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The Language of Healing

The Language of Healing

by David G. Duggan ©
Special to VIRTUEONLINE
www.virtueonline.org
July 5, 2021

In a handful of places, the Gospel writers thought it so important to give Jesus' words in the original Aramaic or Hebrew, almost as an emphasis to the words written in the Greek vernacular known as Koine. Why this is, I don't believe anyone can say: two occur in Mark's accounts of Jesus' healings (Mark 5:41 and 7:34), one in Matthew's expansion of the 6th Commandment's prohibition of murder to include calling your brother a fool ("raca" 5:22). And of course there is Jesus' cry of dereliction from the cross, recorded in both Matthew and Mark: "Eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani," "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34; Matt. 27:46). These are the only "last words from the cross" recorded in two Gospels.

Certainly, the original words add a degree of verisimilitude to the Gospel, but why stop at those? Jesus healed scores of people, presumably in His mother tongue, but only in these places did the Evangelist choose to repeat the words as spoken. "Little girl, I say to you, get up," which He said while taking the hand of synagogue ruler Jairus' 12-year-old daughter (Mark 5:41) and "Be opened" (Mark 7:34) which he said while touching the tongue of the deaf mute who could immediately speak plainly are not that remarkable that they alone would be recorded. And then why did Luke and John not record any of these?

Language is one of the arts that God gave us originally in the Garden, when He commanded Adam to name the beasts of the field and birds of the air (Gen. 2:19). The variety of languages He ordained by scattering those from the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:7) had to be part of His plan ultimately to reconcile us to Him through His Son who was not bound by language any more than He was bound by time, space or death. Perhaps the Evangelists knew this implicitly and in rare instances told us readers that the Lord of the universe, whose voice commanded storms to cease, could also use language as plain that a 12-year-old and deaf mute could understand.

Jesus' healing through language and touch speaks to our need to hear and feel His presence. Those who in our day speak of miraculous healings tell of both a presence and a voice. That voice, in a language we can understand, comes with the touch of Him who healed all who trusted in Him.

David Duggan is a retired attorney living in Chicago. He writes occasional devotionals for VOL.

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