Will You Bring That Which Is Withered That It Might Be Made Whole & Restored?

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as it was written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the sixth chapter of this New Testament book. ”And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands. And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days? And Jesus answering  them said, Have ye not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was an hungred, and they which were with him; how he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone? And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath” (Luke 6:1-5).

            “And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered. And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him. But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth. Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? To save life, or to destroy it? And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus” (Luke 6:1-11).

            “And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And wen it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor” (Luke 6:12-16).

            “And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all” (Luke 6:17-19).

            “And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laught. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you you, and cast out your name as evil, for day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. But woe unto you that are rich! For ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! For ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! For ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:20-26).

            “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you. And unto him that smiteth thee and him that taketh away thy cloke, forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? For sinners do good to them which do good to you, even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? For sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing against; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:27-36).

            “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemn,ned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:37-38).

            “And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch? The disciple is not above his master: but ever one that is perfect shall be as his master. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceives not the beam that is thine own eye? Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye. For a good ttree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh” (Luke 6:39-45).

            “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: HE is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth  not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great” (Luke 6:46-49).

            LESSONS CONCERNING THE SABBATH! LESSONS ON THE SABBATH! LESSONS OF THE SABBATH FROM THE LORD OF THE SABBATH! When you come to the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke you will find it immediately beginning with two distinct and powerful narratives concerning Jesus and the Sabbath. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this reality concerning Jesus and the sabbath, for already in this gospel narrative we have found two other distinct events which took place around the sabbath—and not only the sabbath, but also around the sabbath and the synagogue. If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are written and recorded in the fourth chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative you will be brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth surrounding Jesus returning from the wilderness full of the Holy Spirit and coming unto Galilee—that place from whence He departed when He made His way unto the Jordan River to be baptized by His cousin John the Baptist. It would be at the Jordan River where the heavens would be opened, the Holy Spirit would descend upon Jesus in the bodily form as a dove, and the voice of the Father would speak from heaven emphatically declaring that Jesus was His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased. Immediately after emerging from the waters of the Jordan River Jesus would be led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness where He would be tempted of the devil during a forty day period of time. As you read the words which are found within these verses you will find that not only did Jesus enter into the wilderness full of and led by the Spirit, but Jesus also emerged from the wilderness just as full and still full of the Holy Spirit. Amazingly enough neither the wilderness  nor the temptations which Jesus faced and experienced decreased or diminished the person and presence of the Holy Spirit—a powerful truth which we must needs recognize and understand, for there is and there has not been a single temptation, trial, trouble or tribulation that has ever been designed or intended to decrease and diminish the person, the presence of the Holy Spirit within your life.

            As you read the fourth chapter you will find that Jesus would return unto Galilee in the power of the Holy Spirit and would immediately return unto His hometown of Nazareth where He had spent the first thirty years of His life growing up. What you find within the fourth chapter is that it would be in Nazareth Jesus would enter into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and it would be there in the synagogue in the town of His upbringing the scroll of the prophet Isaiah would be delivered unto Him for to read. Upon taking the scroll of the prophet Isaiah Jesus would find the place where it was written concerning the presence and anointing of the Holy Spirit, for Jesus would read from what we have come to know as the sixty-first chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah. It’s actually quite remarkable and astonishing to think about and consider the account and narrative of Jesus in the town of Nazareth, for it’s almost as if He deliberately and intentionally chose Nazareth and the synagogue there in Nazareth to pronounce the reason for His coming and His manifesto and mission statement. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and powerful truth surrounding Nazareth and the synagogue, for it would be in this town and in this synagogue on the sabbath day Jesus would speak of the presence of the Holy Spirit being upon Him—and not only the presence of the Holy Spirit being upon Him, but also the anointing of the Spirit that He might preach and that He might bring deliverance, freedom, sight, recovery, and so much more. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for it calls and draws our attention to the truly wonderful truth surrounding Jesus’ words here in Nazareth, for what we find on the sabbath in the synagogue in the town of Nazareth is not only Jesus emphatically declaring and proclaiming the presence and anointing of the Holy Spirit within and upon His life, but we also find Him declaring and proclaiming unto those in Nazareth how they would hear of the great works and wonders He would perform in the cities, towns and villages round about Galilee, and even in the land of Judaea, and how they would entreat Him to come and do among them what He had done among others. Moreover, Jesus would go on to describe how there were many widows in the land of Israel during the days of Elijah, and yet how the living and eternal God sent the prophet Elijah unto a widow in Sarepta during the three and a half years of famine and drought. What’s more, is Jesus declared how there were many lepers in the land of Israel during the days of Elisha, however, it would only be unto Naaman the Syrian the prophet Elisha would be sent.

