Mark 7:34-35 – [Jesus] looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, "Ephphatha!" which means, Be opened. At this, the man's ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly. (AMP)
When I was old enough to use the stove unattended, I went wild with "experimental" dishes. Today, they'd seem pretty tame, but my meat-and-potatoes Dad saw every one of them as disastrous. He refused to eat things like pork and beans garnished with hard-cooked egg, raisin pie with orange zest, or peanut butter double-chocolate icing. Fifteen cookbooks later, he allowed that I "might be onto something!"
Jesus had the same problem with His nearest and dearest. Like my Dad, the disciples weren't eager to experience the unknown or unfamiliar. In the chapter before today's Scripture, Mark describes their hearts as "callous and dull" (Mark 6:52).
"Ephphatha!" Jesus said. "Ephphatha, be opened."
Isn't it odd? Mark tells us that people were amazed that Jesus made the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak, but by the next chapter, His closest friends seemed to have forgotten already.
Mark 8:17b-18 – Do you not yet discern or understand? Are your hearts in [a settled state of] hardness? Having eyes, do you not see [with them], and having ears, do you not hear and perceive and understand the sense of what is said? And do you not remember? (AMP)
Do we, too, need our eyes and ears opened? How receptive are we to the ways of Jesus? Do we question when He takes us out of our comfort zone into things like illness, financial woes, and heartache? Do we stall when He calls us to mission trips and church service, hoping that we have misheard His voice? Do we consistently trust ourselves more than we trust Him?
Or have we learned that He is always right? Do we eagerly move forward onto new paths, ears open and ready to do His bidding?
Anybody can go along for the ride, but if we have a personal relationship with Jesus, we are His nearest and dearest. We are not just part of the crowd. Are we joyously participating in the life He offers us? Or like the disciples, are we standing on the edge of the crowd, ears closed and hearts callous and dull, while others open themselves to all He has to offer?
Prayer: Ephphatha us, Lord! Open us to all You want us to do and to be. Amen.