Sunday, 19th March 2023
Pastor Mike Connell
Luke 6:6-11 says, “On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Get up and stand in front of everyone.” So he got up and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?” He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was completely restored. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.”
When John was writing the Gospels he said there were so many miracles that Jesus performed. It’s the Holy Spirit who chose the stories to be put in the Bible for the world to know. There’s a reason why this story was put in the Bible. During that time the people compromised the nation, let people who were not qualified to become leaders of the church.
The church at Jesus’ day, they had lost the Holy Spirit and the power if God. The church became withered and powerless. It’s all about rules and laws but now about love and how love transforms life. So Jesus performed the miracle to confront the situation at the church. That’s why in this story, the religious people were looking at Jesus and tried to find a fault in Him. We are in the church today, that if we don’t look upon God then we will become spiritually withered. If we don’t connect with Him, then we will become spiritually withered.
In the story, the man’s right hand was withered, it was dried up and could not function normally. It would turn inward, it would be disabled and dysfunctional. Our relationship with God can also be withered, it would turn inward, we cannot reach out, but to hide in our own shell. In the Bible it tells us it’s the right hand that was withered. When we cannot use our right hand, we will be ashamed, because right hand represents the hand to fight battle, the hand to work, the hand to provide… life would be very difficult without the right hand.
The right hand is also the hand to welcome people, to shake people’s hands, to interact with people. We also use our right hand to bless people, the right hand of blessing, the right hand of fellowship, and when it’s withered, then part of our life is also dried up. In their culture, they use the right hand to eat and to pray. Right hand means power, God stretch out His right hand to save us, the hand of favour, the hand of blessing…
In the story, Jesus pointed out the person, whose condition was the same as the church at the time, it’s not welcoming people, it’s not blessing people, it’s drawn back, because the Holy Spirit was not with them. When church is back to function after the pandemic, it is somehow different from before, people are used to watching sermons at home, and forgetting the importance of interacting with people and worshiping at church. There are many grief, un-forgiveness, disappointment, anger… which course people to turn inward, lose their joy, and forget about their passion for God.
Many of us need the fresh touch of God, we need to reach out and stretch out. First Jesus spoke to the man, He saw the man and told him to stand up. If we want to be healed then we cannot stay at the same place, we don’t need to worry about how others look at us, but take the step, come to Jesus. Jesus is the source of life, we must draw near to Him, to turn to Him, and to wait upon Him. Then Jesus asked the man to stretch out, something he could not do for a long time. If we want to be healed, we must first do what we are unable to do for a long time. When we reach out, then the power of God will come to us.
We need to reach out to God, to pray, to ask Him to restore life in us, restore our passion, restore our faith, restore our love, and do what we cannot do in the past. Be willing to reach out and be the channel of God’s power, and through us, bring healing and restorations. Let us serve the people, love the people, fill the needs of people, and let our passion be restored.