            There is not a doubt in my mind that Nazareth was specifically ordained, appointed and chosen as the place where the Lord Jesus Christ would proclaim and announce His manifesto unto and among them concerning the reason and purpose for which He had come. What’s more, is that I find it absolutely and incredibly intriguing to read the words which are found in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke, for that which Jesus spoke unto them seemed to suggest that they in Nazareth were much like those in Israel during the days of the prophets, and how healing, cleansing and restoration would take place outside of their location and region while there were many among them who were undoubtedly in need. Perhaps one of the greatest things I can’t help but think about and consider—not only when I read the words found in the fourth chapter, but also the words which I find in the sixth chapter—is that there were needs which were present in the midst of the synagogue of Nazareth just as there were needs which were present in the synagogue in Capernaum, as well as within the synagogues within and throughout Nazareth, and yet Jesus could do absolutely nothing within that synagogue. Stop and think about the fact that they had the very person and presence of Jesus the Christ among them in their midst, they had the presence and anointing of the Holy Spirit present among them, and yet Jesus could do absolutely nothing. There were those from the town of Nazareth with the eternal Son and the eternal Spirit both present among them and in their midst, and yet Jesus could do absolutely nothing among them. What’s more, is that Jesus would even declare and proclaim unto and among them that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him and had anointed Him to preach, to bring deliverance, to give sight to the blind, and much more, and yet Jesus could do absolutely nothing among them. Oh there is not a doubt in my mind that there in the synagogue of Nazareth there were needs which were present among them just as there were needs which were present in the synagogue of Capernaum. We find and read in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke that those in Capernaum were astonished at the teaching and doctrine of Jesus, for they perceived that His word was with power. Furthermore, it is written in another place how they marveled at His teaching, for He did not teach them as the scribes and the teachers of the Law, but taught with authority and power. Oh it is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are not only found in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke, but also the words which are found in the sixth chapter of the same gospel narrative:

            “…But He passing through the midst of them went His way, and came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. And they were astonished at His doctrine: for His word was with power. And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not. And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! For with authority and power He commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out. And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about” (Luke 4:30-37).

            “And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: AND THE POWER OF THE LORD WAS PRESENT TO HEAL THEM. And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him. And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the hoestop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day” (Luke 5:16-26).

            “And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered. And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him. But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth. Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? TO save life, or to destroy it? And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus” (Luke 6:6-11).

            As you read the words which are found in the fourth, fifth and sixth chapters of the New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke you will find deliverance of a man who was possessed, tormented and oppressed by an unclean spirit, you will find a man who was sick with the palsy whose sins were forgiven him and who was able to rise from his bed healed in the sight of all those present, and you even find a man with a withered hand who stretched forth his hand in the midst of all those in the synagogue and experience restoration. DELIVERANCE, RESTORATION, HEALING! Please don’t miss the absolutely incredible and wonderful truths which are found within each of these chapters and passages of Scripture, for they offer a drastically and dramatically different picture from that which we find present in the synagogue within the town of Nazareth. It would be in the synagogue within the town of Nazareth Jesus would not only read from the prophetic words which were written and recorded in the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, but would also declare that the words which were prophesied centuries earlier by Isaiah were fulfilled in their hearing. It would be there in the town of Nazareth Jesus would publicly announce and proclaim the presence and anointing of the Holy Spirit unto them, and yet despite the fact that the Spirit of the LORD was upon Him and had anointed Him to preach, to deliver, to restore, to heal, to save, and so much more, they were unable to experience any divine works from the hand of the living and eternal God. This is an incredibly different picture from what we find and read in the fourth, fifth and sixth chapters of this New Testament book, for we find Jesus in at least two other synagogues teaching and preaching unto and among them. What’s more, is that Jesus didn’t merely teach and preach among them, but Jesus would also bring restoration and deliverance in the midst of those who were present. It would be in the synagogue of Capernaum Jesus would bring deliverance for and unto a man who was tormented, possessed and oppressed by an unclean spirit. It would be there in the synagogue in the town of Capernaum where one among them was grievously tormented and oppressed, and not only did Jesus teach and preach among them, but Jesus would also bring deliverance into the life, into the heart and into the soul of this particular man. Oh how absolutely awesome and wonderful this truly is when you take the time to think about it, for it calls and draws our attention to the beautiful truth that Jesus did more than simply teach and preach in the synagogues, for he would also bring deliverance in the life of that one who was grievously tormented and oppressed by an unclean spirit.

            Oh I have to admit that I absolutely love the words which are found within these three chapters, for when you come to the fifth chapter you will find Jesus once more present in the house surrounded by Pharisees and doctors of the Law who had come from Galilee, Judaea and Jerusalem to hear Him teach and preach. What makes the words found in the fifth chapter of this gospel narrative so incredibly astonishing and remarkable when you take the time to think about and consider it is that the beloved physician Luke would also go on to state and declare that the power of the Lord was present among them to heal them. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that Luke writes, mentions and speaks of Jesus being surrounded by Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, and how the power of the Lord was present to heal them. The underlying question I can’t help but think about when I consider these words is who is meant by the word “them” as it is used in this particular portion of Scripture. I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that as you read the words in this portion of Scripture you will find Luke emphatically declaring and proclaiming that the power of the Lord was present to heal “them.” The question I can’t help but think about and consider when reading the words which are found in this portion of Scripture is who Luke was referring to when He declared that the power of the Lord was present to heal “them.” Was Luke attempting to suggest that the power of the Lord was present to heal the Pharisees and doctors of the Law? If these words and this declaration of the beloved physician Luke was indeed intended on describing and declaring that the power of the Lord was present to heal the Pharisees and the doctors of the law, it is quite astonishing and tragic to think that none of them would experience healing from the great Physician. As you read the words which are found within this portion of Scripture you will find the power of the Lord being present to heal them—and not only will you find the power of the Lord present to heal those who were present, but it wouldn’t be until men would bring this man sick with the palsy and lowered him down before Jesus in the midst of all those who were present that the power of the Lord would actually be manifested in their midst.

