What is your withered hand?

“How are we each like the man with the withered hand?”

It was seventh period and my students were, as usual, talkative and eager to laugh with their fellow students.  We are in the midst of learning about the Gospel of Mark and today found us reviewing the story of the man with the withered hand.

One of the goals I have for my Scripture classes is to convince them that this is the Living Word of God and that it should be impacting their lives now.  I tell them that Jesus desires to speak to each of us, today, in this very moment, through events that happened and were written about a couple thousand years ago.

“How are we each like the man with the withered hand?”

It was a rhetorical question and I continued on with one of my little preaching sessions.  The man had a disfigured hand and yet Jesus asked the man to come before the crowd of people and stretch out his hand.  This requires a deep trust that Jesus will be gentle and that He can heal.  The part that the man most wanted to hide from other people, Jesus was asking the man to openly show to Him.

The words seemed to flow naturally from my mouth as I asked them to consider what part of them Jesus desires to heal.

“Perhaps you don’t have physical disabilities.  Jesus wants to provide emotional, spiritual, mental healing.  What if Jesus called you in front of the crowd and asked you, “How is your relationship with your mom?”  Or if He asked you, “How did you feel when your friend betrayed you?”  Jesus wants to come to you in the midst of your brokenness and heal you.  Christ desires complete wholeness for us.”

As I said these words, I was looking at them and their solemn little faces spoke of hurts that I will never know or understand.  Faces that a few minutes before were laughing, now would quickly drop their eyes when mine would rest on their face.  I told them that Jesus desires to heal them.  That whatever part of them they most want to hide from Jesus, is the place He most wants to come.

It was, I believe, a moment of the Holy Spirit working through me.  The room had a stillness to it that revealed an attentiveness that went beyond the typical atmosphere for notes or theological discussions.  I could feel the weight of the room and the weight of the Holy Spirit.  In the momentary pause before I continued on with notes, I thought briefly, “I love talking about healing.”  It was never something I had thought before, but I knew it to be true.  There is a certain life that fills me when I am able to speak about the transforming effect that Christ desires to have on us.

How does Jesus desire to heal your withered hand today?  Let’s let Him do it.  Amen. Amen.

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