“Ephphatha” – which means “Become open.” (Mark 7:34)

What did Jesus mean by this?

Jesus spoke just this one word as he healed a man who was deaf and mostly mute. Here is the description of the event in the Gospel of Mark:
They brought him a deaf man with a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand upon him. Then he took the man away from the crowd and put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he put saliva on his fingers and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to the sky and sighed deeply – and said, “Ephphatha” – which means “Become open.” Thus the man’s ears were opened and his speech impediment was removed, and he began speaking normally. Then Jesus instructed them to tell no one – but the more he instructed this, the more widely they proclaimed it. Thus they were all exceedingly astonished, saying, “He does everything perfect – he even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” (Mark 7:32-37)
This event may bring up several questions. Why Jesus chose to heal this particular man? And why did Jesus look up and sigh deeply? What was he doing?

The other side of the first question is why did Jesus not heal everyone? Certainly, Jesus came into contact with many thousands of people. Yet he only healed a few people. What made those people so special that they received Jesus' healing?

This focus upon Jesus' healings - a prime focus of some - brings up the question of fairness: Why did only a few people get healed out of the whole population? Why didn't Jesus set up hospitals or other places for mass healings?

Is God fair?

The bigger question is why do some people suffer while others do not? Why are some people born into suffering while others are born healthy? Why do some babies have congenital diseases while others have all their faculties? And why do some people suffer starvation while others have plenty of food? And why do some children die of starvation? Is God not fair?

Because many institutions and their teachers cannot adequately answer these questions, many people have become atheistic, or at least agnostic regarding the existence of the Supreme Being. Their conclusion is that if God exists, He could not be this unfair and mean. So He must not exist.

This conclusion comes from the weakness of the answers of many teachers who claim to represent Jesus: Their proposal is that the suffering in the world is caused by the devil.

They claim that some guy - some "fallen angel" - has gotten out of God's control, and this devil guy - whom they call Satan - has caused the unfair suffering of the people of this world - despite God.

This brings up the necessary question: If Satan is out of God's control, how could God be God? "God" by definition means someone who is in full control. Someone who created everything and controls everything.

As such, the theory these teachers put forth means that God is not really God then. If God has in any way lost control, then they can no longer refer to Him as God.

This means that these teachers who claim to be representing Jesus, are in fact atheists because they do not believe in God. They believe that Satan has become more powerful than God - which essentially means they consider Satan to be god.

So we can either conclude that they are atheists, or they consider Satan god.

We cannot accept this teaching - regardless of whether such teachers identify themselves as "priests," "reverends," "cardinals," or even "popes." If they teach that God has in any way lost control, they are nothing but atheists in the dress of religious people.

Jesus did not teach this atheistic notion that God has lost control of the world to anyone. God is always in control and this is why He is God.

Is this world temporary?

First, we are not these physical bodies. We are each spirit-persons, temporarily residing within a temporary physical body. We might believe we are suffering as our body suffers - but this is only because we are wrongly identifying with this temporary physical body.

We are each like car drivers who sit down in a car and drive it for a while. When the car gets rusted and breaks down, we get out of the car and get a new car. Does a car driver break down when the car breaks down? Certainly not.

Using the same analogy, we might compare a starving physical body to a car that is out of gas. Is the driver of a car that's run out of gas necessarily hungry? No.

And if a car's driver were hungry, filling up the car with gas will not relieve the hunger of the driver. This is because the driver is not the car. In the same way, we are not these physical bodies, regardless of how we might identify with them.

Jesus taught his followers that we are not these bodies. It is only by falsely identifying with these physical bodies that we think we are suffering as the body suffers. This is illusion. It might be compared to the car driver thinking he is hungry because the car is out of gas.

Is this world a rehabilitation center?

Furthermore, contrary to the proposals of materialistic teachers, this world was not created as a place of enjoyment. This world is a rehabilitation center.

Yes, we are here to learn. This is why we are born into temporary bodies that are strife with challenges and tests. Each of us must bear these challenges, and learn from them.

