FAITH IS A STRETCH

Matthew 12:
9Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?"
 11He said to them, "If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."
 13Then he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other.14But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.


There was a man with a withered hand in the Synagogue.  Some viewed disability and deformity as signs of God’s judgment.  Either this person or perhaps their parents had sinned and God responded by causing disability. 

The synagogue allowed this man to be part of the group, though they had no answer for him.  Maybe they taught him to accept God’s judgment and do his best to meet their standards.  But they had no healing to restore his lost potential.

Later in redemptive history, the followers of Jesus would become ecclesia, the called-out ones.  The church would have as one of its titles ‘The Body of Christ’.  Paul would develop a teaching on the parts of the Body working harmoniously with appreciation for the uniqueness of each part.

In the body of Christ, do we have a withered hand?  Are there parts of God’s Church that need healing?  If we are honest, we will acknowledge our dysfunctions.  Broken hearts and blind eyes sit next to deaf ears and muted tongues.  Sadly, we have nothing to offer unless Jesus intervenes.  Without Jesus, we are simply Pharisees in the Synagogue protecting our interests.

Jesus only asked the man to stretch out his hand.  In the simple act of faith and obedience, God responded with healing.  The man who had accepted his disfigurement as a limitation was suddenly starting a new chapter in life.  He now had an extra hand that was useful and cooperative with the rest of his body.

When we see human brokenness and failure in the Church, let’s also see Jesus here.  Face to face with our problem He asks us to stretch forth withered hands.  There is healing for all the diseases in the Church.

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