Friday of week 5

The phrase ‘he makes the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak’ is a quote from the Prophet Isaiah [Isaiah 29:18] and is used to emphasise that Jesus is the Messiah, promised from ancient times. Yet, Jesus does everything that he can to prevent this startling news from getting out. This is known as the messianic secret and characterises many events as told in Mark.

The way that the healing is described is startling. Close physical contact with an ill person – and a death mute would have been considered unwell and unclean – would be provocative to jewish readers. But remember, Mark is mainly writing to a greek speaking and gentile audience, to whom the touching of one person’s tongue with your own (how else would you touch someones tongue with your spittle?) might not be so scandalous. The symbols of touching used, serve to emphasise that the healing is physical, not just spiritual or mental. God is not above touching us!

We also hear one of the very few words spoken in Jesus’ own tongue in this reading. ‘Ephphatha’ is Aramaic.  Even in a greek text written for gentile readers, the author includes christ’s own tongue.

Posted in Daily Reflection.