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What the Bible says about Building a Relationship
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Mark 7:33

Jesus takes the man aside from the crowd to show tender consideration for the feelings of one for whom life was very difficult. Once they are alone, the first thing Jesus does is to put His fingers in the man's ears. They must be healed if the tongue is to work normally, since the man was mute because he could not hear. This symbolic action sends a clear message to the deaf man, helping to awaken his faith and to alert him to the expectation of healing. Since he could not hear encouragement, it had to come from a compassionate touch.

For us, we learn that it is good for us to be alone in God's presence, away from the busy cacophony of a confused world, which is never conducive to spiritual reflection (Ecclesiastes 3:7). In the quiet of God's presence, we can build and improve our personal relationship with Him (Psalm 46:10). Each person needs time alone with the Father to keep a sharp focus on Him. Jesus instructs, "When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly" (Matthew 6:6-7).

The popular belief at that time was that saliva had medicinal properties. This case and the healing of the blind man at Bethsaida (Mark 8:22-26; John 9:6) are the only instances where Jesus uses popular medical remedies in healing. However, He did not use His saliva for any medicinal virtue it contained but as a symbol of the spiritual power within Him and emanating from Him. By Christ's touch, the man was shown that the power to heal both his deafness and speech impediment completely came from Jesus. Even with this healing, the man would have to be willing to hear God's words; if not, he would waste his healing and the grace of God (Acts 28:26-28).

The account shows us that Jesus does not consider the deaf-mute as merely another case but as an individual. The man had a special need and a special problem, and with tender consideration, Jesus deals with him in a way that spares his feelings and helps him to understand.

When the healing becomes known, the people declare that He had done all things well (literally "beautifully"), which is also God's verdict on His creation (Genesis 1:31). In the beginning, everything was very good, but mankind's sins have spoiled it ever since. When Jesus came, bringing healing and salvation to the people, He brought the work of spiritual creation, beginning with His church. One day soon, Christ will bring back God's beauty to the whole world.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Deaf-Mute (Part Two)

John 15:11

If we are working on the relationship with God, giving it our time and attention, then God's love for us (since He is its source) will be reciprocated back to Him in the form of obedience. We could also call our response love, keeping the commandments, or conforming to His will. Whatever we call it, our lives will then be enriched by joy. Is that not a good deal? Psalm 16:11 says that there is joy evermore in His presence. Jesus is confirming this here. If we will abide in God, in His love, then it will produce joy in our lives.

This kind of love is not the hormone-driven, passionate, and emotional roller coaster that we call "falling in love," but a deep, stable sense of well-being. A word of caution: This is not something that happens in a flash, just because two people know one another. It develops because the two experience a wide variety of events together. In order for two individuals contemplating marriage to determine if their lifestyles are compatible, they should use the courtship phase of their relationship to share a great many experiences together.

What is it that is produced by experiencing a great number of circumstances together? Trust in each other is produced. Within the relationship with God, He begins to trust us, and we begin to trust Him. We could call this trust "loyalty" or "faithfulness." That is the fruit of proper fellowship. Is that not what happens humanly? The same principle is at work in our relationship with God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Love's Emotional Dimension


 




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