Proclaiming Jesus with Zeal

Isaiah 354–5 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Mark 7:31–37 (ESV)

31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

Parallel Text: Matthew 15:29-31

Understanding and Applying the Word

Jesus was traveling in the region of the Decapolis, the ten cities. This region was largely Gentile in population and points us to the fact that Jesus did not only come to minister to and save the Jewish people, but came as the Savior of all of mankind.

In these verses, Jesus again performed a miracle of healing a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment. When the crowds saw what Jesus did, they were “astonished beyond measure” (v. 37). The comment of the crowd as quoted in verse 37 points back to Isaiah 35:1-10, which states that there would be a day when God would work in a special way among his people. In that day, the blind, deaf, lame, and mute would be healed. In Jesus, that day had dawned. Jesus attempted to quiet the fast-spreading news of his miracle-working, but the people were talking. The news traveled far and wide and the crowds were growing larger and larger as people came with their sick and to see who this man, Jesus, was.

It is interesting to see the zeal of the crowds in spreading the news of Jesus. No one could keep them quiet! How wonderful it would be in our day if we shared the same passion. What would this world be like if believers everywhere were as ready to share the Good News of Jesus, the one who brings salvation to all? Yet, most believers are all too ready to remain quiet and speak little of Jesus. Let us not remain quiet, but let us tell the world of the One who brings life and healing to all who call on him!

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Pearls before Pigs

black hog prone lying on soil under shade of tree

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

 

Reading the Word

Matthew 7:6 (ESV)

6 “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This is a short passage and may seem a little harsh. Who are the “dogs” and pigs” Jesus is talking about and what are the “pearls” we should hold onto? The dogs that Jesus refers to are not domesticated pets, but wild scavengers. Pigs, under Old Testament law (Deuteronomy 14:8), were considered unclean and were not to be eaten by the Jewish people. So, when Jesus speaks of dogs and pigs here, he is speaking of unholy and unclean people who have no regard for what is sacred.

When Jesus speaks of pearls, he is speaking of that which is most precious. Of course, that which is most precious to Jesus’ followers is the message of the kingdom itself (cf. Matthew 13:45-46).

Does this mean we should not give the gospel message to some? No, but it does mean that we need to be discerning about when we do share. If our sharing is only going to result in the mocking of or trampling of the gospel in mud by the person we are sharing with (like some of the arguments people get into on social media), we are better not to share. There may be a better opportunity with the same person later when they are truly ready to listen and consider rather than attack. We are called to go into the world and proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ, but let us pray for discernment in how we do that and let us also pray that God would prepare hearts to hear the truth.

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I Will Speak before Kings

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Reading the Word

Psalm 119:41–48 (ESV)

41 Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord, your salvation according to your promise; 42 then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me, for I trust in your word. 43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for my hope is in your rules. 44 I will keep your law continually, forever and ever, 45 and I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought your precepts. 46 I will also speak of your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame, 47 for I find my delight in your commandments, which I love. 48 I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Boldness. This is the theme of these verses. The psalmist writes of speaking boldly to the world concerning the word of God. He will answer the one who taunts and he will speak before kings.

Too many of us are reluctant to share the word of God with those we know. Why is this? Is it because we do not believe it ourselves? Is it because we do not trust God’s word? Or, is it because we do not think of it as highly as we ought? We do not cherish it and love it as the very thing that gives us life and hope in this world. May we grow in our love for God’s word and may we proclaim it to a world that needs it more than ever.

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