On a certain Sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught,
and there was a man there whose right hand was withered.
The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely
to see if he would cure on the Sabbath
so that they might discover a reason to accuse him.
But he realized their intentions
and said to the man with the withered hand,
“Come up and stand before us.”
And he rose and stood there.
Then Jesus said to them,
“I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath
rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?”
Looking around at them all, he then said to him,
“Stretch out your hand.”
He did so and his hand was restored.
But they became enraged
and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.
As I pray with this Gospel reading for Monday, three characters emerge – Jesus, the man with the withered hand, and the scribes and Pharisees. There are things that we can learn from each of these characters.
First of all, let’s look at the scribes and Pharisees. They were watching Jesus closely, looking for a reason to accuse Him of breaking the law. They were “enraged” when Jesus actually cured the man on the Sabbath. How could they be angry over someone being cured? Their hearts were closed and they couldn’t see God right in front of them. They were so focused on the law that they were blinded of the grace that was before them.
Do we do the same with Jesus?
Do we look for reasons to blame God for things that don’t go the way we want them to go?
Secondly, we have the man with the withered hand. What did he need to be cured? He had to have FAITH that Jesus could heal him and He needed to follow Jesus’ command, “Stretch out your hand.” The Lord wants us to reach out to Him in our need and to trust that He can heal any wound.
Do I bring my wounds to Jesus with faith that He can heal me?
Do I stretch out to Him for my every need?
Finally, what can we learn about Jesus? He always wants to LOVE and HEAL. And He doesn’t care about the man-made laws of curing on the Sabbath. He came to love, to heal, to bring people to the Father. Whatever needs to be done to save souls – that is what Jesus was going to do.
Do I believe that Jesus wants to love and heal me?
Do I trust the Lord – that the God of the universe wants me to live with Him for all eternity?
Have a blessed day!