It’s a common theme throughout Scripture that God looks at our hearts and therefore our actions should be about being pleasing and obedient to Him and not to put on a show for others to see. If what we do happens to be seen by others, or by His direction must be seen by others, then so be it. Most of Jesus’ miracles were public. He was pressed in and there were so many to minister to that He could not have it any other way. Others were private. The first miracle at the wedding in Cana was such an example. Most folks had no idea where the wine came from. And so we see with today’s miracle that Jesus wasn’t about public show, but about real needs:
Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 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. And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” – Mark 7:31-37, ESV
There was a crowd and there was a man brought before Him who needed healing. This man was both deaf and had a speech impediment (likely due to the deafness, but we’re not told why). Jesus doesn’t heal this man in front of the crowd. Rather, He takes him aside and heals him in private. It wasn’t about the show. It was about meeting this man’s needs. Now you think about the elaborate actions Jesus takes in this miracle, too. He puts His fingers into the man’s ears, then wets His own finger and touches the man’s tongue. Only then does He, after looking up to the Father, ask that they be opened. Think about what those touches meant to the man. They revealed that Jesus took his condition seriously and was actively at work to correct it. And then, as expected, the man was healed. His ears were immediately opened and he could speak quite clearly. Jesus met the man’s need at every level.
What He does next is something we’ve seen Jesus do before. He asks that they not spread the news of what He has done. This is in keeping with what Paul revealed about Christ in Philippians 2:
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. – Philippians 2:8, ESV
Jesus hadn’t come to glorify Himself, but the Father. And in this instance, He remained true to that purpose, and that’s why He again asked that no mention be made of the miracle. But as we might expect, the folks who saw it couldn’t restrain themselves. They shared what had been done all the more. And as they did so, they talked about Jesus’ nature: how He did all things well. Think about that for a minute. None of us can make the same claim. There are certainly things we’re great at. But there are other things we’re terrible at. But not Jesus. Everything He attempted He did well. He even did things that were beyond natural ability. That’s what the people were saying.
But do you know that God isn’t interested in our particular ability in something so much as He is our hearts? That’s really the crux of this miracle. Jesus did the miracle in private. He didn’t do it for show. He did it because He was reaching out and taking care of a need, and in doing so glorifying the Father. We’re called to the same. What we lack, the Father will complete. He just wants our obedience (in the fullest sense of the word) and He’ll take care of the rest. It’s not about us, but it’s about Him. We do it not for us, but for Him. And that’s how we can be used to be miracles in the lives of those around us. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.