"Meanderings in Mark"
Series on Mark, Lesson 29

The Tongue Bone's Connected To The Ear Bone

Read: Mark 7:31-37

Text: (Mark 7:37b KJV) He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

Theme: The quality of your speech demonstrates the quality of your hearing.


Here we have a miracle that is found only in Mark's gospel.

Some introductory questions:

QUESTION - Where is Jesus at the time this event took place? What type of people is He ministering to?

ANSWER - Still in Gentile territory. Region of the Decapolis. (Display overhead transparency of map, or direct class to map section of their Bibles.)

QUESTION - Jesus chose a winding and wandering path to get back to the Sea of Galilee. (Reference map) Why?
ANSWER - QUOTE - (Ivor Powell, Mark's Superb Gospel) - "It is thought that the journey to the Sea of Galilee took some eight months. Could it not be that this long journey is the peace before the storm; that is, Christ’s long communion with the disciples before the final storm broke?"

QUESTION - Jesus heals a deaf mute here. What is different or unusual in His method(s) here?

QUESTION - Is there any significance in the fact that this man was deaf AND mute?

QUESTION - Is there any significance in the fact that after Jesus healed him he "spake plain?"

QUESTION - What is the main message of this miracle for you and I this morning?

Notice just how wonderfully Jesus dealt with this man's need!

(NOTE - Depending on time available, each of the following bullets can be expanded into a discussion point by asking QUESTION - How is this significant to you?)

QUESTION - Why did Jesus need to take him aside from the crowd? How do you suppose he conveyed to the man that He wanted to talk with him privately?

QUESTION - Why did Jesus put His fingers in the man's ears? Why did He spit and touch the man's tongue?

But how does this miracle apply to us today?

Well, do you remember that silly old song… "The toe bone's connected to the FOOT bone, the FOOT bone's connected to the ANKLE bone… the ANKLE bone's connected to the SHIN bone… etc. etc. etc.

Here is a story of a man who demonstrates for us that The Tongue Bone's Connected To The Ear Bone!

Here was a man who no doubt spoke… he just didn't make any sense. The fact that he could not hear made it impossible for him to speak clearly. As we will see in our study today, this principle is true in both the physical and the spiritual realms.

I. Tongue problems come from hearing problems (vs. 32).

A. In the physical realm.

QUESTION - What in this passage would seem to indicate that HEARING was this man's main problem?

Notice the ORDER in this scripture:

ILLUS. Helen Keller

ILLUS. Denise was a young lady in the Faithway Sunday school class at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Pontiac, Michigan. The Faithway class consisted of adults who were mentally handicapped. We brought them into church from a variety of halfway houses in the area, and held a service for them. We were told of Denise that she was normal in every way, except for the fact she had been born deaf. Not understanding she was deaf, and thinking rather that she was mentally ill, she had been committed to mental institutions since childhood, and as a result she was now extremely mentally retarded.

B. In the spiritual realm.

QUESTION - How does this apply to the spiritual realm?

ANSWER - QUOTE (Ivor Powell, Mark's Superb Gospel) - "Experience teaches that good articulation is dependent upon good hearing. Unless we are able to hear what is taught, it becomes almost impossible to reproduce what is heard. That same law prevails within spiritual realms. A man or woman skilled at listening to God’s voice can always be recognized by the manner in which he or she speaks. The testimony is clear, concise, and compelling. An orator may have the most beautiful language; his presentation may be almost theatrical and overwhelming in its effect upon certain listeners, but unless he has drawn upon the resources of Heaven, his speech will be empty and unconvincing. He will be, as Paul said, "a tinkling cymbal." Unless a man walks with God, he had better not talk about Him. True prophets are easily recognized!"

1. Some speech indicates a lost condition.

QUESTION - Examples?

2. The cure - HEAR!

(Rom 10:17 KJV) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

3. Some speech indicates a wayward believer.

ILLUS. Peter - (Mat 26:74 KJV) Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.

