Grace & Peace


Saturday, January 19, 2019

Jesus Heals the Man with the Withered Hand

Luke 6:6-10 King James Version (KJV)

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.
And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him.
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.
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 life, or to destroy it?
10 And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
In the church, we are often healing only part of the man; one of his hands remains withered, so to speak, but God wants it to be restored whole as the other. There are two hands, if you want to phrase it that way, in the church; in the explanation concerning the full gospel. Both of these hands are representative of the truth of God, His nature, His will and His desire. These two hands are in reference to how we received Christ (one hand) and how we continue to walk in Him while on earth (the other hand). Scripture tells us " As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him:" Colossians 2:6 KJV  To receive Christ Jesus and to walk in Him are both a total act of dependence on His grace and not our merit.
In a sense, it's a two-handed issue, because the first issue was and is mankind or humanity's problem, caused by the fall in the garden with Adam and Eve, [original sin]. The problem for mankind was solved by Father God who sent His Son to die in our place, for us and as us, so that all who put faith in His finished work would receive the full payment made for their sin and also receive spiritual life, which is to be born-again. ref. 1 Cor. 15:3, Mat. 1:21, Eph. 2:1, John 3:3

Our sin debt has been paid! We now have spiritual life; eternal life. ref. John 3:16  We once were spiritually dead in the water, with no way in our own merit or human effort to save ourselves. Scripture tells us, "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Rom. 5:8 NIV This is unconditional love. But a transfer had also taken place upon our belief in His finished work. We find in the Apostle Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, "For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Cor. 5:21 KJV  

Righteousness simply means right-standing with God. I am in right-standing with God - apart from my works or performance (the law). ref. Rom. 3:21 As God's children this is how God sees us 24/7. This is my and your standing in Christ, if you are a believer. But what if born-again, spirit-filled, righteous believers, saints or holy ones, don't know that they are? The Apostle Paul writes, "Awake to righteousness and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God:" 1 Cor. 15:34a  Now God is no longer holding our sin against us, as believers, and we have received an imputed righteousness. ref. Rom. 4:5-11, 2 Cor. 5:17-21  

But if a Christian, in their thinking, doesn't realize this, they are endeavoring, by their own performance (or merit), to make themselves something they already are.  In the Apostle Paul's epistle to the Romans, we are told to, "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Rom. 6:11 KJV  As it states in the Apostle Peter's first epistle, "Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed." 1 Pet. 2:24 KJV  

You have to know you died to sin (past tense) to live unto righteousness. Once again, this is a righteousness apart from the law.  ref. Rom. 3:21-22  The first hand is complete for the believer. He or she has gone from sinner to saint, from spiritually dead to spiritually alive, and from unrighteous to righteous; this person is now born-again.  ref. Col. 2:10, Eph. 2:1 Note: Once we are born-again into the kingdom of God-we have eternal salvation and we are assured of heaven, but many of the blessings here on earth are activated by continuing to walk in His unconditional love. This is what I am referring to as the two-handed explanation concerning the gospel.  Now, in the account of Jesus and the man with the withered hand [ref. Luke 6:6-11], the religious leadership of the synagogue, the scribes and the Pharisees were a hindrance to Jesus healing on the Sabbath day. Their effort to keep the law (in this case, they wanted no healing on the Sabbath) caused them to be hardhearted toward the man with the withered hand. 

The epistle to the Hebrews says this of Jesus, "when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high;" Heb. 1:3b  We read in Peter's second epistle, "But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins." 2 Pet. 1:9 KJV  We also find in James epistle, "But if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgeteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." James 1:23-25 KJV

The perfect law of liberty echoes Paul's words in Galatians, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." Gal. 5:1 KJV  The yoke of bondage spoken of here is the law that we have been delivered from.  ref. Rom. 7:6  We've been delivered from the law and the penalty of the law. An earlier verse found in Galatians states, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law." Gal. 3:13a  Along with that, we have been delivered from God's wrath, because the law brings wrath.  ref. Rom. 4:15, John 3:18, 1 Thes. 1:10  The word of God tells us, "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth." Rom. 10:4 KJV, ref. 8:4a  

Now the second hand has to do with being healed and our definitions of good and evil. Jesus, in the account of the man with the withered hand, asked the question, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?" Luke 6:9b KJV  Notice in Jesus' question, he also gives the biblical definition of good, which is to save life, and of evil, which is to destroy it. If we, as believers, are under the false assumption that God puts sickness on someone to teach them something, then we would have to stop and realize that this is an indictment against God's nature and His character. 

