Matthew 12:9-13 (NLT)
Then Jesus went over to their synagogue, where he noticed a man with a deformed hand. The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Does the law permit a person to work by healing on the Sabbath?” (They were hoping he would say yes, so they could bring charges against him.)
And he answered, “If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you work to pull it out? Of course you would. And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath.”
Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored, just like the other one!
A hand is essential to life. With it, we hold those we love. With it, we carry burdens. With it, we earn a living. With it, we feed ourselves.
Without it, we are separated from our community; we cannot shake another’s hand in greeting or wave goodbye. We cannot carry a brick or pick up a hammer. We cannot hold a spoon, break bread or drink from a cup.
A hand is an important part of our body. And Jesus knew this.
There is a tradition that this man was in fact a brick layer. Jesus knew that by healing this man’s hand, his life would be restored to him. It was a simple matter of re-aligning bone and ligament. It was a realignment of a man’s entire world. To heal, even on the Sabbath, was doing good in ways that reached beyond this moment. A hand held out and healed represented an entire life restored.
Jesus knew the religious leaders’ self-righteousness and rules prevented a good thing from happening. Too often we surround ourselves with those same barriers and in the process, we fail to see the potential good that could come from an act of faith…no matter the day of the week.
Perhaps you can see beyond your religion today to help change the life of another.
Lord of Heaven,
May we look to the needs around us, rather than the imposed restrictions of our faith.