            Pause and consider the words found in this portion of Scripture, for what we find within these verses is a truly wonderful and powerful picture of the power of the Lord being present to heal, and how that power was indeed activated by the faith within the hearts and spirits of those who not only brought this man to the top of the house, and who not only removed the tiling from the house, but who also lowered this man down before Jesus in the sight and presence of all those who were present. What’s more, is that as you read the words found in this passage of Scripture you will find that while it is and while it was indeed true that the power of the Lord was present to heal those who were present on this particular day, there would be more that would be experienced than simply healing. You cannot read the words found in this portion of Scripture and not encounter and come face to face with the tremendous truth that while it was indeed true the power of the Lord was present to heal those who were there in the midst—there would be more that would take place than simply healing. Upon reading the words found in this passage of Scripture you will not only find this man who was sick with the palsy being healed and restored and rising up from his mat in the sight and presence of all of them, but you will also find Jesus declaring unto this man that his sins were forgiven him. Oh how truly wonderful and powerful it is to think about and consider the fact that here on this day within an atmosphere and environment where the power of the Lord was present to heal those who were there in the midst of this place, and how that power was indeed and would in fact be activated by and through the faith of those who brought this man who was sick with the palsy. The beloved physician Luke was very careful to declare that the power of the Lord was present to heal those who were present, and yet what we find in this particular passage is that the only one who was healed was one who wasn’t even part of the original group of people present in the house. Stop and think about how the power of the Lord was present on this particular day in this particular location to heal those in the midst, and how the only healing that would take place would be found within the life of one who had to physically be lowered in the midst of the house from the roof. The power of the Lord was present to heal those who were present, however, that healing would not be experienced, nor would it be received by anyone who was present there in the midst.

            It is truly something worth thinking about when reading the words found in these chapters, for in the fourth chapter we find deliverance possible within the synagogue at Capernaum—and not only deliverance, but deliverance of a man who was tormented and oppressed by an unclean spirit. In the fifth chapter we find the power of the Lord being present in an environment where Jesus would be in the company and presence of Pharisees and doctors of the law which had come out of every town Galilee, and Judaea and Jerusalem. The power of the Lord was present to heal those who were present, and yet that one who would be healed in the midst of them was one who was not even present in the house. The power of the Lord was present to heal those who were present here in the house, and yet that power would not be activated until it was matched with and by the faith of those who would bring this man with the palsy whom they would lower down in the midst of all those who were present. What makes this absolutely incredible is when you think about and consider the fact that the power of the Lord was present to heal, and yet even before healing would be released into the life of this man, forgiveness itself would be released. It was indeed true that the power of the Lord was present to heal those who were present in this house, however, even before the power of the Lord would release healing in the midst of them, forgiveness of sins would be released into the life of this man who was sick with the palsy. It would be Jesus’ words concerning this forgiveness that would anger and infuriate the Pharisees and doctors of the Law, for they thought within their hearts and minds how this man was speaking blasphemies. Those doctors of the Law and Pharisees which were present on this particular day would be absolutely infuriated with Jesus when He would offer this man forgiveness, and they even accused Him within their hearts of blasphemy. What I so love about that which was found in this narrative is that not only had Jesus already forgiven this man of his sins, but to demonstrate His authority on earth to forgive sins He instructed and commanded the man sick with the palsy to rise up from his bad and make the journey home. Immediately the man received strength and healing within his physical body, rose up in the sight and presence of them all, and would return unto his home forgiven and healed. RETURNING HOME FORGIVEN AND HEALED! IN AN ATMOSPHERE OF THE POWER OF THE LORD WHEN FAITH IS ACTIVATED IT IS POSSIBLE FOR MEN TO RETURN HOME FORGIVEN OF THEIR SINS AND HEALED OF THEIR INFIRMITY!

            The more you read the words which are found within this portion of Scripture the more you will find Jesus’ authority on the sabbath day—and not only His authority on the sabbath day, but also His authority over the sabbath day. If there is one thing I can’t help but realize and consider when reading the words found in this portion of Scripture it’s that within these chapters we find Jesus exercising authority on the sabbath day in the midst of the synagogues, as well as exercising authority over the sabbath. It is absolutely necessary and imperative we recognize and understand this, for it draws and calls our attention to the absolutely awesome and powerful truth that what we find concerning Jesus on these particular days is Jesus exercising authority on the sabbath in the midst of the synagogue—and not only exercising authority on the sabbath, but also exercising authority in various different situations and circumstances. Within these three chapters we find Jesus exercising authority over an unclean spirit which had tormented and oppressed one who was present in the synagogue in Capernaum. We also find Jesus exercising authority on earth to forgive sins, as well as to bring healing and wholeness into the life of one who was sick with the palsy. Moreover, you will also find within this portion and passage of Scripture a truly awesome and powerful truth concerning Jesus continuing to exercise authority on the sabbath by healing a man who was present in the synagogue with a withered hand. If you read the sixth chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative you will find and discover Jesus not only instructing and inviting this man with the withered hand to stand forth, but He also invited and instructed Him to stretch forth. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for there is something truly astonishing and truly remarkable about the instruction and invitation to stand forth in the midst of those before and all around us—and not only standing forth, but also stretching forth that part of our body which was withered, and that part of ourselves which was deformed.

