Into the Silent World
For each of us, there is one special story about Jesus that stands for all the rest—a tale that stirs us well beyond the ability of words to express.
For me, that story has always been the Gospel of Mark’s record of Jesus’ encounter with a deaf-mute man (Mark 7:31-37). Apparently strange, full of seemingly odd bits and pieces, it ultimately unfolds into an unsurpassed narrative of the Lord who will cross any barrier to reach the hurting and the lonely. Through gestures, sign, and pantomime, Jesus enters the silent world of one who could neither hear nor speak: the Word of God became, for this one man, the Sign of God, wordlessly communicating the grace and love that both healed and restored him to his community. Our astonishment as the story ends is not that Jesus can cause a deaf man to hear, but that His compassion is so singular, so focused on this individual, that He will do what no one else in His culture would do to communicate God’s amazing affection.
This story of healing is also a parable for His church, accustomed as it is to thinking of “the greatest good for the greatest number”—of majorities, efficiencies, and what most people want. Jesus intended that the church that acts in His name reproduce the same individualizing compassion—the same attention to unique challenges and giftedness—that characterized His own ministry. Jesus saw the potential disciple in each person He met—women and men, persons of all ethnicities, speakers of all languages, hearing and deaf, sighted and blind—and He tailored a ministry plan adapted to their need.
You’ll be encouraged as you read this month’s cover story to learn how your church is reaching out to the millions around the globe who specially identify with the story found in Mark 7. As you read, pray for a heart of compassion that is willing to cross any barrier with the good news of healing and restoration.