9[Jesus] left that place and
entered their synagogue; 10a man was there with a
withered hand, and [the religious leaders]
asked him, “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath?” so
that they might accuse him. 11He said to them,
“Suppose one of you has only one sheep and it falls
into a pit on the sabbath; will you not lay hold of
it and lift it out? 12How much more valuable is a
human being than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good
on the sabbath.” 13Then he said to the man, “Stretch
out your hand.” He stretched it out, and it was
restored, as sound as the other. 14But the Pharisees
went out and conspired against him, how to destroy
So, who are you in this story? Are you Jesus? Are
you the one healing someone else? Are you the
religious leaders? Are you the one making sure what
we’ve always done continues to be done despite the
need for reform? Are you the man? Are you the one
who is in need of healing?
Isn’t it interesting the man healed didn’t ask for
it? Isn’t it fascinating to see how religious folks
were more interested in ‘church attendance and
participation’ that they neglected to see the need
to heal this man?
Isn’t it comforting to know Jesus recognizes how
worthy we are to not only be healed but to be
This text has me wondering how I spend my energies
and where. Am I like the pastor’s in this story,
trying to trip people up with the Book of Order and
how we should do things? Am I focusing too much on
the negative in the world? Or am I like Jesus,
willing to accept criticism from the community
because of my actions to do justice?
Here’s the thing, friends: we can’t be afraid of
what others will think of us as we preach the
radically inclusive gospel of Jesus. The religious
folks were trying to trip Jesus up. Trying to catch
him in an act they could exploit and eventually ruin
his ministry with. Yet Jesus knew Torah and knew how
the teachings of God are meant to build-up the
family of faith, not divide it.
Do not be afraid to stretch out your
hand to be healed, okay? Name where you need to be
healed. Pray for healing. Look to see how you can
heal others. Recognize where you attempt to box
people out from God’s healing love….and stop doing
If there’s anything to take away from this
reflection, I hope you consider this: Jesus comes to
offer forgiveness, to extend mercy, and to embrace
us with compassion. Accept it. Receive it.
Believe the good words that God in Christ Jesus
reaches out in loving compassion to feed our souls
and bodies with Christ’s presence and relieve our
bruises both physical and mental with Christ’s
May you accept God’s healing in your life.
May we trust in the Wounded Healer’s promise to
never leave us in the pit of our brokenness.
May we believe in the Spirit’s movement through
us to heal the world.
[Adam Quine, pastor of
First Presbyterian Church in Lincoln]