Why did Jesus come to the earth? What was the purpose of the appearing of the Son of God on this earth for mankind? Well there were a number of reasons for his appearing, the main one of which was to give man salvation through his death and resurrection and the introduction of the New Covenant. But there were other reasons, and one of those is alluded to here in this short section of scripture.
The people brought a man to Jesus who was deaf and as a consequence had a significant speech impediment. They asked if Jesus would heal him. So Jesus took him aside and did as they asked and he opened the ears of the man so that he could hear and removed the speech impediment.
Now there were many miracles performed by Jesus, but this is an interesting one. When John the Baptist sent his disciples to Jesus to enquire whether he was the one who was to come, Jesus replied, “And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at me.” (Matthew 11:4-6)
This was both an answer to their question and also shows a practical application of the fulfilment of prophecy. In Matthew 13 Jesus said,
13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
14 With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which says: ‘You shall indeed hear but never understand, and you shall indeed see but never perceive.
15 For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are heavy of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn for me to heal them.’
The people who were not able to hear or not prepared to hear would not be able to understand what he was talking about. To them the parables would be just an interesting story and many of the words of Jesus fell on deaf ears. Although they could hear and see, they did not understand or perceive what he spoke about.
But then we see him speaking to his disciples in Matthew 13 saying,
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.
17 Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
To those who receive his words and seek his ways, the parables are opened up and they are given spiritual insight. The words take on a meaning far beyond the simple stories that were being told. They became knowledge of the truth of the kingdom of God and were powerful representations of these truths.
Thus when we see Jesus open the ears of this deaf man, we see an analogy to the way he opens the ears of those who come to him. When we come to the Lord and open ourselves to him and his words, our ears are opened to understand, and our eyes are opened to perceive. Perception and understanding are of the spirit, whereas sight and hearing are of the flesh. He gives us the power through the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit to perceive and understand what he is saying and to recognise the power of his truths.
To the rest of the world, the knowledge of the kingdom of God is like foolishness. They do not understand the power that is in the death and resurrection of Jesus, for these simple things we preach like faith, grace and walking in the Spirit will lead us to eternal life. It is these things that we hear when the Lord opens our ears, just as the man heard the words of Jesus when he opened his ears all those years ago.
(Picture sourced from http://clipart.ochristian.com/)