Thursday, May 13, 2021
“And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him” (Mark 7:32 KJV).
What can this tongue-tied man possibly teach us?
Our English idiom “tongue-tied” simply means someone is unable or unwilling to speak freely, such as due to embarrassment or surprise. Also, there is a literal or pathological application, a birth defect known as “tongue-tie” (“ankyloglossia,” or “hooked tongue”), when a band of tissue, the frenulum, attaches the tongue’s bottom to mouth’s floor, thus limiting tongue movement. Consequently, speech can be impaired, and surgery may be necessary.
Friend, to understand what a speech impediment entails, hold your tongue with your thumb and index finger and attempt to speak. Coherent language is nearly impossible; the result is mere babbling or gibberish. Whatever the case—it was a physical problem of some kind (not nervousness or astonishment)—the man in today’s Scripture was unable to produce intelligible or meaningful speech. The Bible calls it an “impediment,” a blockage or hindrance. He talks with great difficulty, as if something has been wrapped around his tongue. Verse 35 provides this imagery: “And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.” Christ healing his tongue is like undoing a cord wrapped around something. His tongue, having full range of motion, now freely articulates words. (Plus, his sense of hearing has also been restored.)
It is definitely not coincidental that a man who has obstructed speech appears precisely in chapter 7 of Mark. Prior to the miracle of today’s Scripture, we find the Lord voicing His utter disapproval of Israel: “ He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.  Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.  For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.  And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” Israel has a spiritual speech impediment….