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  • Writer's pictureRick Zumpano

Stretch Out Your Hand!

Matthew 12:9-16; Luke 6:6-11

It was another disingenuous question from hard and disbelieving hearts. It wasn’t the first one, and it wouldn’t be the last.

“Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

The sacred Sabbath. The commandment was: “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it it you shall not do any work...” But over the years the Jews had devised numerous other “laws” to specify the limits of Sabbath work, and then used them as a way to define who was truly holy in an effort to control the people.

Obviously, Jesus did not agree with their views on the Sabbath. His question cuts right to the heart of the whole matter: “I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to destroy it?” In asking this question He removes healing from the “work” category and places it into the “good” category.

Could these nay-sayers and “aginners” possibly disagree with doing a good and helpful deed on the Sabbath? Well, hearts mired in the mudhole of tradition and man-made rules can rarely clear away the muck to see the reality in a situation. So they all just waited to see what Jesus would do “that they might find reason to accuse Him.”

Jesus readily accommodated them, not just to rile them (like poking a stick at a sleeping bear), but to show them the truth, and to let them know that Someone was here that would no longer stand for their self-made, restrictive and misguided rules.

“Stretch out your hand!” He says to the man who had the withered right hand. And this curled up, shrunken, pale hand is extended out from under a cloak - an ugly sight and a witness to so much that was wrong in the world. But then, right in plain view of everyone, the hand changed and was made complete like the other!

Incredible! A true miracle! Fantastic!! What a Lord! What a God!! Thank you, Jesus, for being our Savior.

But the others went out to conspire how to destroy Him. This, too, is incredible.

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