Jesus came to show us a new way. He can overcome things that hold you back.
On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. 7 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. 8 But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Get up and stand in front of everyone.” So he got up and stood there.
9 Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?”
10 He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was completely restored. 11 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.
What holds you back?
When you watch race horses on TV as a race is about to begin, the horses are eager anticipating the run. You then watch how they are led into the confined horse racing stalls with a gate holding them back. Even though they are wanting to run they can’t as they are confined by the barrier. It is only when the gate opens that the horses can run freely as they were created to do.
In the reading today, we read of the Pharisees and of a man with a shrivelled hand. They both have constraints that hold them back; the man has a paralysed hand that limits him, and the Pharisees have a ridged approach to a set of laws that were originally made to benefit them. The Pharisees have become so confined by their teachings and beliefs that they have lost the ability to look at others with understanding and love.
There are times when I am held back like the man with the shrivelled hand – I am paralysed by a fear that I’m inadequate and will make various excuses not to take the next step to reach out to others or to grow my faith.
There are also times when I’m like the Pharisees. I’m limited by prejudices that cause me to judge others that are different from myself before I even get to know them. I also find myself enforcing various rules at home and at work, (for example who does which chore) often disregarding the person involved and their own struggles and needs at the time.
When Jesus entered the story above He showed them a new way. Just like the gates can be opened to allow the horses to run free, He is able to release us from restraints that confine us allowing us to follow the path we were created for. He is able to heal the parts of us that feel shrivelled and inadequate just as He did for the man’s hand. He also shows us that we can look past rigid rules and prejudices and act in loving way as he demonstrated to the Pharisees by choosing good over evil without technically breaking any Sabbath laws.
Jesus came to show us the new way, how to run freely home as we were created to do. He is aware of all the things that confine us and is able to help us overcome them, to open the gate.
Head: Do you identify with either the man with the shrivelled hand or the Pharisees in your own life?
Heart: Are there things that are holding you back?
Hands: Ask Jesus to remove the barriers that confine you and to show you the way to go forward freely. Take the step to be different in your approach to those around you, seeing them as Jesus would.
Thank you for showing us a new way, a way to look past prejudice, fear and human barriers. Please help me see what the constraints are that hold me back. Please release me from them so I can run freely, unashamed and with your love.
In Jesus name we pray
A song to listen to: Sweetness of Freedom