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The Pastor's Blog

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His left hand was strong. His right hand hung limply at his side, useless, withered, atrophied, a constant reminder that he was half a man. There was so much he couldn’t do. When he sought employment, he was rejected while more able-bodied laborers were hired. When he found the courage to worship and pray, he couldn’t even lift his hands before God’s throne.


When others saw his disfigured limb, they assumed that he was cursed by God for some horrible sin. Maybe the sin was his. Maybe it was his parents.


Downtrodden. Discouraged. Defeated. This unnamed man needed somebody to care, somebody to love him and encourage him. So, he made his way to Capernaum’s synagogue on the Sabbath day. That’s when Jesus saw him.


“Jesus entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a shriveled hand”

(Mark 3:1). It was his “right hand” (Luke 6:6), probably once his dominant hand.


The religious leaders were trying to pick a fight with Jesus, so they challenged Him to perform a miracle on the Sabbath. If He did, they would accuse Him being a Sabbath-abuser, of working on God’s Day of rest, an offense punishable by death (Exodus 31:14-17).


So, Jesus, the “Lord of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:28, NKJV), accepted their hypocritical challenge, saying to the man, “Stand before us” (Mark 3:3). Now, looking sympathetically at the crippled man, Jesus gave an absurd command. “Stretch out your hand!” (Mark 3:5). It was impossible. He’d try to flex his fingers a zillion times.


Hesitant at first, slowly, methodically, but obediently, “he stretched it out, and his hand was restored” (Mark 3:5). Standing before the congregation, a wide grin must have spread across his face as he opened and closed his fist, pumping it in the air like a mighty champion after a fight.


When God commands, God’s grace empowers. He doesn’t call the equipped… He equips the called.


Someday we’ll know the rest of the story!


“… think on these things” (Philippians 4:8, KJV).



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