A Hand For Valentine’s Day
I got one of the sweetest Valentine’s Day gifts ever—pictures from my son and his wife of our gorgeous thirteen-year-old granddaughter. She was at a Valentine’s dance. In one of the pictures the red rose corsage on her wrist highlighted the elegant line of her arm and wrist, but Rett Syndrome makes it impossible for her to use that hand and her fingers stay closed.
If Jesus were at a local synagogue, looked at our granddaughter, and not only empowered the nerves in her hand but removed all the effects of Rett Syndrome, our entire family would explode with thanksgiving and dance. A man with an impaired hand did sit in a synagogue service with Jesus when He was here on earth, and Jesus did single him out. He had the man stand up in middle of the crowd, and everyone watched to see what would happen.
“Now it happened on another Sabbath Jesus came to a synagogue and was teaching. Now a man was there, and his right hand was drawn up in paralysis. The scribes and Pharisees in attendance were watching closely to see if He would heal on the Sabbath. They were looking for grounds to bring charges against Him. Jesus knew their thoughts and said to the man with the paralyzed hand, ‘Get up and stand here in the middle.’ So he got up and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Let me ask you, Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath or evil, to save a life or destroy it?’ And when He had looked all around at all of them, He said, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He did and his hand was restored. But they (the scribes and Pharisees) became full of fury and discussed together what they might do with Jesus.” Luke 6:6-11
Luke shows us that the religious legalists who opposed Jesus started out accusing Him of blasphemy because He claimed to have the divine right to forgive sins (Luke 5:21) and they refused to join the praise when a lame man stood up and walked. When Jesus went to Levi, the tax collector’s dinner party, they questioned His choice of friends (Luke 5:30). When they didn’t see His disciples keeping regular religious fasts, they again questioned (Luke. 5:34). The tension is rising. Jesus opponents become like private investigators seeking to find any grounds to accuse. When Jesus allowed His disciples to eat the grain in a field on the Sabbath, they accuse them of breaking the fourth commandment, and now when Jesus restores a paralyzed hand on the Sabbath, they start to secretly discuss what they will do with Him.
As I read about their critical spirit, their inflexibility, and their total failure to enter into the wonder and joy when Jesus’ miraculous power relieves intense suffering and pain, it makes me angry.
Mary and I can hardly wait for the day when Jesus pours strength into our granddaughter’s beautiful wrist and hand and those fingers will unbend and begin to respond forever. I’m upset with those who try to rob others of this hope—the hope that one day those who believe in Jesus will see Him bring in a Kingdom where paralysis, blindness, deafness, sickness, and death will be abolished by His command forever.
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