Jesus recognizes this man’s bodily need and heals him. The man and his friends have exhausted every possible remedy. There is no technology, no medicine, and no miracle worker that has unshackled him from this burden. He gives the man what neither the man nor anyone else could give him. Jesus doesn’t free him from his body but restores his body in part to the Creator’s original intent. “He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.” This kind of healing is never beyond our Creator; thus, we pray daily for the sick, the infirm, and those with any mental or physical disability. We trust that Jesus can and does heal according to His good and gracious pleasure. And you, even if you have your five senses, must remember that the Holy Spirit inspired the prophets to speak of our whole condition as rebels as a kind of deafness. Jesus today is teaching us that not only does He heal mental and physical disability, but He comes to set us free from our spiritual disability. The broader context of Jesus restoring senses is that He is about restoring your fear, love, and trust in Him above all things. He is opening your ears, implanting His Word in your hearts, and loosening your tongue to confess faith in Him.
It is only the tax collector in the story who understands his real position. The tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ He recognizes that all the categories, classes, and divisions we see in the world in the final estimation don’t mean a thing before God. The stories you tell about yourself—whether ethnicity, nationality, class, gender, or economic success—don’t mean anything when you’re brought before the judgment seat of God on the last day. On that day, the only thing that matters is whether the Father sees in you the reflection of His Son Jesus. Your identity before God is clear and simple. You are a child of God through Holy Baptism. You have been clothed with Christ, washed in His saving blood, branded as one redeemed by Christ the crucified. You might be a worker or employer, long-time American or immigrant, male or female (or some other imaginary gender). According to your baptism, you are all one in Christ Jesus.
This why we read terrifying accounts of history and prophecy. We’re understandably reluctant because God’s wrath revealed is often frightening, gory, and horrific. They are meant to tear down the proud in the imaginations of the heart and keep the godly in the fear of God. And in the midst of every terrible event like the destruction of Jerusalem, we hear of God mercifully preserving the faithful, like Noah or Lot. God the Holy Spirit directs your heart by means of the Word and confession to repent and believe again.