Today's verses are Mark 7:33-35: "And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue.  And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, 'Ephphatha,' that is, 'Be opened.'  And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly." A group of people (friends? family?) had brought a deaf man who had a speech impediment to Jesus.  They begged him to lay his hand on him and heal him.  Their "begging" is a form of intercessory prayer.  They interceded with persistence for his healing.  It's a good model for those of us with loved ones we care about and want them healed.

Jesus took the man aside to a private place away from the crowds.  Why did he do this?  Perhaps it was because of the unbelief of the crowds.  Remember in Nazareth how he could not do many mighty miracles because of their unbelief?  Or perhaps it was because he didn't want his miracles to become a spectacle to the masses, thus avoiding a carnival atmosphere for this very sacred moment of healing.

Jesus puts his fingers into his ears.  He spit on other fingers and touches the tongue.  This was normal medical practice for that day and, somewhat, for ours too.  When something hurts, we touch and rub it.  Or we ask a physical masseur or therapist to give us a rubdown, massage when our muscles ache.  When we burn or cut something, we immediately put the burned or cut part of our body to our lips and place spittle on it to soothe the pain.  Perhaps Jesus is trying to tell all of us that when we are sick or hurt, we need to pray with passion and persistence for God's healing.  We also need to go see a doctor!  Both are ways God works when we hurt physically.

Finally, before speaking to the man the word "Ephphatha," (which means "be opened"), Jesus "sighs."  He sighs.  About what does he sigh?  He sighs over what sin has done over God's once perfect creation.  Jesus sighs over the Fall of Genesis 3.  He sighs over sickness, blindness, deafness, pain, hopelessness, despair, depression and death, none of which were a part of God's original plan for his children.  He sighs over the pain and decadence that have swept over the world he created.  He sighs over people's spiritual deafness and blindness in not accepting who he is and his gift of eternal life.

Then he healed the man.  His ears were opened and his tongue began speaking plainly.

Jesus wants to give all of us his grace today too.  He wants to forgive all our sins, give us his eternal presence and grant us eternal life.  In some cases, he wants to heal your diseases and heal your sin-sick soul.

Do you want this?  Then it begins with a "sigh."  There is a need for all of us to "sigh", over our sins and our contribution to the Fall.  We too need to "sigh" over God's heart grieving with what we've done to his once-perfect creation.  This "sigh" is the only way we can go to the Father.  It is the first step in Jesus healing us! Without it, he cannot heal us.

Today, "sigh" with Jesus over the condition of your life and your soul.  Ask for his healing power to come to you, to restore that which is broken and alienated from God.  Then go to him and ask for his healing touch on your life.

He desires to do so.  But we must first go to him with our "sigh."