“Then looking up to heaven he sighed; and he said to him, ‘Ephphatha,’ that is, ‘Be opened.’ And his ears were opened, and at once the impediment of his tongue was loosened and he spoke clearly.”
Thursday, 9 September 2021
Jesus looked up to heaven. Was this about God, his Father from whom all things come? Perhaps he looked up to heaven for the deaf man’s benefit, that the man would see that Jesus was calling on his Father to show grace towards the man, that the man would know that faith in God was needed for his healing. We are called to look to God, our Father, at all times, to put our faith in him and to live out his will for our lives.
After looking up, we are told that Jesus sighed. The Oxford Dictionary gives the following meaning for sighed: emit a long, deep audible breath expressing sadness, relief, tiredness, or similar. Perhaps Jesus was feeling all of these emotions at the time of this story. Sadness at the deaf man’s impediments and the cause for them; relief at having some time away from the maddening crowds or relief that the man had faith that he would be healed; tiredness from all the travelling or dealing with all the people and their challenges. We will never know the reason.
However, the fact that it is mentioned in this story tells us so much about Jesus and his humanness. Jesus also became exasperated, tired and sad at times. The sigh can also be seen as an indication of Jesus’ emotions concerning the man, the compassion he feels towards him and an expression of his pity for the challenges that we face and the horrible things that can happen to undeserving people. Or was the sigh Jesus’ reflection of the man’s spiritual deafness?
How often in your day do you offer a sigh that expresses one or all of these emotions? A sigh that allows you to keep your feelings in check and to diffuse some of your anxiety? A sigh that perhaps expresses pity for others?
‘Ephphatha.’ “Be opened.” Not only was Jesus opening the ears of the deaf man and clearing his speech impediment, but he was also opening his heart and removing the internal impediments of his mind. Opening the heart opens the ears to receive God’s word and opens the mouth to offer prayer, praise and thanksgiving.
Is your heart and mind open to receive the messages from our Lord?