Stretch out your hand

He went on from there and entered their synagogue. And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse him. He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.

This passage, and others like it, are some of the most chilling ones in the gospels. Can you imagine bringing a loved one to the hospital and finding that the emergency room was closed because it is Sunday? Such is the hypocritical legalism of the Pharisees. Jesus exposes their callous indifference by comparing this hurting man to one of their sheep. They are embarrassed, become angry and begin to plot evil.

The scene transitions to the miraculous and all of the silly banter with the Pharisees about the Sabbath seems to fade as Jesus brings heaven to earth. The words “Stretch out your hand” are so understated. Can you imagine what it would have been like to have been that man? Jesus doesn't touch him but merely speaks a few words to him and his withered hand become like his healthy one as he stretches it in faith. Amazing!

I am in awe of your compassion and power Lord Jesus. You are God the Son!

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