The man with the withered hand
I am going to speak about a poor soul….a man with a withered right hand….a man shunned in the normal life of the Israelites, yet who yields to Jesus command….even though it puts him and his infirmity, in the spotlight….
Luke 6:6-7 “And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that He entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered.
And the scribes and Pharisees watched Him, whether He would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against Him.
But He knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth.”
To have a deformity….a withered hand….in Israel, usually meant that someone in your family had sinned….you, or your parents.
It was something to hide or keep covered.
That this man wanted to hear the scriptures, and have fellowship with God and HIs people, is apparent…..for though he might be looked down upon….he was gathered to the place of worship,…anyway.
He was in the back of the men gathered….for Jesus said, “stand forth”
Jesus had come to their synagogue to teach….and He did.
He knew what was in the heart of each man there. Whether they were there to hear Him….or the Word….
…or merely to find an occasion to trip Him up.
“But He knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth.”
This would have been putting a spotlight on his deformity….
….yet he did it. First standing,….then stepping out before everyone….”in the midst”.
This is faith. For faith sees God, and believes Him.
Then Jesus did something unusual…..He did not speak to the man….He did nothing where he was concerned….at first…
….He just left him in the midst of everyone….a spectacle….or so it might have seemed.
But again, I must stress here…..faith sees God. This man saw God in Christ, which separated him from many others here in this synagogue….
…so he stayed put, waiting….in faith.
(How often we feel that Christ is going to do something for us….and we feel His love, and gladly “step forth”….but then there is a wait.
Do we begin to doubt His love? Do we begin to “wobble” in our obedience? Will we “back away” from the Lord’s command?)
….instead Jesus turned and spoke to the scribes and Pharisees.
Luke 6:9 “Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing;….”
Jesus broke right through to the truth. He asked them to answer….with the truth.
“…Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? To save life, or to destroy it?”
Then Jesus turned and looked at each man there….
…not in anger,…..but sadness.
Saddened by the hardness of their hearts. There was no love of God….or man within them!
(In Matthew. 12:11-12….Jesus says, “What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it and lift it out?
How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.”)
….then Jesus finally spoke to the man with the withered hand…”Stretch forth thy hand.”
Luke 6:10 “And looking round about upon then all, He said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other.”
When God asks us to cooperate with Him,….
….we must first believe Him….this man had;….
….then we must obey Him.
This is an amazing healing….and one we can have, for it was by HIs Word alone that this man was healed….both spiritually and physically.
For Jesus did not touch him. It does not say Jesus came close to him.
….it was His Word, first to the man, to give him faith in Him (Romans 10:17)…”rise up and stand forth”…making him trust in Jesus…
…then HIs Word to the man for obedience to Him….faith, if it be true faith, always leads to obedience. For what kind of faith would believe, but not obey?
And that man’s faith and obedience was honored….his hand was made whole as the other.
Jesus speaks to us, today, as well……giving faith in Himself….and encouraging our faith in Him.
And He speaks to us, today….commanding us to obey, that we might be “a spectacle “ (1 Corinthians 4:9)……for He shows Himself strong in us….in salvation, in healing, and in joy and peace….
….are we hearing what He is saying to us? Are we having what He is calling us to?
What are we facing today…..and in what are we “infirm”? (Not up to the task, not able to do.)
Well, He is.
And His Word of faith and instruction still comes to us, today.
Let us stand forth with Him; and trust and obey.