Vol. 2 No. 53 – 12-31-2017
And behold, there was a man with a withered hand. And they questions Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” –in order that they might accuse Him. Matthew 12:10
The miracle of Jesus healing a man with a deformed hand is better understood when we consider the background (the context).
There is an atmosphere full of anger, vindictiveness, and treachery. The religious left-wing Pharisees stood in the way of this man being healed. Rather than to witness God’s blessing, these leaders formed a barricade! Not unlike political leaders that think anyone’s opinion other than their pharisaical opinion is incorrect and therefore one must do all that can be done to snuff out another’s authority (even though in truth this is God’s Son). No respect, no acknowledgement of the identity of the leader performing the miracle, just anger, conflict, and unrighteousness prevailing.
The friction started over what a person could or could not do on the Sabbath. The Pharisees were irate because Jesus did not conform to their carefully crafted set of rules (something like the elites of our Washington Congress that think unless it comes from them it is not valid; just review this past year’s activity by the entrenched congress supported by the media!).
Some scholars believe the Pharisees deliberately “planted” the afflicted man in the synagogue crowd to effect a charge against Jesus. Jesus did not conform to their expectations and certainly did not conform to their scheme of how to run the society. How would anyone dare come against their agenda? They sought to embarrass Jesus, or at least discredit Him with the people. It was a 2017 strong-arm tactic in a First Century style.
The Pharisees would do anything to “win” the theological debate; however, in the process they had no compassion for the man’s physical problem! In addition, the man was expendable in their eyes; just a tool to be used toward their ends.
Notice the Lord’s concise and simple logic of verse 11:
And He said to them, “What man shall there be among you, who shall have one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it, and lift it out?
- Did you catch the heart of God?
- Grace is more important than any ceremony
- Mercy is of higher priority than ritual
- Compassion is valued over rules
- Right is more important than what a powerful leader might say
You and I do not have a normal command over miracles by our word; however, it is no less of a miracle when we fight off protocol, peer pressure, and politically correct expectations to reach out to lead and help people – especially when they are hurting.
We may not be able to do the impossible, but we can be enabled to do what God wants. So, we may ask of ourselves, what are we willing to risk to do the important? Under the prompting of the Holy Spirit, are we willing to change our schedules, rework our giving to accommodate a need, or even challenge what others do in the name of the status quo?
We live in an image conscious society. How important is it to remember that God does not care if we look a god, but that we do His good. It is, after all, His miracle to perform.
Christmas attracted us to gatherings with many others. Thinking this time of year, for the Christian and Christian leader takes us to contemplation regarding how we might be a servant for Christ in situations we find ourselves being positioned to act. Our positioning is through God’s eyes, His hand, and His heart.
The objects on which a man allows his mind habitually to dwell determines his acts, his career, and his destiny. –C.R. Erdman
How we think, speak, and do comes from the heart. Where are our hearts today?