            WOULD YOU STAND FORTH IN THE MIDST OF OTHERS AT THE INVITATION OF JESUS? WOULD YOU STRETCH FORTH THAT PART OF YOUR BODY WHICH IS AND WHICH HAS BEEN WITHERED? WOULD YOU STRETCH FORTH THAT PART OF YOUR BODY WHICH IS AND HAS BEEN DEFORMED? I sit here today thinking about and considering the words and language found in the sixth chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative and I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with and by the fact that Jesus’ instructions to the man with the withered hand was essentially two-fold. What’s more, is that we have a great need within our own hearts and minds to recognize and understand this instruction and invitation that was given unto this man with the withered hand, for Jesus’ words to him would essentially involve two different instructions and invitations. Scripture makes it very clear that on this particular sabbath day there was a man in the midst of the synagogue who had a withered hand, and how the scribes and the Pharisees watched Jesus intently and carefully to see how He might respond and what He might do. Within the text in the sixth chapter of this gospel narrative you will find Luke writing and recording how on another sabbath Jesus entered into the synagogue and taught, and how on this particular sabbath there was a man whose right hand was withered. What Luke writes and records next is absolutely remarkable and astounding, for what we find is the scribes and the Pharisees which were present in the synagogue watching Jesus intently to see whether or not He would heal on the sabbath. What I find so absolutely incredible when reading and considering the words found in this portion of Scripture is how Jesus would teach in this synagogue and how there was present among them on this sabbath one whose right hand would be withered. The scribes and Pharisees—essentially the religious crowd which was present on this particular sabbath—would watch Jesus to see whether or not He would indeed heal on the sabbath. Please don’t miss what is taking place here, for the scribes and the Pharisees viewed healing—particularly healing on the sabbath—as a direct violation to their traditions, their rules, their regulations, and even a violation of the Law itself.

            The words which we find in the sixth chapter of this New Testament gospel are absolutely remarkable—not necessarily because of Jesus’ disregard for the thoughts and opinions of the scribes and the Pharisees, but because of the instructions and invitation He gave unto this man who was present in the midst of the synagogue. As you read the words found in this portion of Scripture you will find that Jesus gave this man two distinct invitations and two distinct instructions—the first being stand forth, while the second was being stretch forth. Directly linked and connected to the first command and invitation was “Rise up,” for not only did Jesus invite this man to stand forth in the midst of all those who were present in the synagogue, but Jesus also invited this man to rise up. In order for Jesus to do within the life of this man that which He desired and intended to do it would require this man to rise up from his place in the midst of those present—even rising up in the midst of the Pharisees and scribes which were present in the synagogue itself. In order for Jesus to fulfill and accomplish within the life of this man he needed to be willing to rise up from his place among the Pharisees and the scribes and to stand forth in the midst of all those who were present. Pause for a moment and think about the tremendous amount of courage that would have been exercised by this man to not only rise up from the place he was sitting, but also to stand forth. Luke makes it perfectly clear that the eyes of the scribes and the Pharisees were all on Jesus to see whether or not He would heal on the sabbath—completely and utterly unaware that Jesus knew their thoughts and the motives and intentions of their hearts. How incredibly intriguing it is to think about and consider the fact that the scribes and Pharisees which were present on this particular day would have preferred to have this man with the withered hand remain in and with his condition than to have Jesus heal him on the sabbath day. The scribes and the Pharisees watched Jesus intently trying to determine and see whether or not He would indeed and would in fact heal on the sabbath day.

            If there is one thing I absolutely love about the words found in this particular portion of Scripture it’s that not only was Jesus aware of the thoughts within the hearts and minds of the scribes and Pharisees, but Jesus also invited this man to rise up and stand forth in the midst of the religious leaders present at that time. There is not a doubt in my mind that Jesus knew exactly what He wanted to do and exactly what the Father wanted to do, and that His actions would have been further propelled and fueled by the silence of the scribes and Pharisees. I am absolutely and completely convinced that what we find within this portion of Scripture is truly astonishing, for the progression of this account describes Jesus inviting this man to rise up and stand in the midst of the scribes and Pharisees—those individuals who not only watched to see if Jesus would heal him, but those who also watched Jesus to see if they could find means and ground for accusing him. It is something worth thinking about and considering how the scribes and the Pharisees would watch Jesus with caution and suspicion on this particular sabbath and to see whether or not He would heal this man, and their only reason for doing so was that they might find reason to accuse Jesus. What I so love about this particular portion of Scripture and the narrative surrounding this man is that Jesus would invite this man to rise up from his place in the midst of the synagogue—and not only invite the man to rise up from his place, but also stand forth in the midst of all those who were present. It would be while this man would be standing forth in the midst of the crowd of people present on this day Jesus would then turn and direct His attention toward the scribes and the Pharisees and would ask them one question with two different and two distinct parts. The first question Jesus would ask the scribes and Pharisees would be whether or not it was lawful on the sabbath to do good or evil, while the second question Jesus would ask the scribes and Pharisees was whether or not it was lawful to save life or to destroy it. We ought not miss and lose sight of the words which Jesus presented unto those who were present on this particular day, for Jesus’ words were incredibly powerful—not only concerning the sabbath itself, but also concerning the nature of life itself.

