From the Word
31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, through the region of the Decapolis. 32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech; and they besought him to lay his hand upon him. 33 And taking him aside from the multitude privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue; 34 and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.
Mark 7:31–35, RSV
In this text both faith and love are presented to us. Faith, in that these people had before heard how kind and compassionate Jesus was and how he had helped those who had come to him. Although the text does not state this, yet we must so conclude, and the facts prove that they must have previously heard the good tidings of Christ the Lord, on account of which they believed. This was the beginning of their faith. For the Word must first have been heard, and must have entered the human heart, showing the mercy of God in such a way as to create faith. Then they clung to these tidings, trusted them, went thither, and hoped to receive of him what they had heard. In this way faith grows out of the Word of God. We must, therefore, earnestly search the gospel in order thus to lay the first stone. The Word first informs us of the mercy and goodness of God; faith then lays hold on the Word with firm confidence, and we obey it. We now become conscious of it in our hearts and are satisfied. For as soon as we believe we are already justified and are with Christ in his inheritance.
This text also sets forth the works of love in this, that these people go and take care of this poor man, just as Christ sent forth the tidings to them, showing his goodness and mercy, without any merit in them or their efforts to obtain it. As soon as they lay hold on that mercy and drink from its fountain, they again send it forth freely and impart it to their neighbor. These people do not need this work themselves, they are not looking for a reward, nor do they even think of themselves, but are only thinking of the poor man and how they may help him. So Christians should carefully consider how love works and how it cares for others. “Love seeketh not its own.” “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”
Luther, Martin, and John Sander. Devotional Readings from Luther’s Works for Every Day of the Year. Augustana Book Concern, 1915, pp. 320–21.