Many people know the story of Jesus healing the blind man by spitting in the mud and rubbing it on his eyes. It’s a strange thing because you’re thinking… “why spit?” Yesterday we read about Jesus healing blind Bartimaeus just by granting him healing. Just saying it. In the gospel of Mark Chapter 8, we run into another funny scene with Jesus.
Jesus Heals a Deaf Man
31 Jesus left Tyre and went up to Sidon before going back to the Sea of Galilee and the region of the Ten Towns. 32 A deaf man with a speech impediment was brought to him, and the people begged Jesus to lay his hands on the man to heal him.
33 Jesus led him away from the crowd so they could be alone. He put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then, spitting on his own fingers, he touched the man’s tongue. 34 Looking up to heaven, he sighed and said, “Ephphatha,” which means, “Be opened!” 35 Instantly the man could hear perfectly, and his tongue was freed so he could speak plainly!
I mean what an incredible story… but why the spit?
As it turns out, Jewish Rabbi’s of the day believed that there were healing properties in spit. Now surely Jesus knows that this isn’t the case, but what Rabbi’s taught is what people thought.
So often we see Jesus asking people if they believe, and what they want. He is asking them if they have faith and stirring up faith in them to be healed.
This man, however, can’t hear a thing, and couldn’t even respond if he understood. But he, being a Jewish man, would likely believe that spit…. could heal him.
So picture yourself as him…. your friends have dragged you to this man, who takes you aside and sticks his fingers in your ears (Dry willy?). You may be standing there thinking, what is the story with this guy? But then he spits….
Suddenly you realize that this man may heal you. You may be set free. Imagine the sense of hope and expectancy that wells up inside of you as you see him spit on his fingers, and as he lifts them toward your face — you stick your tongue out believing that you can be healed.
Now, of course, the spit didn’t make the miracle happen. But there often is this relationship between our faith, and our expectancy and Jesus moving. In this case, Jesus stirs up the man’s faith by using a symbol.
In the modern day church, we often place so much significance on conferences and ministry moments. In fact, depending on who you ask they would say that in these settings are when God moves. And to be honest, it’s true. I have been in conference settings where God has done something in my life that has totally changed me. But it wasn’t the power of the conference. It’s not as if God becomes more powerful when we are in a large group setting, it’s not as if outside of that he can’t do the same transformation. But, there is something about conferences that stir up our faith, stir up our expectancy, make us believe that in THAT setting things will change. In fact, this devotional is meant to stir that up in you! We want you to walk into conference feeling like “I am going to encounter God and never be the same.” “I am going to receive my breakthrough.” “I am going to meet with the presence of the creator of heaven and earth.” I mean come on somebody! AND, I believe in those things and whatever else you are believing God for in your life! But let’s be real, the conference is just spitting, it’s meant to stir up expectation and faith, but in and of its self the reason that it is significant is because of the faith and expectation we bring to the table.
God is always working with us and on us. In fact, we should be like what is being described in 2 Corinthians 3:18
“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”
It doesn’t take a conference – it takes seeing the glory of God, encountering Jesus. That’s what changes us. So that’s why I am believing even now that this amazing changing into his image can start in your life even before the conference. How amazing is it, though, that God is willing to use something as silly as spit to stir up our faith… about as amazing as using something like a large group of people in a room for a day focusing on him to stir up faith.
Church I am believing that God is going to do incredible things in your life at this conference. I am confident that if you walk in expecting God to move he will.
And, just like this man, I am believing that in a spiritual sense (just like your eyes) that God wants to open up your ears: Open up your ears to hear and discern his voice, and his leading. Open your ears to hear the cry of those in need, and discern when someone is crying for help.
I believe that God wants to loosen your tongue: So often we can spend hours talking about the latest celebs, and trends, or inconsequential talk, but when it comes to sharing the gospel, or talking about Jesus, or bringing a word of encouragement, or correction, or preaching even…. we get all tongue tied. Well, I don’t believe that’s where God wants to leave you. I believe that if all that attended conference left that place with their eyes open, their ears hearing, and their tongues loosened, that it wouldn’t take all that long to see an incredible move of God on our campuses, in our cities, and in our church.
And if God needs to use a little spit (conference) to make you expectant – so be it.
It’s going to be amazing church. I hope your expectancy is rising.