Sunday, 23rd April 2018
Pastor Mike Connell (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3b7nZJquGDI)
Jesus came to reveal what God is like as a Father, a caring, kind Father. In Jesus’ time, He constantly challenged what was happening in the religious society, and He was confrontational in many ways.
Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.” (Mark 3:1-6)
So there was a man who’s hand is completely dried up. In Jesus’ time, people feared to lose face and feared to be ashamed. If the community valued you then you have honor, whereas if the community ashamed you, then you will be ashamed. At the time people rejected the handicapped, and considered them cursed. They would make fun of them and would not befriend with them. So not only they suffered from their disability but they also suffered from being ashamed. They suffered greatly and usually poor.
Jesus came and not only healed the man, but healed him publicly, so that he could receive honor in his community. Pastor Mike mentioned that it was the right hand of the man that was withered. Right hand is said to be the hand with the capacity to work, the hand to shake with others, the hand of blessing, and the hand to be able to release the Power of God. The right hand also speaks of generosity because we use of hand to give. Therefore his ability to work, to bless, to build relationship and to be generous were limited.
This man was withered physically, but we can be withered within our souls, and no one sees it. Is there any place in our life that is withered? A part in our life that we tend to withdraw and we feel ashamed of? So that we could not do what we could’ve done because something has withered inside of us. Something has stopped you functioning like God intended you to function.
One thing that might wither us is fear. Fear stops us to step out, it withers our soul that we would look inward, focus on ourselves all the time instead of loving other people. Another thing that withers our soul is being offended. When we were hurt by others, we can choose to forgive them or to hold an offence. If we chose to hold an offence in our heart, we’ll build a wall in our heart and we won’t be able to love anymore. People become withered with bitterness, our heart and relationship with others will be poisoned.
Our God loves to heal, and just like what Jesus did to the man with a withered hand, God wants to heal the withered parts of our lives. When Jesus saw this man hiding in the crowd,He felt a great grief. Jesus carried the heart of God, He is grief over our hurt, and He wants to heal us. God can see us even when we are hiding in the back, and He wants to heal us.
The Jesus asked the man to rise up and step forward. If we want God to change us, we cannot stay where we are, but to respond to the invitation of God, stand up and step forward. God not only wants to heal us but He also wants to honor us. God wants to put values on broken people. Moreover, Jesus healed on the Sabbath – this act put the Pharisees to shame and in a honor-shame culture, the ultimate shame is to put someone on the cross, and it says in the Scriptures that after this event, the Pharisees plotted to crucify Jesus. Pastor Mike shared with us here that Jesus died so we can have our honor back. Jesus did three things when He healed the man:
- To stand up – decide to respond to Jesus, to arise
- To step forward – be willing to change, not stay where we are, and stop hiding in where we are.
- To stretch – the Power of God is release when we stretch, to do something we have never done before, to stretch beyond our comfort zone.
Jesus sees us and He wants to heal us. What is our response today?