Tongue-Tied! #2

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: “[6] 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. [7] Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. [8] 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. [9] 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….