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When someone is deaf, he normally will have difficulty speaking clearly and in an understandable way, even if there's nothing wrong with his mouth or vocal cords. The reason is because we learn to talk by comparing what we hear ourselves say with what others say. If we can't hear, we can't learn to talk. And if a hearing person becomes deaf, his speech will gradually become more difficult for others to understand, since he can no longer hear himself speak and thus judge how clearly he is speaking. This was perhaps the case of the deaf man with a speech impediment about whom we read.
We don't know why Jesus put His fingers in the man's ears or why He spit on His own fingers and then touched the deaf man's tongue, but we assume He was being led by the Holy Spirit. The wonderful thing is that the man was instantly healed. Can you imagine his joy? Think of how blessed you are if your hearing is good.
This man was only one of the many Jesus healed when He returned from the region of Tyre. As we read yesterday, He healed many who were blind, deaf, mute and lame. From today's reading, we can conclude that Jesus didn't heal them just to prove He was the Son of God. He told the crowd not to tell anyone about His miracles, indicating that He healed because He loved people, not because He was trying to prove His deity or advertise Himself. This should encourage those of us who need healing today, because Jesus is just as merciful now as He was when He walked on the earth. Too many people think that Jesus healed only during His earthly ministry to prove He was God in the form of a human being, and then conclude that He won't heal them since His deity was well-established two thousand years ago.
Today we also read how Jesus once again multiplied loaves of bread and fish. This time there were seven large baskets of food left over, showing how gracious God is---Jesus provided more than they even needed. We should expect that God will do the same for us. Let us not forget, however, that the people who were miraculously blessed with food were not those who were sitting at home, but those who had sought to be with Jesus. God has promised to supply all our needs if we will live for Him and make His kingdom our primary concern (see Matthew 6:33).
Q. How many people did Jesus feed in today's story?
A. This is somewhat of a trick question! Mark's Gospel says that Jesus fed four thousand people (see Mark 8:9). So you may have answered four thousand. However, the same story is found in Matthew's Gospel, and Matthew specifies that Jesus fed four thousand men, "in addition to all the women and children" (Matthew 15:38). If every man was married and had four children, Jesus fed twenty-four thousand people that day!
Application: We should look to Jesus not only as our Savior, but as the one who supplies all our needs. God is the one who created us with a need to eat, drink, sleep and be clothed, and so we should expect that He will take care of all those things for us.