A withered hand

Mark 3:1-6

There I stood again, in the synagogue, a Sabbath, sinful for all to see, my withered hand a testimony against me. I knew I had been rejected by God, the Lord my healer, my hand a sign that in some way I or someone in my family had not been diligent in listening to the voice of the Lord (Exodus 15:26). And they were there, the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law looking on. They for whom diligence in the word of God was a by word.

He came in; the teacher and healer, Jesus. I bore the shame of sin before him and they all looked on as if I was evidence, an accusation.

There was an exchange and I saw wrath in Jesus’ eyes; he called me and I heard his loving voice commanded me to stretch out my hand. Carefully I did as he said; I was immediately and completely healed and I understood his words, “… is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” I had been saved, I had been made whole and a great weight lifted from my heart.

Truly this man is Lord of the Sabbath, the Lord my Healer.

Suffering is a dreadful thing. We think of it in terms of illness and failing health but for Jesus it was living as Lord of all in a sinful world, seeing the consequences of sin and experiencing persecution. We suffer when we experience injustice or witness it; experience pain or witness it. We feel wrath and compassion. It is right to feel anger at suffering and it is right to be active in fighting it.

Somehow our response to injustice is easy, we fight it. But what about sickness? Jesus was angered by the Pharisees whose interpretation of the Law would forbid his healing of the man. They had faith in Jesus, they expected him to heal the man; they were there to collect evidence that would enable them to kill him.

They did not see their plotting to harm Jesus as wrong. Jesus is provoked to judge them with a question…is it lawful … to do good or harm, to save life or to kill?

Jesus’ healing of the man was the answer. Their response revealed the hardness of their hearts.

And Jesus is the same now as he was then and so we pray for people to be healed. I will not cease to pray as to not pray for healing would be to deny the words Jesus taught us to pray, “..Your Kingdom come your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.” In God’s coming Kingdom there will be no pain (Revelation 21:4). In Jesus we see this time brought forward to now, into our present darkness. We don’t see its fullness, but always God trumps evil with good (Romans 8:18-31). Our troubles are transformed into victory and we are healed, sometimes miraculously, always inwardly and always eternally; spirit, mind and body.

So what about the suffering of sickness and infirmity? Pray and keep praying. Healing is good; when Jesus says “ to save life” he is speaking of healing.

Each Sunday at between 6-30 and 7-30 pm we are there for you. There will be no accusing eyes and if you need prayer for healing, just ask.

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