My morning began with two meetings. I enjoyed connecting with Jose Valdez, who is running for the Town Council in Windsor. In the process I discovered a local bakery in Windsor that I will revisit when I have the opportunity. Then my friend Kirk Weaver with Family Time Ministries came to Fort Collins with Donny Abbott the Children’s Pastor at Timberline, Kirk will speak at the Timberline Men’s breakfast next Saturday. Kirk and I took a “selfie” to compare to the one from my hospital days.
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “…He entered their synagogue. There He saw a man who had a paralyzed hand. And in order to accuse Him they asked Him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” …Then He told the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out, and it was restored, as good as the other….” Matthew 12:9-14 HCSB
Jesus was in the business of responding to human need and giving hope and restoration. This miracle of the man with the withered hand is a great illustration of that taking place. This did not take place on the street, but in synagogue on the Sabbath.
We don’t know why, perhaps because of Jesus actions and miracles that already took place, but the religious leaders, looking for an opportunity to accuse Jesus, asked Him if it was “lawful” to heal on the Sabbath? Jesus points to their hypocrisy and lack of compassion. He tells them that they have not problem rescuing an sheep from a ditch on the Sabbath, so why wouldn’t the Son of Man have compassion of God’s highest creation. (Matt. 12:12)
I recall reading about the potential “back story” of this account. A biblical researcher, doing his how investigation in the “Holy Land” came across a story about this account. It was conveyed to him that during the building of the Temple, some stone masons were compelled to work on the Sabbath. Then after the project was completed, the right hand of the masons were crippled as a form of punishment.
If this were to be true, the impact of this healing would have significant ramifications. Not only did Jesus heal on the Sabbath, but in restoring the hand of the this “mason” He reversed and condemned the judgment of the Pharisees. What we do know is that this miracle was significant enough, that in their anger, the Pharisees left the synagogue intent to destroy Jesus. “But the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.” (Matt. 12:14 HCSB)
We can be thankful and confident that Jesus is in the restoration business. Whether outward or inward, He is able to take that which is “crushed” and “shriveled” and bring it back to usefulness. The condition may be caused by others or it may be from “birth” or it may be through some other cause. Regardless of the reason for the condition; regardless whether the wounds are seen or unseen; the wounded find grace and compassion in the presence of Jesus.
You don’t have to hide in the shadows. In some of the other gospel accounts we read how Jesus commanded the man to, “stand forth” and then to “stretch forth” his hand. Sometimes the healing that is needed takes place when courage and faith overcome shame and doubt. When there is an atmosphere of love and acceptance that step is easier to take; and that is what Jesus extends to each of us in the “woundedness” of our lives.