            As you take the time to think about and consider the words found in this portion of Scripture you will quickly be brought to the place where you will find Jesus speaking of good versus evil, as well as saving life versus destroying life. Pause and think about how incredibly powerful it is to read these words and how not only did Jesus speak concerning the sacredness and sanctify of life, but Jesus also spoke of the nature to do good. What’s more, is that Jesus also directly linked to the sabbath and whether or not the sabbath days were somehow an exception to saving life and doing good. The question Jesus asked the scribes and Pharisees on this particular day was one which we must needs recognize and understand, for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and powerful truth surrounding our willingness to do good and our willingness to save life. Jesus’ question(s) to the scribes and the Pharisees not only touched upon the sabbath, but Jesus’ questions also touched on whether or not we viewed it as being acceptable to save life and to do good toward others. We know that Jesus would instruct men to do unto others as they would have done unto them, and yet the question we find in this particular portion of Scripture centers around and upon whether or not we are willing to do good unto others and whether or not it is good to save life. Pause for a moment and ask yourself these same questions—and not only pertaining to and related to the sabbath days and those things we deem as sacred and holy. Really stop for a moment and ask yourself whether or not you personally feel within your heart and within your soul that it is lawful and good to do good or to do evil, and/or to save life or to destroy it. How we answer these questions can and will directly impact how we live our lives and how we conduct ourselves on a daily basis among those we interact with. It is absolutely necessary that we pay close and careful attention to what is found within this passage of Scripture, for we must needs determine and recognize whether or not we feel within our hearts and souls it is necessary and better to save life rather than destroy it, and to do good rather than to do evil.

            The question I find myself asking when I read these words is centered around and upon this chapter is how Jesus would not only directly link doing good and saving life to the sabbath, but he would also essentially ask which was the greater fulfillment of the law given by Moses. As you read the words found in this portion of Scripture you cannot help but encounter and come face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that is found in the questions Jesus asked the scribes and Pharisees, for the question He asked them centered upon the tremendous and powerful truth concerning it being lawful to do good and to save a life on the sabbath days. What makes this question all the more interesting and intriguing is when you consider the fact that Jesus asked the scribes and Pharisees if they would be willing to destroy life and/or even to do evil for the sake of the sabbath. Essentially that which the scribes and Pharisees would have done had Jesus allowed them to get away with it was allowing needs to go unmet and deliverance, healing, restoration and freedom to not take place on the sabbath days. While we might not deal with the same things Jesus did with the scribes, the Pharisees and the sabbath days we nonetheless deal with our agendas, our plans, and our schedule when it comes to our church services and our times within our houses of worship. We don’t argue and contend with whether or not it is lawful to do good or evil on the sabbath, nor do we argue and contend with whether or not it is lawful to save life or destroy it on the sabbath, however, we ourselves deal with whether or not it is lawful to do good even it goes against our agenda, our plans and our purposes within our houses of worship and our church services. Time and time again I have watched and witnessed men and women who have placed their own agenda, their own plans, their own timing, and their way of doing things ahead of the needs of others. WE might not think about whether or not it is lawful to do good and to save life on the sabbath, but we do without a doubt deal directly with the incredible truth of whether or not we deem and feel it permissible and acceptable to do good and to save life in the midst of our services—particularly and especially if it directly contradicts and goes against our plans, our schedules, our agendas, and our time frames. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture, for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that we have a truly great and powerful need within our hearts and lives to truly determine whether or not we are those who are willing to do good—and not only do good, but also save life—even if it means it goes against our agendas, our plans, our purposes, our timing, our schedule, and the like.

            Jesus asked the scribes and Pharisees whether or not they felt and believed that it was lawful to do good versus doing evil on the sabbath days, and even whether or not they felt it was lawful to save a life or destroy it on the sabbath days. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the incredible importance of this question, for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and powerful truth that we must needs determine within our own hearts and minds whether or not we are those who are willing to do good and those who are willing to save life—even if might go against our own schedule, our own agenda, our own plans, and that which we think and feel is necessary and acceptable. The question Jesus asked the scribes and the Pharisees is such that requires careful consideration within our own hearts and souls, for it calls and draws our attention to whether or not we feel and believe it is necessary, permissible, lawful and acceptable to do good and to save life rather than doing evil and destroying life. Perhaps the single greatest question we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not we are those who are willing to do good and to save life—even if it directly goes against what we might think, what we might feel, and what we might even want. One of the single greatest examples of this is found in the parable of the good Samaritan which Jesus told when one attempted to justify themselves in the presence of Jesus by asking who their neighbor was. The whole purpose of the parable of the good Samaritan was not only designed to reveal who was our neighbor, but also what we have been called to do unto others. The nature of the parable of the good Samaritan was designed and intended to be such that calls and invites us to recognize and understand what we have been called to do in order for us to be a neighbor unto others. Oh there is not a doubt in my mind that the parable of the good Samaritan is directly linked and connected to that which we find on this particular sabbath day in the midst of the synagogue, for just as Jesus asked the scribes and the Pharisees whether or not it was lawful to do good and to save life on the sabbath days, so also could the question of whether or not it was lawful to do good and to save the life of one who was beaten and left half dead on the side of the road. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the gospel narratives concerning the parable of the good Samaritan:

            “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? HE said unto him, What is written in the law? How readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise” (Luke 10:26-37).

