And people brought to Jesus a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”) And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.Mark 7:32-35
The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” Then he left them, got into the boat again, and went off to the other shore.Mark 8:11-13
After witnessing multiple signs of healing and the multiplication of the loaves and fish, the Pharisees still came forward to challenge Jesus to prove his authority with a sign. Jesus’ power to restore eyes, ears, and tongues did not extend to forcing the conversion of his adversaries.
Jesus sighed (anastenazó) deeply in his spirit, full of grief and longing for a change of heart, but was met with hardened resistance. Unlike the deaf-mute whose ears opened and tongue loosened when Jesus sighed (stenazó) and commanded, “Ephphatha!” the ears and tongues of the Pharisees remained dead to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.