"Stretch out your hand."
What an emptiness there is in feeling completely powerless! You feel that you are of no use to anyone. It is especially difficult when one realizes that it will not be getting any better any time soon if ever. In this passage there is the story told of the man with a withered hand. His hand was most likely drawn up in a grotesque fashion. The muscles and joints of his hand had been deformed for several years, and he was now considered by most to be a crippled man.
There are two interesting things that can be easily overlooked in this story. First, it was his right hand. The right hand is often a symbol of power and authority. Many of you remember a day where it was considered abnormal to be left-handed. For this man to have his right hand withered up was to say that he was more than deformed. He was a hopelessly powerless person. Without faith in Christ that is a perfect description of all of us. The only power that any of us really have is Jesus Christ. Outside of Him we are all withered up and useless. I see this man's right hand representing our faith in Christ to do what only He can do. It was impossible for him to accomplish even the easiest tasks. He was now completely dependent on the help of others. However, the help of others was limited as well. There was no way that they could be there all the time. He needed a complete life change.
The second thing that stands out is where all of this event took place. Luke tells us that he was in the synagogue. People with deformities were often not allowed in the temple and even the synagogue was off limits to some. In the context of the passage, the Pharisees are waiting to see if Jesus would heal this man. It makes me wonder if he was permitted to come in or even brought in just for the eventual confrontation and the opportunity to accuse Jesus of healing on the Sabbath. It is obvious that the man with the withered hand was not the only one that was crippled. He had a physical limitation, but he sat in the midst of a people that had spiritual limitations. They could not see past their law and their set of rules. They were more concerned with their legalistic mind-set than seeing an individual's life transformed. How important it is that we see the big picture of faith instead of limiting God in our personal lives!
Jesus asked the man to do one thing. However, what He asked him to do was impossible. Jesus said, "Stretch out your hand." Isn't that exactly what the man's problem was? He couldn't stretch out his hand. His hand was crippled and deformed. This was a completely unreasonable and irrational request. It would take a great amount of faith for a crippled man to stretch out a twisted and deformed hand. Exactly! This man decided that putting His faith in the request of Jesus was the most important decision of his life.
Have you decided that? What is it in your life that seems crippled, twisted, and deformed? What is God asking you to do that seems impossible? It may be something bigger than you think you are capable of doing. Everyone around you may think it is impossible. It could be that what God is asking you to do goes beyond every thing that you have ever been taught. So what do you do? Stretch out your hand. By faith reach out to the Savior and watch your whole life change for His glory!
May you have complete faith in Christ today!