Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.
Buskers on the London Underground have been in the news recently. All the busking pitches on the Tube are sponsored, and a new deal has just been done with Coca-Cola. As part of the deal, they’re offering to pay buskers to play their “Holidays are Coming” song. Some have agreed, recognizing it’s a good way to get some cash, but lots have refused. Personally, although I don’t like the way that Coke has carved out its own spot in the popular idea of Christmas, I do find myself singing along to their song when the advert with the big, red Coke trucks driving through the winter landscape comes on the television. It’s a sure fire way of knowing that Christmas is not far off. “Holidays are Coming” has almost become a signpost for me that Christmas is on its way!
If you were waiting for the Messiah, what would you be waiting for? Many Jewish people in first century Palestine were waiting for the triumphal arrival of a king, who would liberate his people from the Romans, and restore them to their rightful land. Today’s Daily Reading provides a signpost as to what people should be expecting from the Messiah. Most relevantly to our current Mark Marathon passage, this prophecy in Isaiah tells us that “the ears of the deaf [will be] unstopped,” and “the mute tongue [will] shout for joy.” We get the picture here of a miracle worker, not so much a triumphant leader, but a caring, pastor-like figure, who cares for all his people.
Interestingly, in our Mark Marathon passage, it could well be this passage that comes to mind for the people who witness Jesus curing the deaf, mute man. Mark tells us that the people were “overwhelmed with amazement” at what Jesus did. Could it be that they are now starting to wonder if Jesus just night be the promised Messiah? Could this man who has made such an impression in the region actually be Christ himself?