Wednesday, August 24, 2016
On another Sabbath day, a man with a deformed right hand was in the synagogue while Jesus was teaching. The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees watched Jesus closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath. But Jesus knew their thoughts. He said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” So the man came forward. Then Jesus said to his critics, “I have a question for you. Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” He looked around at them one by one and then said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! At this, the enemies of Jesus were wild with rage and began to discuss what to do with him. Luke 6:6-11(NLT)
A miracle, like a parable, is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. Miracles of healing, changing water into wine, or walking on water are no different; they teach principles and precepts of Who God is, and what He loves. To miss this understanding of miracles is to miss an opportunity to know God more deeply.
Over the years I’ve watched many “healers” on TV religious programming, and the theme-thread common to all of them is that the miracle is the centerpiece, and God is replaced by a snake-oil salesman thinly-disguised as a preacher. There is little else important beside the miracle and, like an addict’s craving for heroin, the crowd sits on the edge of their seats waiting for more.
Jesus never intended his ministry to be a miniseries or a side-show. In fact, more than not, people Jesus healed were instructed to simply give praise to God. On more than one occasion He told the healed person to keep quiet about the whole event.
Fundamentally, the reason Jesus healed people was out of deep compassion for those who hurt. But He took the moment to teach the crowd to recognize the difference between being a friend of God and an enemy.
So, what do we take away from seeing a withered hand restored? Well, look at what Jesus did before the healing; He looked the bystanders in the eye…each and every one, one-by-one. It was as if to say, you’re about to see the dividing line between faith and unbelief…get ready to make a choice.
The two sides of that dividing line became evident right away. The followers of Jesus, including the inner circle (James, John, Peter) and the outer crust (Judas) became the flock. But the religious leaders just got ripping mad and plotted to kill him.
And that is what healing will do, whether it is healing from the diseases of body, mind, soul, social injustice, greed, lust or any other tool of destruction. There is a dividing line between heaven and hell, and when you toe that line, you’re going to make somebody better and somebody bitter.
This is the heavenly meaning, then – we do not wrestle so much against the flesh and blood of all the ills we see in the world – we are in a war that is much more ancient and ferocious; Paul put it this way:
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12(NLT)
Have you ever been witness to a miracle (I’d love to hear about it).
I’d be willing to go out on a limb here and say that it woke you out of some complacency and made you aware of the mighty love, compassion and power of He who never sleeps!
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