Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Isaiah 29:13-19 1
13 The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. 14 Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.” 15 Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their work in darkness and think, “Who sees us? Who will know?” 16 You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “You did not make me”? Can the pot say to the potter, “You know nothing”? 17 In a very short time, will not Lebanon be turned into a fertile field and the fertile field seem like a forest? 18 In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. 19 Once more the humble will rejoice in the LORD; the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.

clip_image122Background 2

The Book of Isaiah (Hebrew: Sefer Y’sha’yah ‎) is a book of the Bible traditionally attributed to the Prophet Isaiah, who lived in the second half of the 8th century BC. In the first 39 chapters, Isaiah prophesies doom for a sinful Judah and for all the nations of the world that oppose God. The last 27 chapters prophesy the restoration of the nation of Israel. This section includes the Songs of the Suffering Servant.

Contemporary scholars generally consider most of the first 39 chapters of Isaiah to originate with the historical Isaiah himself. The later part of the book, known as Deutero-Isaiah (or Second Isaiah), is said to derive from a later author or authors. Deutero-Isaiah includes prophecies of a new creation in God’s glorious future kingdom.

Biblical Truths 3

Verse 13: Precept: This is further warning against rote learning of religious ritual and dead formalism without a fervent inner love of God that is real in ones heart. See above in 29:10-13.

Verse 14: a marvelous work: The work referred to is the coming deliverance of the city of Jerusalem that is described prophetically in chapters 30 to 33 and historically in chapters 36 and 37. It is indeed a marvelous wonder and had received the space in scripture that such an event is worthy of. It is recorded in many places in Isaiah as those mentioned here as well as chapters 10 and 22 and in 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles where great space is given to the miracle. God indeed directly intervened in historical time with a great wonder. It is we believers who do not see it in the proportion of the wonder that it was.

Verses 15 – 24: The conclusion: The coming siege of Jerusalem will result in a revival of knowledge of God and in the faith in the purpose of God. The same thing happens in all God’s dealings with men. They are not able to hide their unbelief. In spite of them there are days of blessings coming in the future that God has promised. Evil men just as Sennacherib will disappear and their hopes will have been frustrated. The innocent who now suffer will have their faith in God justified and just as God led and blessed Abraham so will he now deliver the house of Israel from the hands of the Assyrians. When those who have endured this siege see the next generation they will remember God’s goodness and even the doubters will come to faith and study to know more about God.

Items for Discussion

  • Who ultimately wins and why?
  • How are these passages in Isaiah a description of today’s events?
  • Can the people of today take hope in God in the same way as Isaiah’s time?
  • What role does humility play?
  • What should God’s people do?

 

Mark 7:31-37
31 Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. 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.”

Background 4

Of Mark, the writer of this gospel, little is certainly known. He is commonly supposed to be the same that is several times mentioned in the New Testament. He was not an apostle, or companion of the Lord Jesus, during his ministry, though some of the Fathers affirm that he was one of the seventy disciples. This is improbable, as he is mentioned by Peter (1 Peter 5:13) as his son; from which it is supposed that he was converted by the instrumentality of Peter.

From the New Testament, we learn that he was sister’s son to Barnabas, (Colossians 4:10;) and that his mother’s name was Mary, a pious woman in Jerusalem, at whose house the apostles and primitive Christians often assembled, Acts 12:12.

His Hebrew name was John, (Acts 12:12,) and it is probable that he adopted a name better known, or more familiar, when he visited the Gentiles, a practice not uncommon in that age. He was at first the companion of Paul and Barnabas, in their journeys to propagate Christianity, Acts 13:5. He chose not to attend them through their whole journey, but left them in Pamphylia, and probably returned to Jerusalem, Acts 15:38. Probably at this time he was the companion of Peter, and travelled with him to Babylon, 1 Peter 5:13. Afterwards he went with Barnabas to Cyprus, Acts 15:39. Subsequently he went to Rome, at the express desire of Paul, in company with Timothy, 2 Timothy 4:11. He remained at Rome while Paul was a captive there, but how long is uncertain, Colossians 4:10; Philemon 1:24. From Eusebius, Epiphanius, and Jerome, we hear that Mark went from Rome to Alexandria, in Egypt, where he planted a church, and died and was buried in the eighth year of the reign of Nero, A.D. 64.

The time when this gospel was written is not certainly known. It is supposed to have been between the years 56 and 63. It is allowed by all that it was written at Rome; of course, it was during the latter years of his life, after the apostles had left Judea, Mark 16:20. Mark was, for a considerable time, the companion of Peter. Though he had not himself been with the Savior in his ministry, yet, from his long acquaintance with Peter, he was familiar with the events of his life, and with his instructions. The uniform testimony of the Fathers is, that he was the interpreter of Peter, and that he wrote this Gospel under the eye of Peter, and with his approbation. It has come down to us, therefore, with the sanction of Peter’s authority. Its right to a place among the inspired books has never been questioned. That it was written by Mark; that it was with Peter’s approbation; that it was a record of the facts which Peter stated in his ministry; and that it was, therefore, an inspired book has never been questioned.

Biblical Truths 5

Encounters with Jesus are typically life-changing experiences, for the disciples as well as those He helped. What is interesting is that no matter how much Jesus told the crowd to be quiet about what He had done, they always told someone else. Jesus’ instructions were incompatible with their own joy. Jesus was being practical and humble but those around Him were astonished and could not keep quiet.

Wherever Jesus went and not matter what situation confronted Him, everything he touched became like new. Jesus had just traveled over 60 miles from another city/country of Tyre. He went away to get a break and spend time just with His disciples. But His miracles followed Him there too. It didn’t seem to matter who came to Him for help. Those that came were sad, broken, and despondent and had serious physical impairments. Many of them had to be ‘brought.’ Perhaps they didn’t know about Jesus’ ability to help them, or perhaps they just couldn’t come. This is the case with this man in the story. “They brought to Him one who was deaf and spoke with difficulty.” Could there be a more difficult case? This man probably could not have understood what others were trying to tell him about Jesus. One other point, the problems with this man were such that everyone would know if he got well or not.

One could speculate whether the crowd saw this man laying by the roadside and wondered whether he could be helped by Jesus or that they were just testing out Jesus to see what He really could do. Jesus, however, knew several things about this man.

  • First, this case would be difficult. We can see Jesus’ elaborate healing measures.
  • Second, Jesus resisted ‘impressing’ the crowd. He healed privately.
  • Third, Jesus cared about the person and not His own reputation. He told the crowd not to say anything.

Jesus refused to take the regular healing measures. Jesus shattered the simple ‘lay the hands on’ means of healing this time. He stuck His fingers in the person’s actual ears and with His spit touched the tongue of the man. Finally, He called to God and commanded, “Be opened.” This might seem a bit strange to us today, but the crowd was very surprised at Jesus’ immediate success of healing that man. The crowd summed it up, “He has done all things well; He makes even the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.” Confidence in Jesus began to grow and grow. With this miracle, one could see the crowd thinking who they could bring to Jesus to be healed.

Items for Discussion

  • What is unique about deafness, deafness from birth as compared to other infirmities such as blindness?
  • What does this miracle tell us about Jesus?
  • Why do you think Jesus keeps telling people not to tell anyone every time he performs a healing-they don’t seem to listen?
  • What do you think the role of humility is with respect to a Christian (see Moses)?
  • How does humility make one more effective in accomplishing things?
  • Nothing is given to us in Scripture about the deaf man but mostly about the crowd-why might the crowd be the focus of this miracle?

Discussion Challenge

  • How do we bring more people in need to Christ for healing?
Share