Matthew 12:9-14

Matthew 12:9-14

“Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, ‘Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?’—that they might accuse Him. Then He said to them, ‘What man is there among you that has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.’ Then He said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other. Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.”

Jesus had just been outside in the grainfields earlier that day, maybe even that morning, and the Pharisees had been saying that the disciples were breaking the Sabbath by plucking some heads of grain and eating it. Now they go to church, and, probably the same group of Pharisees, continue to give Jesus problems over what is appropriate behavior on the Sabbath.

Jesus sees a man with a some sort of problem with his hand. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might...” Ecclesiastes 9:10. “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62.

It is plain that the hand is used in the Bible to represent our actions. The unnamed man in the story had a “withered hand.” Maybe this represented the pharisees that were there. There actions had been perverted and “withered” because they had been cherishing pride, envy, and hatred instead of love for their fellow man. They would have been happier to see Jesus leave that man with a crippled arm than to heal him. Why? Why on earth would they feel that way? Are we willing to help others, and to go out of our way to do it if needs be? Jesus was. And the pharisees hated Him for it.

Jesus healed that mans hand with just a word. He spoke, and it was so. “With God all things are possible.” Mark 10:27. Jesus can take a crippled, weak, pathetic sinner like me, and He can speak life into our whole being. Jesus can heal not only our body, but our soul and mind as well. He can transform us into the best version of ourself that we can possibly be! But, like that man, we have to exercise faith and “stretch out your hand,” meaning that Jesus can give us control of our actions. He can give us victory over the sin in our lives.

That kind of power only comes from God, but we have to accept it and act upon it. It is the power of God working through sinful and fallen people that restores and enables us to go from crippled, to healed and whole. I have experienced that in my life, and I hope you have, too! Jesus is truly the Healer, the Restorer.

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