“They urged Jesus to lay His hand on him…So Jesus shoved His fingers into the man’s ears.”
INI + AMEN.
Jesus is a hands-on Savior. He saves. He does again and again. “Again He left the region of Tyre.” He doesn’t keep back from the unworthy, the outsiders, the sinners, those who need Him. He’s not far away in our text: “in the region of the Decapolis.” And that’s not just how He was in our text, but that’s how He is now—still is! For you He is. JESUS IS YOUR HANDS-ON SAVIOR.
((I. He’s hands-on somewhere.))
If you’re hands-on, then you’ve got to be hands-on somewhere. You can’t be hands-on from a distance, from far away. That wouldn’t be hands-on, at all! Jesus is hands-on, and so He’s got to be somewhere to do it.
Just look at the text! He goes somewhere—always somewhere. “Again after leaving the region of Tyre, He came through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis.” Jesus was hands-on in the region of Tyre. (He cast demon out of a Gentile woman’s daughter.) Now, He’s going somewhere else—the Decapolis, a region of ten Gentile cities that are east of the Sea of Galilee. (Still more Gentiles, more sinners for Jesus to be hands-on for.) Yet, He’s still somewhere.
The people get it. If you want Jesus, you need to be where He’s at. “They brought Him a deaf man who had a hard time talking.” They all knew Jesus was hands-on. That’s how He was, and that means Jesus goes somewhere to be hands-on, hands-on for you, and that means He’s only hands-on at that specific spot, that somewhere. So, that’s where they go. That’s where they’ve gotta go! That’s where they take that man, all so that Jesus “would lay His hand on Him.”
We’re not like those faithful people. We treat Jesus as if He’s wherever we want Him to be. We treat Jesus as if He’s far off somewhere. We treat Jesus as if He was somewhere, as if He was hands-on, but that He’s not really that way now. Now, He’s nowhere it seems to us. Well, He’s in “heaven,” right? And so we think “ascended into heaven” means He’s not around, that He’s far off, not somewhere, not hands-on.
We live our lives rejecting His somewhere-ness. We reject His Word, His Promise that He’s somewhere for us. Jesus says, “Where two or three are gathered in My Name, there I am among them.” Why else can we skip church, Sunday school, Bible class, the Supper, and even reading our Bibles, doing devotions, praying without much of a second thought? We live as if Jesus is there in heaven, but we are here putting in our time. That’s not a hands-on Jesus, but hands-off, far away. That’s looking at what we’re doing for Him, rather than what Jesus is doing for us—us rather than our hands-on Savior being right where He’s promised to be.
In spite of us, JESUS IS A HANDS-ON SAVIOR. He saves. He does again and again . He doesn’t keep back from the unworthy, the outsiders, the sinners, those who need Him He’s not far away in our text: “in the region of the Decapolis.”. And that’s not just how He was in our text, but that’s how He is now—still is! For you He is. In spite of you, JESUS IS YOUR HANDS-ON SAVIOR.
((II. When He’s hands-on, salvation happens!))
And when He’s hands-on, He’s really hands-on. When He’s hands-on things happen—salvation happens! Shoving fingers into ears sort of hands-on, spitting, touching tongues. Hearing given. Talking made whole. The deaf, mute man healed, saved, resurrected from his deafness, from His not being able to speak. All from Jesus’ fingers and Word.
To save you, to save sinners, Jesus gets His hands dirty—bloody, pierced! He goes somewhere to do it. Jerusalem. Calvary. His cross. There He is what you need Him most to be: Savior, your Savior. He’s hands-on all the way to suffering, to death, to being buried.
The way He’s hands-on is a bit shocking, a bit unexpected. When He gets hands-on it’s not the way we’d have our Savior be Savior. He does it His way: fingers shoved in ears, spitting, touching a tongue, groaning—“Ephphatha, be opened.” We wouldn’t have Him save the way He saves, “suffering, sighing, bleeding, dying,” “It is finished.”
The way it was then is the way it is now, too. Jesus IS hands-on, HE IS YOUR HANDS-ON SAVIOR, though all in His way. He chooses the way He gives Himself to you. It’s not what we want, but He gives what we need, given in the way He wants. And without Him giving Himself, putting Himself somewhere, you wouldn’t have Him! Don’t have Him! The man wasn’t saved in his home or in Tyre or in Sidon or Jerusalem or fishing on the Sea of Galilee.
So also today. Jesus ephphathas today. “Be opened!” Here, now, for you. For Wesley John today. No longer outcast. Jesus comes here. Water, word, salvation delivered. He puts His Word into your ears, too. His Body and blood for eating for the forgiveness of sins. Not what we expect. But it is what He does. That’s how He’s hands-on. That’s how He gives Himself. His forgiveness—full forgiveness, for you. Has to be for you. HE IS YOUR HANDS-ON SAVIOR, after all. Though He would suffer Himself to be rejected by you. He loves you unconditionally to give you what you want, even if that’s not Him—let you live forever apart from Him.
Jesus is a hands-on Savior. He saves. He does again and again. He doesn’t keep back from the unworthy, the outsiders, the sinners, those who need Him. He’s not far away in our text: “in the region of the Decapolis.”. And that’s not just how He was in our text, but that’s how He is now—still is! For you He is. Hands-on today! Somewhere today. Here. Right here. Water. Word. Body and blood. JESUS YOUR HANDS-ON SAVIOR.
INI + AMEN.