on Mark 7 :33
And he spit, and touched his tongue - This place is exceedingly difficult. There is scarcely an action of our Lord's life but one can see an evident reason for, except this. Various interpretations are given of it - none of them satisfies my mind. The Abbe Giradeau spiritualizes it thus: -
1. He took him aside from the multitude - When Christ saves a sinner, he separates him from all his old evil companions, and from the spirit and maxims of an ungodly world.
2. He put his fingers in his ears - to show that they could be opened only by the finger, i.e. the power, of God, and that they should be shut to every word and voice, but what came from him.
3. Spitting out he touched his tongue - to show that his mental taste and relish should be entirely changed: that he should detest those things which he before esteemed, and esteem those which he before hated.
4. Looking up to heaven - to signify that all help comes from God, and to teach the new convert to keep continually looking to and depending upon him.
5. He groaned - to show the wretched state of man by sins and how tenderly concerned God is for his present and eternal welfare; and to intimate that men should seek the salvation of God in the spirit of genuine repentance, with strong crying and tears.
6. He said, Be opened - Sin is a shutting of the ears against the words of God; and a tying of the tongue, to render it incapable of giving God due praise. But when the all-powerful grace of Christ reaches the heart, the ear is unstopped, and the man hears distinctly - the tongue is unloosed, and the man speaks correctly.
After all, it is possible that what is attributed here to Christ belongs to the person who was cured. I will give my sense of the place in a short paraphrase.
And Jesus took him aside from the multitude: and [the deaf man] put his fingers into his ears, intimating thereby to Christ that they were so stopped that he could not hear; and having spat out, that there might be nothing remaining in his mouth to offend the sight when Christ should look at his tongue, he touched his tongue, showing to Christ that it was so bound that he could not speak: and he looked up to heaven, as if to implore assistance from above: and he groaned, being distressed because of his present affliction, and thus implored relief: for, not being able to speak, he could only groan and look up, expressing by these signs, as well as he could, his afflicted state, and the desire he had to be relieved. Then Jesus, having compassion upon him, said, Be opened: and immediately his ears were opened, so that he could hear distinctly; and the impediment to his speaking was removed, so that he spake properly. The original will admit of this interpretation; and this, I am inclined to believe, is the true meaning of this otherwise (to me and many others) unaccountable passage.
on Mark 7 :33
And he took him aside from the multitude - Why this was done we have no means of information. It might have been to conceal from the multitude everything respecting the "manner" of cure, in order that none might attempt to cure in a similar way.
And he put his fingers into his ears ... - Why this was done it has been found exceedingly difficult to explain. Jesus had power at once to open his ears and loose his tongue, but for some cause he chose to accompany it with a sign. This was intended, probably, simply to denote that the power of healing came from him; to satisfy the man by the touch that he had this power, and that it could come from no other quarter. Our Saviour often used signs in this way to denote his power to heal. See Mark 8:23; John 9:6.
on Mark 7 :33
7:33 He put his fingers into his ears - Perhaps intending to teach us, that we are not to prescribe to him (as they who brought this man attempted to do) but to expect his blessing by whatsoever means he pleases: even though there should be no proportion or resemblance between the means used, and the benefit to be conveyed thereby.