We might consider this situation similar to a person who sits down at a computer and begins playing a video game. First, the person will pick an avatar or icon to play in the game with. This avatar or icon then becomes subject to the various challenges of the game. The person sitting at the computer does not become the icon.

Our physical body is like the game avatar or icon and the challenges of the physical world are each lessons.

But in the end, the person playing the video game can just turn off the computer and walk away - unscathed.

Yes, each of us will make it out of these physical bodies - this physical lifetime - unscathed. When our body dies, our spirit-person will still be whole. This is because the spirit-person lies on another dimension. Just as the person playing a video game is on a different dimension than the video game - our real self exists on another dimension outside of this physical realm.

Is God in control?

The entire physical dimension lies within the full control of the Supreme Being. Yes, God is in complete control. He created the programming of the physical world and these physical bodies, and they are perfectly designed - with DNA and societies and time lux - in order to present to us particular problems and challenges that produce lessons.

Yes, we do have choices - and thus a minimum of control. We can make decisions about what direction we want to take in life and control whether or not we will stay within this virtual physical realm. We can choose to learn the lessons of this world or choose not to learn.

But if we don't learn the lessons this physical world has been programmed to teach each of us, we will be forced to "replay the game" and take on a new body after the death of this physical body.

Yes, each of us has a particular body born into a particular situation that is programmed to teach us particular lessons. These lessons are specifically suited for our particular stage of learning. This is why each of us has unique DNA and lives a unique life when looked at from the end of our lives.

In other words, our body and situation reflect perfectly the lessons we must learn. These lessons are produced by a combination of our consciousness and our past decisions - resulting in our past activities - here and in the spiritual realm before we came here.

What is the law of consequences?

Such scenarios are called consequences. In programming language it is called the "IF/THEN statement."

IF we do something, THEN a particular thing will take place as a result. IF we do something else, THEN another particular thing will take place as a result.

For example, IF we decide to use our body to steal from another, THEN our body will be put in jail. Such a scenario - of stealing - results in our time and freedom being stolen back.

Or IF we are rude or mean to someone, THEN others - often the same people we were rude or mean to - will be rude or mean to us.

And so on. These consequences are programmed into the physical world by the Supreme Being - who remains in control. Some consequences might occur immediately, while some may occur later - some in another lifetime.

Jesus, in fact, taught this law of programmed consequences. We can know this as Jesus told a man whose body he had healed:
“See, your body is now well. Sin no more so nothing worse happens to you.” (John 5:14)
Here, to "sin" is to act in such a way that either harms others or is acted upon in a self-centered manner - each of which creates consequences.

We also see this in the question that Jesus was asked by his disciples:
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2)
This indicates that Jesus' disciples 1) understood the law of consequences - that one's activities result in consequences; and 2) that those consequences can carry over from one lifetime to the next.

Here Jesus' disciples are questioning whether the blindness was a consequence of the man's previous activities, or was a consequence of the parents' activities. (Just consider, in other words, the burden to parents who must raise a blind child.)

But in order for the man to have sinned before he was born, he would have had to have lived before he was born.

The bottom line is that "sinning" - which means to act in a self-centered manner - creates consequences. Consequences that relate to learning.

Just consider, for example, consequence learning as now professed by child psychologists as the best way for parents to discipline their children. Instead of spanking children - called "arbitrary discipline" - parents are now encouraged to set up consequences for acting out. This, they have proven, better teaches the child.

In this world, when we harm the bodies of others, we set up consequences where our current body or a future body will be harmed in the same way. What does this consequence teach us? It directly teaches us empathy - to understand the pain that others go through.

And what is empathy? It means to put ourselves in another's shoes. Empathy means to care about others.

And caring for others leads to loving others.

Yes, this is what the physical world is set up to teach us: To love again.

What is our real nature?

We are each from the spiritual realm - an environment where love abounds. And we are each created by the Supreme Being - a Person who unconditionally loves each of us - regardless of what we may do.

But just as a parent loves their child and wants the best for them and must as a result sometimes discipline them with consequences, the Supreme Being sets up this virtual reality of the physical world in order to have us experience virtual consequences in order to teach us to love again.

