God Makes all things work together for our good and Grants Spiritual Hearing & Understanding
Mark 7:31-37 - 12th Sunday after Trinity - September 7, 2014

Dear believers in Christ, redeemed of God, children of God. Jesus Christ is surely with you just as He was with this man. Most of all He is with you to bring you the comfort of His Word, to strengthen your faith, to continue to open your heart and increase your understanding, as we grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

That’s the part we do know, by Grace. The hard part is what we don’t know. We don’t know what He has planned for us for this body and for this earthly life. And it seems like as soon as we think we do know, things can change in the blink of an eye. And sometimes it can seem so contrary to what we think it should be. Yet His promise will forever remain true: He will make all things work together for our good. And He has, and He will. Even when we cannot see the fulfillment of that promise, even when it might feel like it is so completely not true, it is by His Grace that we can, and we do still put our trust in Him, and He promises He will never let us down.

In fact, He is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” That means that often our idea of what is best for us, is nothing compared to what He has in store for us. He has so much more to give. His plan is so much better than ours, above what we can ask or think. That’s why we pray, “Thy will be done.”

Jesus Christ came to this earth first and foremost to bear our sin, and to grant us assurance in the forgiveness of our sin, to guide and lead you by the green pastures of His Word, and the still waters of the Sacraments, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

It can be a hard truth to face, but He did not come with an immediate, and primary concern of the healing the body, but rather, the healing of the soul, as the Bible says, “First of all...Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And He was buried, and He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” He came to grant us that assurance.

In time, it absolutely is God’s will that all believers in Christ be completely healed of every single affliction, and in time, that is exactly what will happen, by His grace, when we all rise from our graves. But until that day, Scripture says, “we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”

In the meantime He will hear our every concern in Christ’s name. But when we pray for the needs of the body, again, we still pray, “Thy will be done.” By Grace we trust that He always knows, and will give, what is best for us. The time and the manner may not be what we think it should be. Yet by Grace, we can, and we do trust that He will make it all work together for our good.

Today’s lesson may seem like such a short and simple story. Jesus heals a man. Great. But what’s that got to do with me? Everything really.

There’s so much more to the story than what lies on the surface. It’s actually your story and mine. We are that man. Another hard truth to face, but, by nature, we are that man, spiritually. Being born and conceived in sin, we cannot hear, we cannot speak, spiritually, we cannot understand God’s Word, or the salvation He brings. (Scripture adds more to the list saying, by nature, we’re also spiritually blind, yes, even spiritually dead). So, by nature we are separated, and isolated from God, enemies of God. Spiritually deaf, “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” Spiritually mute, “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.”

The natural man hears that Jesus died and rose again, but he doesn’t really hear. And so he says: “how foolish to think that heaven is completely free because of Christ. Look at what I can do God. Look at me. Look at how great I am.”

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God…it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”

The sinful human nature doesn’t want to hear that we are incapable of saving ourselves by our own good works. The natural man loves to hear how good he is, and boast how he can earn a place in heaven.

Yet, God still sent His Son to heal this spiritual disease in us.

Imagine this: what doctor would actually take our disease, even a terminal disease, and literally cause himself to be sick with it in order to heal us? Yet, that’s what Christ did, the great physician of both body and soul. God “hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” So, “He hath born our griefs, and carried our sorrows…He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.”

Christ groaned when He healed the man, because He was touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He takes our pain, our sin, our trouble, our loneliness, and He makes it all His own, and He overcomes it all for us.

Jesus opens our spiritual ears and unlooses our spiritual tongues, that we may believe in Him with our hearts and confess Him with our mouths and be saved. “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

Why? Because the Word of God is inheritantly powerful. Why? Because God’s Spirit always works through it. “The Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

When Christ teaches His Word, the healing power of God’s Spirit comes into our ears. The Holy Spirit opens our hearts that we may believe in Christ and receive assurance thatGod is at peace with us for Christ’s sake.

As with the man in the lesson, Jesus takes us aside, personally, and individually, in our Baptism, and touches us through the water, which is not just water, but water comprehend in and connected to God’s Word.

In the Lord’s Supper, He also takes us aside, personally, individually, and touches us, with the bread and wine, which contain His true body and blood (in, with, under the bread and wine) for the remission of our sins.

Hearing this salvation with our ears, believing it in our hearts, confessing it with our mouths, we also know He will continue to make all things work together in such a way that best serves the salvation of our eternal soul.

So, during both the good and the bad, God grant we continue to hear, confess, and believe: Jesus "hath done all things well: He maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak." Amen.