(6) And it came to pass also on another Sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered (7) And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the Sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him. (8) But he knew their thoughts, and said unto the man which has the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth. (9) Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; is it lawful on the Sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? To save a life, or to destroy it? (10) And looking round about them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other. ( Luke 6:6-10 KJV)
Stretch: To extend, force or make serve beyond the normal or proper limits; to hold out, reach forth, or extend: to cause the limbs to be pulled especially in torture; To draw up (one’s body) from a cramped, stooping, or relaxed position.
So many times when we read this scripture or when we hear sermons preached on this we concentrate mainly only the scribes and the Pharisees snootiness and on the compassion of Jesus. Yes, we will talk a little bit about both but mainly I want to focus our attention on this man with the withered hand. In verse 6 it lets us know that sitting in the synagogue was a man whose right hand happened to be withered. The word withered means to affect harmfully, to lose vitality, force and freshness. In the bible the right hand represents the hand of authority. It signifies strength and it represents ownership, power or control and it symbolizes achievement. So when we read about this man with the withered hand we now realize that it wasn’t just about his hand being withered. It was his authority that was withered or I can say it like this it was this mans authority that was affected. It was his strength that had lost his vitality. In other words areas in which he should have been strong in he was weak, in the places where he should have had leadership and ownership in he was lacking. All because that thing that held his authority and his power was withered. What’s that thing in your life that you know God intended for you to have dominion over, but instead its withered? Stretch it. I want for you to get this though the scripture says.
And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the Sabbath day: that they might find an accusation against him. (7)
So who did they watch the man or Jesus. Personally, I think that it was both, but more so Jesus. Why, so that they could find something to accuse him of. I also want for you to notice where this man was he was at the synagogue. He was at the place of worship and he was at the right place to get healed. The scribes and the Pharisees who was around him, knew that his hand was withered. I know that because we just read in the scripture where it said and they watched him (Jesus) whether he would heal on the Sabbath day. Do you know what I find sad about this? Is the fact that this man sat among them for who knows how long and instead of at least praying for him (at the least) they watch Jesus ready to accuse him if he so as much as healed on the Sabbath. They were more concerned about their rest being disturbed on the Sabbath, that they didn’t care about the man who needed rest from having a hand that was withered. This is one of the things that I love about Jesus, while the Pharisees and the scribes were crying with indignation over Jesus healing on the Sabbath, Jesus knew for the people who were blind, lame, withered, deaf, mute, demon possessed, lepered filled and any other sickness or ailments that we can think of. He knew that they had no day of rest. Affliction doesn’t give you rest. It doesn’t say oh today is the Sabbath day, I’m going to give you rest from your infirmities on this day, so I will come back tomorrow! Jesus knew that if anybody needed to rest that it was those whom he healed and made whole.
But he knew their thoughts , and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth. (8)
I love this and here’s why. Jesus did not care if he upset these religious leaders all he cared about was this man, his need, and his miracle! Jesus doesn’t care who he has to upset in order to get you your miracle. Here’s the thing though if these religious leaders truly walked in what they claimed to walk in which was God’s authority then they wouldn’t get upset when Jesus healed and set free. No, they would have rejoiced! Listen, the only ones upset at Jesus touching you is the ones who wanted you to stay withered. Think about that for a moment, we all have some areas in our lives that’s withered, where we should have authority but we don’t. We all have people in our lives whether we know it or not who is watching to see if God is going to heal that withered thing and there not watching hoping and praying that he does, but rather that he doesn’t. ( not everyone but some) but Jesus tells the man to Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. to Rise up means to assume an upright position , it means to get up! Get up from that depression, get up from that divorce, yes even get up from that death that caught you off guard, get up from that abusive relationship, get up from that sickness, get up from that drug and alcohol addiction, get up from the voices that tell you that you can’t or that it will never happen. God’s people just get up! It’s time for us to assume an upright position! Its time for you and I to stand straight and honorably. That thing in our lives may have momentarily withered us but it didn’t kill us. I want you to pay close attention to this Jesus had the man rise up and stand forth in the midst or for a better word that I can use is in the middle of those who did not want to see him healed in the first place. He had to stand in the midst of his enemies, in the midst of the ones who sat and watched him struggle but wouldn’t even pray for him he had to stretch in front of those who were ready to jump down his throat simply because he would have the audacity to stretch on the Sabbath. I do want to prepare you for this. It hurts to stretch, especially when you’ve gotten use to something being withered and it especially hurts to stretch in front of others, specifically those whose looking to find fault, but if God is telling you to stretch. It’s because he’s given you the ability to and he’s with you helping you. Here’s a secret God doesn’t care how long it takes for you to extend that thing to full length, he only cares about you beginning the process and keeping it going until you’re at your full potential. The scripture tells us that as the man stretched forth that his hand was restored as whole as the other. Anytime that God ask us to stretch especially that thing that hurts he’s going to restore and that means to mend, to reinstate and to reestablish you right where you rightfully belong.
It’s time to rise up and stretch even in the midst of turmoil!