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Reach, Stand, Wash and See

Jesus spoke sentences of Truth to all who would hear. He came as the Word made flesh to walk among us. Jesus prayed and showed His followers how to pray. These were big parts of the ministry He performed during His days on earth.

Jesus also came to heal, restore, and revive. His ministry of miracles came out of His compassion. His purpose in these things was not to enhance His popularity, but to glorify the Father who sent Him to earth.

A Hand Made Whole

In Luke 6, Jesus stepped into a synagogue on the Sabbath, as was His habit – yes, even the Son of God made it a practice to be in the local assembly. He was there to teach. His words were full of grace and the listeners were astonished.

There, on that day, was a man with a withered right hand. He could hold nothing with those fingers. We read nothing of how this condition came upon him. Perhaps some speculated that  this crippled one was under a curse. It was a common belief that bad things happened to people who did bad things. Read the story of Job and pay attention to how his “friends” kept pushing him to get right and confess his faults. Job refused to forsake his integrity by admitting to something he did not do.

Jesus called this man to stand. He was about to do a Sabbath work. “Stretch out your hand,” said the Savior. The man heard the Word and did as Jesus said. At once, the hand was as good as new.

You would think that such a demonstration of God’s power would have had everyone in the place lifting their hands in praise. But that’s not what happened.

Instead, the leaders of the synagogue shook their fists in rage and disgust. Healing on the Sabbath was against their rules. Their hard hearts could not celebrate with this man made whole. Sadly, some are so bound by ceremony and ritual that the real work of the Lord has no impact on them.

How did this man leave the synagogue that day? He believed Jesus and was made free by God’s power. What great rest entered his life that day. No longer would he have to struggle and labor to figure out how to do his work and conduct his affairs with one operational hand.

Think of the full embraces he gave his wife and children after this moment. I am sure that his heart was full of joy at what Jesus had done.

A Body Made Straight

Another story of healing comes in Luke 13. This one involves the crooked body of a faithful woman. Jesus would refer to her as “daughter of Abraham bound by Satan.” The infirmity had left her hunched and bowed for 18 years. This was a woman who could not look up.

She came to the synagogue on that day. I am thinking she was a regular at these meetings. Imagine how much effort it took for her just get to her seat, on the Sabbath day.

Jesus saw it all and called her to Himself. He spoke, “Woman, you are free from this infirmity.” He touched her, and she was made straight. She glorified God before all who were gathered there.

Few rejoiced with her, however. Again, the synagogue rulers were outraged that healing happened on the day of rest. How dare Jesus work a work of God in the house of God on the day of no work?

Jesus responded to the indignant protests with this: “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox and his donkey from the manger and lead it to water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for 18 years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?”

With these words, Jesus pointed to the real power behind the restrictive religious attitude in the room. The devil suffered a defeat there, and Christ made sure everyone knew this.

At last, the people cut loose with songs and praise, for the adversaries of God’s goodness had been put to shame.

Like the man with the withered hand, the woman with a crooked back really just showed up for church. Both of these people had learned to live their lives. But everything changed when Jesus was on the scene.

Eyes Opened

The last story of healing I want to address involves the blind man in John 9. Jesus came to this man’s dark world and was made an example by the disciples. Their question was this one: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Even the closest of Jesus’ followers still had twisted notions about infirmities and the reasons behind them. The Savior’s response must have astounded them: “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

These words may stir questions. Is Jesus saying that the things that are wrong with us are there to make way for the works of God? I think that’s exactly what He said.

All that’s wrong with us is because of us. Click To Tweet

All that’s wrong with us is because of us. The Fall of Adam and Eve opened the human race to death and made the soil susceptible to the weeds, the thorns, the thistles, etc. We’re naked, and we know it. Our bodies become weak and frail, and our minds and hearts are battered with thoughts that distort our views of ourselves and of others.

To the blindness that clouded the eyes of this man, Jesus had an answer. It was this:  Here’s mud in your eyes. Jesus spat on the ground and mixed up a batch of clay to smear on the man’s face. The Savior then told the man to go and wash.

The man did as Jesus said, and he saw the light of the sun for the first time ever. And because he saw, the whole neighborhood was thrown into an uproar. Again, the healing work of the Savior was unwelcome because it happened at the wrong time – on the Sabbath.

The once-blind man was interrogated and called a liar by the religious authorities. In the midst of this investigation, his parents were brought in and they identified him as their son, but wanted nothing to do with him and his story. This man was made an outcast from the Temple and from his family.

The man eyes  had been opened,  but now it seemed he was all alone.

Jesus found him. He fully introduced Himself as more than his Healer. The Lord invited the man to believe in the Son of Man, and believe he did. Once, he was blind, now he could see the world with his eyes and see the truth with his heart.

What miracle could God do in us today? Jesus has come to save. His Spirit lives in us.

Let’s stretch our hands to Him in praise. Let’s stand up for the Gospel. Let’s wash away what clouds our vision.

Let’s see Him for who He is – our Healer, our Redeemer, our Friend, our Lord.

 

 

 

Steve Andrulonis

Steve Andrulonis

Spent more than 25 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before entering full-time ministry in 2006. He assists the Senior Pastor of Greater Grace, helps to manage church services, coordinates the Grace Hour radio broadcast, and teaches at Maryland Bible College and Seminary and Greater Grace Christian Academy.
Steve Andrulonis

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