6 On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. 7 And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him. 8 But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” And he rose and stood there. 9 And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” 10 And after looking around at them all he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored.11 But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus. Luke 6: 6-11, ESV
In the text above, the religious leaders came face to face with their greatest fear…that Jesus would “take their place” as leader. While they pretended to be concerned about “keeping the law,” their real concern was for their own perceived positions of power. The fact that someone else was suffering, was broken, was unable to care for themselves, was in poverty, was marginalized was of no concern. They just wanted what they wanted. Jesus’ compassion, however, revealed the true essence of their dark souls. Their “hoopla” about keeping the law rang hollow because of their lack of concern for another human being. Hunger for power leads to dangerous places… Hunger for and the fear of losing power can strip you of a conscience.
Jesus’ bold act of healing the man with the deformed hand teaches us some important lessons:
When healing takes precedence over position and power, deliverance as well as hostility happens… Everyone is not joyous when deliverance and healing happens. Unfortunately the world frequently “profits” from the misery of others…
Deliverance exposes dysfunction… When Jesus healed the man, the true motives of the religious leaders were exposed. Dysfunctional systems/structures collapse when others are bold enough to speak the truth and move to make changes…
Healing frequently changes a power dynamic… Healing and deliverance are accompanied by empowerment. Both healing and deliverance can bring about an awareness of one’s true self, gifts, talents, opportunities and strength. A need to rely upon another’s “motive laced” offerings will dissipate…
Be prepared to face hostility as God uses you to heal “withered hands…” Power and position in the hands of people with ill intent will not easily be released. A “convulsion” of sorts will always happen. Whether in a place of employment, in the government, in the community, in the home, yea even in the church, spirits of selfishness, greed, jealousy and insecurity desire to keep others down to lift themselves up.
Breaking those chains come with a cost. Jesus paid for our deliverance with his life. While we may not be nailed to a literal cross, we may be falsely accused, lose positions or employment, “friends,” experience being ostracized, criticized, and viewed as a threat. The scriptures teach us that the cost of real discipleship is high.
The blessing, however, is that we will gain the praises of heaven.
11“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:11-12, NASB
May we pray for hearts, eyes, and spirits to heal withered hands…
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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,