And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” (Mk 7:34)
Have you ever wondered what Jesus thought about the struggles of life that we encounter - persistent pains and heartaches, even physical ailments, that just linger? With the help of Max Lucado, I've always been struck by how Jesus healed a deaf man in Mark 7. Jesus healed the blind, the deaf, the paralyzed - you name it. But before he healed this particular person, he did something different. He looked into heaven - as if to pray - and then - watch for it - he sighed. For a brief moment, we see his humanity as well as his divinity at work in a very real and emotional response to the man's need.
Jesus sighed because he felt that thing that we all feel these days. This world is not the way it is supposed to be. Sometimes life is good and things are popping, and it is hard not to smile. Other times, things seem out of whack. Imagine Jesus looking at those with us and sighing. The sigh is a reflection of our and His longing for more and for better things.
The gospel is that Jesus isn't just longing for better things in his humanity. He has the ability to make all things new as the God-man. He goes on and "opens" the man's ears so he can hear again. Imagine the first words that this deaf man hears is from the Son of God himself. This is what Christmas is about. Christ comes into a world full of sighs to redeem and give hope. He enters into our many sighs and offers deliverance of a different kind - starting with our hearts. The next time you hear bad news or look at pandemic numbers, remember Jesus sighs with you, he sighs with us - and then touches us with words of life in His gospel.