Jesus Opens Us
I was recently asked, "Does Jesus ever just get fed up with how much time I need to spend each day taking care of myself? I have so many aches and pains, and so many things I need to do so I can function. I just wondered, does He ever get irritated that I spend so much time taking care of myself and so little time paying attention to Him?"
So, does He or doesn't He? Is Jesus repulsed by our fleshiness? Is He disgusted by our crow's feet, ingrown toenails, and varicose veins? Does He hold His nose at the stink of us? No, of course not. Jesus doesn't do any of that. And here's the proof: He's taken on flesh and blood. He’s born in the flesh. Jesus has got our eyes and nose, our ears and tongue, and our fingers and our toes.
For example, Jesus took his fingers and put them into a deaf, mute man’s ears. He took His mouth, spit, and touched the man’s useless tongue. Then Jesus turned his eyes toward heaven, groaned, and spoke a word. He said, “Ephphatha,” which is the Aramaic word for, “Be opened.”
The man couldn’t hear, so Jesus said, “Be opened!” The man couldn’t speak either, so Jesus said, “Be opened! Immediately, the man's ears were opened, and his tongue was set loose. Jesus didn’t pull back from the deaf and dumb man. Jesus didn’t brush him off because he couldn’t hear and speak. Instead, Jesus touched him. Jesus put His fingers in the man’s ears, spit, and touched the man's tongue.
In the same way, Jesus doesn’t pull back from us either. He sees us as we are, all our faults and fake smiles, flaws and false ideas. He sees us as we are, and still gets down and dirty to be our Savior. He took on flesh and blood so that He could be beaten down into the dirt for us. He was beaten until He fell onto His hands and knees. He was beaten until He groaned. He was beaten until He sighed. Then He was lifted up out of the dirt so they could drive nails into His hands and feet.
This is why Jesus has taken our flesh onto Himself. He takes our sins onto Himself. He takes our sickness, our diseases, and our death onto Himself. There's not a single sin we can dig up for which Jesus hasn’t already died. There's no debt we owe that He hasn’t paid in full. There are none of our sicknesses (of body, soul, or mind) for which He hasn't already suffered. There is no death for which He didn't already die, and when they laid Him to rest in the dirt, He then opened the grave. He "ephatha-ed" our grave and ordered every grave to be opened.
This fact is what we Christians cling to when life gets rough. We get sick. Things don't go as we plan or want. Our eyes, or ears, or tongue, or heart, or mind won't work the way God designed them to work. We will someday die. Maybe even today. But, we won’t stay dead. That's impossible ever since Jesus "ephatha-ed" the grave for us.
Jesus opened our ears and mouth when He baptizes us. Jesus put His fingers into our ears, speaks to us, and washes our sins away. That's why, in the early church, the pastor would put His fingers into the baptismal candidate's ears and say, “Ephphatha.” That's the great baptismal confession of the Church. When we were born, we couldn’t hear God’s words or speak to our Creator. But when we were reborn at the font, Jesus “ephphatha-ed" us. He opened our ears and mouth.
Jesus is as down and dirty, as down to earth as it gets. There's no bodily, mental, or soulful difference between Jesus and us. He is flesh and blood, just like us. He has eyes, just like us, ears just like us, a tongue just like us, and a heart and a mind, just like us.
This man, Jesus, is God come to us in flesh and blood and as concrete and real as anybody else. And, since He comes to us, there’s no need for us to go and look around to find God. God is one of us, flesh and blood and all. He has "ephphatha-ed" us. He has opened us up to enjoy being human, with all of our faults, flaws, and false ideas that Jesus may be disgusted by us. He has opened our ears to hear the truth from Him. He’s set our tongue loose to praise and thank Him. Jesus opens us up, all of ourselves, to live, and move, and simply be in Him, today and always.