            I have to admit that I absolutely love what is found within this particular parable which Jesus spoke unto that one who sought to justify himself, for I find it absolutely and intrinsically linked and connected to what is found in the sixth chapter. It would be in this particular synagogue Jesus would ask the scribes and the Pharisees whether or not it was lawful to do good on the sabbath and whether or not it was lawful to save life on the sabbath, and there is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if what we read in the parable of the good Samaritan might not have something to do with the sabbath day. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if this particular parable which Jesus spoke not only attempts to distinguish who was neighbour unto this man who fell among thieves and was not only robbed, but also beaten and left for dead, but it also shows the religious system and community overlooking and bypassing that one who was in tremendous need. The question I can’t help but think about when reading the words found in this portion of Scripture is whether or not the priest and the Levite chose to pass by on the other side because it was the sabbath day, and had they chosen to come to the aid and rescue of this man they might very well have violated the sabbath. Is it possible that the reason the priest and the Levite chose to pass by on the other side rather than helping this particular man was because they thought and felt that helping this man would have caused them to be guilty in the sight of the living and eternal God. Scripture is entirely and altogether unclear whether or not the priest and the Levite chose to pass by on the other side because was because they felt that doing so would have most certainly and undoubtedly have violated the sabbath. Oh there is something incredibly powerful about this particular portion of Scripture and how the priest and the Levite might have thought and felt that it was better to allow this man to remain half dead on the side of the road rather than helping him, for they felt that doing so would have caused them to defile and violate the sabbath. Stop and consider how incredibly troubling and tragic this truly is when you consider the fact that both the priest and the Levite might very well have thought within themselves that helping this man would have somehow caused them to be guilty, and even unclean in the sight of the living God.

            The parable of the good Samaritan is such that is absolutely remarkable and astounding when you take the time to think about it, for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and powerful truth surrounding the sabbath and what the religious community and the religious elite might very well have been willing to do and sacrifice for the sake of and on account of the sabbath day. I can’t help but find myself thinking about and considering the words which are found in the parable of the good Samaritan and how those who were present on this particular day might very well have thought and considered that it was unlawful to help someone and to do good unto someone on the sabbath day. There is a tremendous part of me that believes with my heart that both the priest and the Levite chose inaction rather than action because they believed that stopping to help this particular individual in need would have somehow violated the sabbath and would have made them guilty in the sight of the living God. I cannot help but think about and consider the fact that the priest and the Levite might very well have chosen to pass by on the other side of the street because they felt that stopping to help this man who was in need would have somehow caused them to become guilty in the sight of the living and eternal God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth of whether or not we are willing to save life and do good unto others who are in need—even if seems to violate and go against that which we think and feel within our hearts and lives. Oh perhaps one of the greatest questions we must needs ask ourselves is how many times we have chosen inactivity and inaction over action and activity simply because we weren’t willing to go against our schedule, our traditions, our plans, our agenda, our timing, and the like. Both the priest and the Levite saw and took notice of this man, and yet they would both pass by on the other side of the street, thus choosing inactivity over activity—perhaps because they thought and felt that if they stopped to help this particular man they would defile and make themselves unclean. Perhaps the priest and the Levite felt they would defile their garments and thus make themselves unclean, and this is the underlying reason why they were unwilling to stop and help this particular man who was in need. Perhaps the priest and the Levite passed by on the other side of the street because it was the sabbath, and they were unwilling to save a life and do good on the sabbath for fear of somehow violating the rules and traditions of the elders, as well as possibly the Law of Moses.

            With all of this being said, I absolutely love what is found within this portion of Scripture is that not only would Jesus invite this man to rise up and stand forth in the midst of the synagogue before the scribes and the Pharisees, but Jesus would also stretch forth that which was withered. Luke is sure to describe how this man had a withered hand, however, Luke would also describe how Jesus invited this man to stretch forth that part of his body which was withered and that part of his body which was deformed. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight how absolutely incredible this truly is when we take the time to consider it, for it draws and calls our attention to the truly awesome and wonderful reality surrounding Jesus’ invitation for this man to not only exercise courage, but also to exercise faith within his heart and soul to stretch forth that part of his body which was deformed and withered. Perhaps this man was ashamed of this deformity within his physical body, and even tried keeping it hidden and concealed from those who were before and around him. OH I can’t help but think about that which is before us in this particular text, for what we find in this text is a powerful picture of Jesus inviting us to stretch forth that part within our physical bodies, and that part within our hearts and lives which we might very well be ashamed of. What we must needs recognize and understand what is found within this portion of Scripture is that Jesus not only invited this man to rise up and stand forth in the midst of all those who were present in the midst of the synagogue, but so also did Jesus invite this man to stretch forth his hand—to stretch forth that part of himself that was withered and deformed. Oh the question we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not we are willing to be those who are willing to stretch forth those areas and those parts of our lives which might be deformed, and those parts of our lives which might be deformed. Are we as the people of God willing to stretch forth those parts of us which we might rather keep hidden and concealed from others? Are we such who might enter into the house of worship and those who might enter into the church building while the whole time seeking to keep those parts of our lives that are withered from being exposed and brought into the light?

