Labeling Jesus


This interpretation’s focus is toward Christian’s who have become accustomed to putting God in a box.  In the seventh and eighth chapter of the book of Mark, Jesus uses some unusual ways of healing two individuals.


Mark 7:32-35


And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him.  And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, be opened.  And straightaway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.


Up until now, when Jesus would heal someone He would usually just lay hands on them or touch them and say, “Be healed.”  But this time He did something different, something totally unusual.  His method was weird.  Jesus spat and then put his fingers into the man’s ears.  People were probably wondering why He was using this unusual method.  I believe the answer is right in the text.  It says in the beginning of the text “And they bring him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him.”


Do you see it?  The people automatically assumed that laying His hands on someone was the only method Jesus would use for healing.  Jesus, not wanting to be labeled, did something totally out of the ordinary just to show them that if they tried to label how He healed, then he would just change His method.  Here is another example in the next chapter.


Mark 8: 22-25


And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.  And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.  And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.  After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up; and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.   


This is the same lesson but a different scripture.  Basically the disciples were assuming, but this was not the biggest problem.  The biggest problem was their assumption turned into labeling.  As soon as they labeled it with their mouth, Jesus rebuked them with an unorthodox method of healing.  The absurdity of the way Jesus healed directly mirrors the absurdity of the disciples labeling Jesus.


There is one more example in the bible of Jesus healing someone in an unorthodox way.  Coincidently, Jesus again uses spitting as an open rebuke to his disciples constant assuming.  It is interesting to note that in all three examples where the disciples are assuming, Jesus spits.   


John 9: 1-6


And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.  And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?  Jesus answered, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.  As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”  When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.)  He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.


Here it is clear the disciples again assumed.  They did not assume how Jesus would heal, but they still had opinions about why this man was blind.  They automatically assumed someone had sinned, either this man or his parents.  Jesus tells them their assumptions are wrong, and rebukes their assumptions by working outside the box.   


I believe in this scriptural observation for a few reasons.  The first reason is that God is cool.  It is pretty cool what He did.  He rebuked everyone with this weird way of doing things and then left it up to us to figure out why.  As soon as we figure out that we shouldn’t label, the scriptures come alive.  God revealed this scripture to me when I asked the question, “Why the absurd way of healing, perhaps man did something to provoke the Lord to heal in this manner?”  As soon as I asked this question, the Lord opened up the scripture and showed me all this.  When we ask the right kind of questions, we get the right kind of answers.  The second reason I believe in this scriptural observation is again because God is cool.  It is pretty cool not wanting to be labeled and to want people to give you credit for who you are, especially when it will benefit them.  The biggest mistake we make is we limit God with our minds.  This is why we cannot believe God for big things because in our minds we have made him small.  We try to condense God down to our own understanding so we can, in our own insecure way, control him (Proverbs 3:5).  But by doing this we are labeling God and we are limiting God.  I believe if we can grasp this observation then it can change a train of thought that often leads to a shipwreck of our faith.  This is only a small observation, but if it is received then the influence it can have on someone’s faith and understanding can be life altering.  Learning not to label God will allow us to believe God for all the things He is truly capable of, which is much bigger than our labeling minds can fathom.   


The last good that will come from this observation is the trust of non-believers.  Non-believers have grown accustomed to labeling Jesus, the Church, the Worship music, even certain Evangelists.  I believe if they understood that not even Jesus wanted to be labeled then they might relate to this teaching and would at least become more open.  This observation is a direct rebuke to labeling.  It shows that all labeling is limited, and assumed.  This knowledge will hopefully offer non-believers the courage to at least give God a chance to relate directly to them, rather then automatically labeling God which will end up limiting their ability to understand God on a personal level.  When I was working this out one of my biggest hopes was that Non-believers would understand this.  I believe so many fall prone to ignoring God because they label the body of Christ or its activities.  I know in my heart if they got the chance to know Jesus personally then they would understand Him for who He is and would learn that not even God cared for labeling.  I believe this could open eyes to see beyond the walls that have been built by assumptions, walls that limit everyone from God, to see God clearly because God is looking for such to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.


John 4:21-24


Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.  Ye worship ye know not what:  we know what we worship; for salvation is of the Jews.  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.  God is spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.