"Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. And they watched him, to see whether he would heal him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, 'Come here.' And he said to them, 'Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?' But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.' He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out, and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him." - Mark 3:1-6
Ironically, those who wanted to bring Jesus down, who despised him enough to kill him, did exactly what we ought to do, 'they watched Jesus closely'.
I suspect that if watch him and keep our eyes on him, we will not want to get rid of him, but will want to be as close to him as possible. Before healing the man, Jesus looked around - and as was his habit, Jesus heals, not just to help the one being healed, but to teach a lesson to those watching - even us watching in the 21st Century. When he asked, Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm?, he knew they were familiar with a common teaching of the rabbis; 'Saving life overrules the Sabbath.' So Jesus heals and demonstrates that he is the Lord of the Sabbath.
Can you imagine how the man saw Jesus? Think what he could now do with his hand - he probably first clasped Jesus' hand and thanked him but as he lived into his new future - he could work, he could help his neighbor, he could hold a leper's hand, he could lift his hand in prayer, and he could open his hand to share God's mercy with someone else!
As I anticipate this next Sunday (Pentecost) I am reminded that left to ourselves we can never truly see Jesus. We are dependent upon the Holy Spirit to heal our blindness so we can see Jesus in all of his humility, power and love. PENTECOST is often referred to as the birthday of the Church of Jesus Christ. Cake will be shared in the lobby as we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit and the birth of Jesus Christ. More often than not presents and gifts are part of our birthday celebrations. I encourage you to give a special gift this Sunday to Central in honor of the birthday of the Church!
You might consider giving a gift to:
Please clearly designate your birthday gift so it can be used for the special project you want to support!
More information will be shared towards the end of the week as we move towards the celebration of PENTECOST!
Central Lutheran Church