            As I read the words which are found in this portion of Scripture I can’t help but be absolutely and completely convinced that there is within this passage of Scripture an incredibly powerful invitation given unto us to not only rise up and stand forth in the midst of those whom we worship with, but also to stretch forth that part of us that  might be withered and deformed. Oh it is true that those parts of us might at one point have been whole, and yet as time has progressed it has withered away. Much like the fig tree, and much like this man’s hand, there are parts of us and parts within us that might have withered away. Perhaps our faith was at one point in time whole, and yet as time has progressed our faith has indeed and in fact become withered. Perhaps our joy was at one point in time whole, and yet as time has passed our joy has become withered. Perhaps even our song, our worship and our praise has withered away within our hearts and lives—despite the fact that at one point in time it was whole. The question I can’t help but ask you who might be reading these words is what within your life might have at one point in time been whole, and yet as time has progressed has become withered away. If there is one thing we must needs understand as we read the words found in this passage of Scripture it’s that this man’s hand might have been withered, however, his hand was still there. This man’s hand was withered, however, it was still part of his body. It is necessary that we recognize and understand this, for even though this man’s hand was withered—so long as it was connected to his body Jesus was able to make it absolutely whole once more. Oh stop and think about this tremendous truth, for what we find within this text is this man having a part of himself that was withered and which had withered up, and yet Jesus would ask him to stretch it forth—and not only stretch it forth, but stretch it forth in the midst of all those who were present on this particular day.

            I absolutely love the words and language that is found within this portion and passage of Scripture, for the words we find here bring us face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that although there might be a part of us that has withered away, and although there might have been a part of us that is withered—there is absolutely nothing that is impossible with the living and eternal God. There is a great and present need within our hearts and our spirits to recognize and understand that although there might be parts of us which might have withered away, and although there might be parts within our physical bodies which have withered away over time—the Lord Jesus Christ invites us and has invited us to stretch it forth. How absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that when you read this passage you will encounter and come face to face with the awesome truth that there is a great amount of courage that is needed within our hearts and our souls to not only stand forth in the midst of others when we would rather remain seated, hidden and concealed, but also to stretch forth that area within our life which has withered away. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, as it brings us to the place where we confront those areas within our lives which might be withered, and those areas which might have withered away with time. Oh there is not a doubt in my mind that there are those present among us right now who have areas within their lives that at one point in life was whole, and yet as time progressed those things and those areas have withered away. I am convinced there are those among us whose prayer lives were at one point whole, and yet as time progressed their prayer lives have become withered away. There are those among us whose devotional lives were at one point whole and vibrant, and yet as time progressed they have become withered. There are those among us whose worship and whose praise was one point whole, and yet as time progressed such worship has become withered away. What’s more, is that with these things being withered they are unable to be used as they once were. With these areas and parts of our lives being withered away they are unable to be useful as they once were, and they aren’t as active as they once were.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words found in this portion of Scripture, and I can’t help but be confronted with the fact that this man’s hand was withered, and as a direct result of this he was unable to use that hand as he would the other part. Oh it was indeed true this man had full use of his other hand, and it was true that this man might have been able to use his other hand, however, this man might have found certain tasks, responsibilities, and assignments incredibly difficult. Those tasks and those things which we more often than not take for granted this man was unable to do because he only had use of one part of his body. There is not a doubt in my mind that not only was it possible this man tried to hide and conceal this deformity and part of his physical body that was withered, but this man was also unable to do and perform certain tasks and certain things others were able to do. I firmly believe that it required a tremendous amount of courage within the heart of this particular man, for Jesus invited him to take that part of him which was withered away and stretch it forth. SHOW ME YOUR DEFORMITY! SHOW ME WHAT YOU’VE TRIED HIDING! SHOW ME WHAT YOU’VE TRIED CONCEALING! SHOW ME WHAT’S WITHERED! Oh how incredibly powerful it is to read the words found in this portion of Scripture and to think about the fact that Jesus invited this man to stretch forth that part of his physical body that was withered and show it unto him. Jesus invited this particular man to take that part of himself that had withered away and to present it unto him. What’s more, is that not only would this man stretch forth his hand, but by doing so he would have stretched it forth in the company and sight of all those who were present on this particular day.