4. The cure - HEAR!

(Psa 119:9 KJV) BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

5. Some speech indicates a Christian!

QUESTION - After Jesus cured him, the man "spake plain." What do you suppose he talked about? What do you suppose characterized his speech from that point forward?

II. Only Jesus can cure a hearing problem.

QUESTION - Healing of the deaf and dumb was a sign of the Messiah! Do you think this was understood by the people who saw this miracle? (Isa 35:5-6 KJV) Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.

A. If we would hear, we must first come to Him. (vs. 32)

(Gen 7:1 KJV) And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.

(Isa 55:1 KJV) Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

(Mat 11:28 KJV) Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

(Rev 22:17 KJV) And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.


"Come to the Savior, make no delay -
Here is His Word He's shown us the way;
Here in our midst He's standing today,
Tenderly saying, 'Come!'"

1. Some come by themselves.

ILLUS. Rich Young Ruler

(Mat 19:16 KJV) And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

ILLUS. Nicodemus

(John 3:1-2 KJV) There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

ILLUS. Philippian Jailor

(Acts 16:28-30 KJV) But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

2. However, MOST (like this man) are BROUGHT!

ILLUS. Nathaniel (brought by Philip)

(John 1:46 KJV) And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.

ILLUS. Peter (brought by Andrew)

(John 1:41 KJV) He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.

ILLUS. Me! (brought by parents every Lord's Day!)

ILLUS. My wife's father - brought by my wife to a revival service and saved as result.

STATISTIC - "2% saved because of advertising, 6% because of the direct efforts of a preacher, 6% because of organized visitation programs, 86% because of a friend or a relative!" Elmer Town's statistics

B. If we would hear, we must surrender to Him. (vs. 33)

QUESTION - How did Jesus manage to touch the man's tongue? Would it have made a difference if He hadn't? What if the man had refused to open his mouth?

QUESTION - How does this apply to us? When Jesus speaks, how do we go about "surrendering" to His words?

C. When we listen, we hear Jesus loving us and praying for us. (vs. 34)

QUESTION - What is meant by the "deep sigh" from Jesus in this verse?

ANSWER - Prayer (NOTE - same word translated "sigh" is used in following two verses)

(Rom 8:23 KJV) And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

(Rom 8:26 KJV) Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

QUESTION - Why is this picturesque word for prayer used? Why did Jesus "sigh?"

QUOTE (Ivor Powell, Mark's Superb Gospel) - "The man could not hear and could only speak poorly, but at least he could see, and when the Lord looked toward heaven and sighed, he knew the direction from which help could be forthcoming. He knew that a Man stood before him; but now he realized that Jesus was God’s Man, and that through Him God could do the impossible. Thus did the Lord teach the fellow that this was no magic show. God cared about troubled people and would respond to a sincere prayer. Jesus would not always be present to help, but as He had prayed, so the man could pray, then, or at any other time during his life. That day, the Lord preached one of His greatest sermons, and yet He hardly said a word."

D. Application

QUESTION - We have determined that hearing is vital to speaking. Without right hearing, we cannot speak correctly, in either the physical or the spiritual realms. Therefore, HOW do we HEAR what God wants us to hear? Let's list as many practical ways to HEAR GOD as we can on the white board.

ANSWERS (suggested thoughts to draw out of this discussion: )

1. The Bible - daily devotional reading

2. The Bible - memorization

(Psa 119:11 KJV) Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

3. The Bible - meditation

(Psa 119:15 KJV) I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.

4. The Bible - specific study

5. Preaching and teaching

(Eph 4:11-12 KJV) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

6. Good Christian books


The Tongue Bone's Connected To The Ear Bone!

The question this morning is how is your ear bone?


"Just now your doubtings give o'er,
Just now reject Him no more,
Just now swing open the door,
Let Jesus come into your heart."

If you say that your ear bone's all right… that you have been saved, then I must ask, How is your tongue bone?

Whichever case it may be today, the answer is simply to COME to Jesus today, and LISTEN to what He has to say. Once your hearing is right, you, too, will "speak plain!"

(Mark 7:37b KJV) He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright © 1998 William E. Johnson.