This goes back to the central reason we are here in the physical world within these temporary bodies in the first place: Because each of us - at some point - made the choice to become self-centered rather than God-centered and love-centered. We each decided that we would rather enjoy ourselves than love others. We put ourselves first.

This decision - to become self-centered - is the choice that each of us dwelling in the physical world made at some point. Why?

Each of us is a child of God - but we are also His playmates. He created us to play with Him and have lots of fun with Him, and love Him and love each other.

But what meaning would this have if we had no choice? If we had no option? If we could not choose not to love God and His other children, then what value would loving Him have?

Who would want to have playmates that had no choice? That would be no fun. Such "play" would be like playing with robots or machines. God wants to play with those who choose to play with Him. He wants an exchange of love.

This is why the Supreme Being has given us this power of choice: Each of us has the power to choose to love Him. This means God has set up things so that we can choose not to love Him. Heck, He has set it up so that we can even choose not to believe that He exists.

Such freedom - to not believe in God - is the ultimate freedom of choice. This, in fact, is why the Supreme Being doesn't often appear in the physical world to our senses. He stays mostly invisible in order to provide us with the complete freedom not to accept His existence - so we can choose not to love Him without any remorse or influence.

He even allows various philosophies that deny His existence for the same reason. He sets up so many barriers to convince us that He doesn't exist.

Why? In order to make believing in His existence - and wanting to love Him and be with Him - a challenge. There are so many barriers in the way. In order to believe in His existence and come to love Him we must break through so many challenges - the first of which is, "If God exists, why can't I see Him?"

And the reason He makes this step so challenging is because He only wants us to return to Him if we are completely ready. We must be ready to fall in love with Him again. We must become ready to commit ourselves to Him.

And to the degree we are not ready - to the degree that we cannot commit ourselves to Him - He presents us with various doubts and challenges to His existence. These are presented from within our mind as well as without in the form of different philosophies, such as those that claim that God is a void or that we are each God - and we are not individuals and so on.

Yes, these philosophies - as well as the many misinterpretations of scriptures - are allowed and even arranged by the Supreme Being in order to present us with challenges to His existence - in order to ultimately give us the freedom of choice whether we want to return to Him or not.

And this ties directly into the actions of Jesus, who conducted a few miracles such as healings. Why did he do these? To offer to those who already had become partially convinced in God's existence just enough evidence to begin to follow (if they chose to) Jesus' teachings, opening the doorway back to their loving relationship with God.

In other words, they had graduated through so many lessons and were ready for the next lesson - so they could (if they chose to) realize Jesus' connection with the Supreme Being as His representative.

This is precisely why the scriptures state:
"He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, "Ephphatha!"
The Greek texts also define that this word can be translated to "be opened?" So what does "be opened" mean within this context? Just who is being "opened."

Jesus is asking the Supreme Being to heal the person. "Ephphatha!" refers to God providing His mercy, and subsequent healing potency.

Yes, God is doing the healing here. If Jesus was doing this healing by himself, why would he need to look up to heaven? Jesus "looked up to heaven" because he was showing them who was responsible. He was praying to the Supreme Being. He was immersing himself within his loving relationship with the Supreme Being. This is why he sighed - Jesus was in love with the Supreme Being.

And this is the lesson taught to the person who was healed, and those witnesses who saw it: This act of healing pointed to the existence of the Supreme Being, and the fact that Jesus enjoyed a relationship with the Supreme Being.

This event gave those who were ready just enough proof that they could begin their own journey home to their relationship with the Supreme Being. They could begin to turn their self-centeredness into love, and their interest in themselves into seeking to please the Supreme Being.

You see, the Supreme Being is the person we have been looking for our entire lives. Some of us will say we are looking for our soulmate because we are essentially looking for our lost relationship with the Perfect Person - the Supreme Being.

And this is why Jesus' most important instructions - as was Moses' and all the other Prophets - were to love the Supreme Being and love His children:
Jesus replied, “The most important of all the instructions is, ‘Hear O Israel – the LORD our God is our only Lord – and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’ – this is the most important instruction. And the second is like it – ‘You shall love any other person as yourself.’ There is no other instruction greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)