            If there is one thing I absolutely love about what is found in this portion of Scripture it’s that while it undoubtedly took and required courage from this man to stretch forth his hand in the sight and presence of all those which were present on this particular day, he would not stretch forth that which was withered, nor would he stretch forth that which was deformed. I am reminded of Moses when the Lord instructed him to reach his hand into his garment and pull it out, and how when he pulled it out it was leprous and white as snow. Immediately following this the LORD would invite and instruct Moses to reach his hand in his garment once more and upon removing it from his garment it would be clean and fully whole and restored. I absolutely love what we find in this passage of Scripture, for what we find in this portion of Scripture is this man having a hand that was withered, and yet when he stretched forth that hand—and not only when he stretched forth that hand, but also when he was willing to stretch forth that hand he would not stretch forth that which was withered, but he would stretch for that which was whole. I am absolutely convinced this man might very well have thought that he would have stretched forth his hand which was withered, and much to his surprise when he stretched forth his hand he would stretch forth that which was whole. This man stood forth with his right hand withered, and yet when he stretched forth he would stretch forth that which would and that which had been made whole. This man stood forth with that which was withered, and yet when he accepted the invitation of Jesus to stretch forth his hand, he would stretch forth that which was made whole. Oh I am absolutely and completely convinced that it was in the act and in the process of stretching forth his hand that this man would actually experience healing, wholeness and restoration within his physical body. I am convinced that his standing forth was to place him solely and squarely before the scribes and the Pharisees, and yet his stretching forth was designed to bring about the wholeness and restoration that was needed. It was only as this man stretched forth that part of his physical body that was deformed that he was able to experience wholeness and restoration of that very part.

            Oh there is something truly remarkable and astounding when we think about the words which are found in this portion of Scripture, for what we find in this portion of Scripture is an absolutely wonderful and powerful picture of our willingness to stretch forth that which has perhaps withered within our lives, for it is only in the stretching forth that we are able to experience wholeness and restoration within those parts of our lives. It is only when we are willing to stretch forth and make those parts of us that have withered exposed and vulnerable that we are able to experience restoration of those places and parts within our lives. It is only when we are willing to become and allow ourselves to be exposed and vulnerable that we are able to truly experience restoration and wholeness within our physical persons and bodies. There is not a doubt in my mind that if we as the people require and desire those parts within us which have been withered to be made whole there is a great need for us to take those parts and stretch them forth—and not only stretch them forth, but stretch them forth before others, and stretch them forth in the sight and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s interesting to note that this man could have stretched forth his hand in the presence of Jesus, and Jesus could have touched his hand and immediately restored and made it whole. This man could have very easily have stretched forth his hand and Jesus could have commanded it to be whole, and it would and could have been made whole as the other hand. Instead of either of these things take place this man would stretch forth his hand in faith, in confidence and in courage before Jesus and in the sight of all those who were present, and watched and witnessed in stunned amazement as his hand was restored and made whole as the other one.

As I bring this writing to a close it is absolutely necessary that we call and draw our attention to the awesome and powerful truth surrounding this man with the withered hand, for there is something prophetic and powerful which we must acknowledge within our own hearts and lives. There is a great need within our hearts and lives to be those who are willing to acknowledge those parts within our lives that are withered and those parts with have been withered. WE have great need to—with full faith, with full confidence, and with full courage and bravery—stretch forth those areas and parts of our lives, thus exposing and making them vulnerable. There is an open and powerful invitation present within this portion of Scripture that calls and invites us into the place where we are willing to stretch forth those areas within our lives that might have withered and which might presently be withered that we might experience restoration of those areas. We must needs realize and understand that if we are willing to rise up, if we are willing to stand forth, and if we are willing to stretch forth that which is withered, Jesus can indeed restore and make whole that which was previously withered. If we are willing to make ourselves open and vulnerable in the sight and presence of Jesus, as well as in the sight and presence of those before and around us, it is possible for us to experience wholeness and restoration within our hearts and lives. We ought not miss and lose sight of how truly wonderful and powerful this truth truly is, for it calls and brings our attention to the awesome truth surrounding Jesus’ ability and willingness to take those areas within our lives which are withered, and those areas within our lives which have been withered, and not only make them whole, but also restore them as brand new. We must recognize and acknowledge that Jesus can indeed restore and make all things new, and can take that which was withered, and that which has been withered within our lives, and He can restore and make it entirely and altogether brand new. If your prayer life is withered and has been weathered—rise up, stand forth and stretch forth. If you worship is withered and has been withered—rise up, stand forth and stretch forth. If you devotional life is withered and has been withered—rise up, stand forth, and stretch forth. If your faith, if you trust, and if your confidence is withered and has been withered—rise up, stand forth, and stretch forth. If your hope is withered and has been withered—rise up, stand forth, and stretch forth. If your peace and your joy is withered and has been withered—rise up, stand forth, and stretch forth. Oh that you would have the courage, the boldness and the faith to stretch forth that which is and that which has been withered in your life that the Lord Jesus might restore it and make it whole once more. Oh that you would have the courage and the confidence to stretch forth before the Lord and in the presence of others that which has been withered within your life that Jesus might take that which you might have sought to hide and conceal, and make it brand new. Let us this day resolve that if there are areas within our lives which are withered and which have been withered to rise up, to stand forth, and to stretch forth that we might experience the restoration, the healing, and the wholeness that is offered unto us by and through the person of Jesus Christ. Oh that we would rise up, stand forth, and stretch forth that we might be a people who experience that which has been withered in our lives being restored, being made whole, and being made brand new.

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