He took him off by himself away from the crowd.
He put his finger into the man’s ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
“Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”)
Jesus in this healing does some seemingly bizarre things, almost as if his healings were brought about by either a witch doctor or magician. If you look at the first action and the last though, that cure does not seem so strange. He took the man away from the crowd, looked to heaven, and said be opened. Sure all of the other parts are specific to this individual, but Jesus constantly travelled and drew out crowds, prayed, and spoke or preached to that audience. He also most frequently responded to each groups or persons individual needs, just as he did with this person.
When looking at what Jesus did to heal, I wonder how many comparisons can be made between Jesus actions and this days memorial saints, the monk Cyril and his brother bishop Methodius? Like Jesus, these two saints looked up to heaven to heal people; they brought the message of Jesus to the Slavs. Being Greek they travelled a distance preaching that message. They venture where they are needed. While in the gospel Jesus sticks his finger into the mans ear and touches his tongue, these Saints develop a unique way of delivering Christ’s healing message to their audience. They are the ones who develop the Cyrillic alphabet, an adaptation of their Greek alphabet. They also translate the gospel into that Slavic language. Both are the means of delivering their “cure” to the people. I use the word “cure”, to mean the gospel.
Sometimes when reading the gospel healings it is difficult to fully understand what the illness is that Jesus cures. His illnesses are somewhat similar to those treated by modern medicine, yet his “cures” are so much different. In this illness though, he cured a deaf man with a speech impediment. It is not difficult to understand that combination of illnesses as so much of speaking properly depends on hearing properly. For Cyril and Methodius’s audience to follow the word of God properly, they required proper instructions such as those translated by those saints using that alphabet that they developed. With that they could hear the word delivered, read it, study it, and faithfully deliver it to others. In a bizarre way that was their way of sticking their finger into an ear, spitting, and touching someone’s tongue. Their mission was to bring that message to a new people, and they needed to devise a way to accomplish their goal. Both in Jesus healing and these Saints mission, success was the result of ingenuity. They used what ever means necessary, no matter how bizarre, to accomplish what they set out to do.