Only For the Broken and the Weak

Jesus was in the synagogue at Capernaum on the Sabbath and saw a man with a withered hand (Mark 3:16; Luke 6:6-11). Tradition says that the man was not born that way, but had been injured as a stone mason. The religious leaders were watching Jesus carefully. Jewish oral tradition had interpreted the Sabbath law in such a convoluted way to consider healing as unlawful because it entailed work. Sure enough, Jesus intentionally called the man out. Luke’s version says that Jesus knew their thoughts so he asked a question of the Jews which got to the heart of the Sabbath. “Is the Sabbath a time to do good or evil; to save life or to kill?” When you put it like that it was a no-brainer. The religious leaders were on the horns of a dilemma. They knew that the law was for doing good and for preserving life, but if they agreed they would be giving Jesus a justification for healing this wretched man. Jesus was angry at their willful ignorance- using the very law of God to hide compassion and shun justice. So he healed the man. Jesus said, “Stretch out your hand.” That is interesting. He said to the man with the withered hand, “stretch out your hand.”  If I were the guy I might have said, “But Lord this is why I’m called the man with the withered hand because it is the precise thing I cannot do.”  However, as the man believed and acted upon the word of Jesus by stretching forth his hand, he was healed. Faith acts upon the ability of God in situations where we have no resources of our own. The disciples experienced this at the feeding of the 5,000. “You feed them,” Jesus said. Jesus was asking them to use what they did not have in order to do what they could not do. They believed by offering their lack of resources (a little boy’s bag lunch) to Jesus and it proved to be more than enough. We try so hard to be self-sufficient and proficient in everything we do that we don’t know how to handle things when we feel withered and weak, broken and inadequate. That is the time we usually shut down. Could it be that we need to learn to minister out of weakness because that is where we can most effectively apply the ability of God to situations where we feel we have nothing to offer (2 Cor. 12:9)? So if you are weak, broken, and withering under life’s circumstances and demands so that you feel you have nothing to offer in ministry to others, do not despair. Look to Jesus and believe. Offer to him what you do not have and trust his ability to work through your weakness to feed others and to bring healing to your own withered soul. “Come unto me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).

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