesus do all these details? To impress personal healing on this man. Satan had taken his speech and hearings away. Jesus restored it. This was a fulfillment of Is. 35:5-6: "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing." The healing miracles of Jesus proved Who He was, the promised Messiah. He went about doing good. He did all things well. But miracles do not convert people. Read Jn. 2:23-25. They brought on the way to faith but only the Word of God can produce faith. See Rom. 10:17. When His enemies wanted to see a miracle Jesus refused. Mt. 12:38-39. But then He spoke of His resurrection from the dead. Jesus did not heal ALL the sick but He did heal enough to prove that He was the Messiah.
II. He did this by commanding the people to tell no one.
During the last year of his life people began to look at Jesus as only a miracle worker, an entertainer, a provider only of earthly things. When Jesus provided food for the 5000 the people wanted to make Him king. See Jn. 6:14-15. Their only desire was for the body. See vs. 26. Jesus did not always prohibit people to tell about His miracles. He did not forbid blind Bartimaeus. Lk. 18:35-43. But He did forbid the people to tell about the miracle in our text. He did well by this prohibition because He was protecting them against false Messiahs. He still warns us today about false Messiahs and false ideas about Jesus the Messiah. For example at Mt. 24:4: "Beware lest someone deceive you, for many will coming in My Name saying 'I am the Christ' and they will deceive many." At I Jn. 4:1 we read "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of God because many false prophets have gone out into the world." Jesus does well when He warns us. He does good to us even when He withholds healing of the body. Paul begged to be healed but God gave Paul the strength to bear it. See II Cor. 12:7-10.
III. He does well to us by teaching us the Truth.
A. In prophecy. Read Is. 53:5-7. This passage tells us that not only would the Messiah heal the blind and the deaf but also that He would strengthen the weak, comfort the fearful-hearted and give joy to the joyless. He came to seek and save the lost. Lk. 19:10.
B. In fulfillment. Read Peter's speech at Acts 10:34-43 where He speaks about Jesus going about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil. His last sentence is: "To Jesus all the prophets witness that through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins." Whenever Jesus forgave peoples' sins He did not prohibit them from telling other people. He testified constantly even to His enemies that He wanted to give them forgiveness of sins and eternal life. No prohibition here. Read also the account of Peter and John at Acts 3:1-26. At 4:4 we are told "Many of those who heard the word believed and the number of the men came to be about five thousand."
Jesus does not promise to heal all our diseases but He always forgives our sins and gives us strength to bear our illnesses.