Does Jesus Know Sign Language?
We know that God created language, and that He understands every language, even knowing our deepest, most basic thoughts and emotions which cannot be expressed by mortal tongues (Romans 8:26). And we know that Jesus is the Son of God, and in fact, is God (John 1:1).
But, when he was living on Earth almost 2000 years ago, walking among us as a man, did Jesus know Sign Language? More specifically, did he USE Sign Language to communicate with Deaf people?
You tell me.
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 straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. Mark 7:32-35
Why would Jesus put his fingers in his ears, and spit, and touch his tongue? Why would he deliberately sigh, and look up to heaven? Why would he go through this elaborate pantomime, something we don’t see anywhere else in Scripture?
We know that Jesus didn’t have to manipulate this deaf man in order to heal him. All it took was for Jesus to command, “be opened!” and the Deaf man was healed immediately, completely, and gloriously.
All it took was for Jesus to command, “be opened!” and the Deaf man was healed immediately, completely, and gloriously.
Yet even before Jesus proclaimed, “Ephphatha” (“be opened”), he took this Deaf man aside, away from the crowd, and began dealing with him one-on-one, communicating with his hands and his expressions the love of God.
Was not this Sign Language? Was Jesus not telling this man that he understood his need, as he touched his ears and his tongue?
“I know you are deaf.”
“I know you can’t speak.”
Was he not expressing the infinite love of God as he looked up to heaven, and sighed?
“Our Father in heaven cares about you, and so do I.”
As Jesus spoke with this Deaf man in a language he could understand, he broke language barriers, shared God’s love, and set an example for us today. We can’t give the Deaf physical healing, at least not in this life. But we can share the good news of the Gospel, opening their hearts and minds to the love of God.
So, next time you want to convince someone to learn Sign Language, or need some encouragement yourself, just remember that Jesus signed. Jesus loves the deaf enough to communicate. And so should we.
Jesus loves the deaf enough to communicate. And so should we.