Jesus tells us in John's gospel, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." John 10:10 KJV, ref. Luke 9:55-56 We find in the book of Acts, it states: "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him." Acts 10:38 KJV  In the gospels, Jesus healed everyone who came to Him in faith; He never put sickness on anyone, and He said if you've seen me, you've seen the Father.  ref. John 14:9  God is a good God!

The Apostle John pens God's heart and words, as he writes, "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." 3 John 2  This is the proper representation of His (God's) nature, His character and His will toward us, also properly recognizing who the thief is and who the life-giver is, as well as who and what is good and who and what is evil.  We find in the book of Romans, "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" Rom. 8:32 KJV  This way, when we pray, we know we are in agreement with God's will. I believe most Christians know God can heal them, but they wonder if it's God's will to heal them

We can rest assured it is God's will and desire for us to be healed; after all, it has already been provided for us in the atonement.  ref. Isa. 53:5, 1 Pet. 2:24  God does not want us to suffer sickness and disease. The Apostle Paul spoke of suffering persecution as he fulfilled his ministry call from the Lord Jesus to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.  ref. Acts. 20:24  It (scripture) also speaks of suffering for righteousness sake. This is speaking of the persecution we may receive for a message that is counter culture and states that we cannot earn it, but must receive it by grace.  ref. Mat. 5:10   Jesus said, "in this world, ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33b KJV  Often God tries to warn us of impending trouble, if we will recognize and hear His voice.  ref. John 10:4, 27 

My (and your) body, as a believer, is the temple of God; indwelled by the Holy Spirit, and our thought life must line up with the truth of God revealed in scripture. To know our sin issue has been purged [expunged-to eliminate from one's consciousness/]; we are to be righteousness-conscious; not sin-conscious. Along with this, to discern good from evil is a sign of maturity.  As found in Hebrews, "For everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."  Heb. 5:13-14 KJV  We must be patient and gentle as we teach; and to know we are told from scripture, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:" 1 Pet. 2:2 KJV  There is no shame in learning something from scripture you may not have known before, even if you've sat in the church for many years, but are unfamiliar to this teaching; growth is always the objective. 

The account of Jesus and the man with the withered hand speaks to the body of Christ today. When we as believers and church leadership know our sin problem has been dealt with and our righteousness in Christ is our identity, that God is a good God-who desires us healed, the hindrances are removed and faith is activated.  ref. Dan. 11:32 As stated earlier, in Paul's epistle to the saints in Colosse, Paul instructs, " As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him:" Col. 2:6 KJV  The two-handed explanation concerning the gospel is to recognize we've received Christ's unconditional love to become born-again, (you couldn't clean yourself up) and that after we are born-again, we continue to walk in His unconditional love. Note: Once we are born-again into the kingdom of God-we have eternal salvation and we are assured of heaven, but many of the blessings here on earth are activated by continuing to walk in His unconditional love. 

To understand how God's unconditional love works in the life of a believer, perhaps you can relate to a time you've had a domineering, fault-finding, tyrant of a boss who demanded perfection from you and never praised you, even when you performed well. Contrast that with having another boss who really had your best interests at heart, who cared for you and truly wanted you to succeed. If you are like me, you probably found it a whole lot easier to go the extra mile for the latter employer; the employer who extended grace. The word of God tells us that it's grace that teaches us, "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;" Titus 2:11-12 KJV  

The word of God tells us that by observing the law, no one is made righteous. ref. Rom. 3:20a  Later in Romans we read, "the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death."  ref. Rom. 7:5b  

I'll end this teaching by going back to Jesus and the man with the withered hand. Once again, the scribes and the Pharisees were a hindrance to Jesus' healing the man. Their obsession with the law left no room or thought in their hearts for the healing love Jesus was about to extend, as he healed the man who stretched forth his hand and it was restored as whole as the other. In John's epistle, it says, "And this is His commandment, That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment." 1 John 3:23 KJV  It also states in John's epistle, "And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 1John 4:16 KJV This is an unconditional love. We have the fruit of the Spirit in us, because we received the Holy Spirit when we became born-again.  ref. Gal. 5:22  But I believe sometimes this is brought forth better as we understand our righteousness in Christ and the fruits of righteousness.  ref. Amos 6:12, 2 Cor. 9:10, Phil. 1:11, Heb. 12:11, James 3:18  Jesus is the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.  When the man with the withered hand came into the synagogue that day, that's who he met. Jesus restored his hand as whole as the other. As the church applies this truth, I believe we will better understand this scripture, "By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,"  ref. John 1:14b, 2 Cor. 6:7

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Thanks, David