Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”And he did so and his hand was restored.
Luke 6: 6-11
In today’s Gospel passage Jesus notices the man with the withered hand in the synagogue and despite the flawed thinking of the religious leaders Jesus made his needs priority. Having previously declared himself ‘Lord of the Sabbath’, Jesus demonstrates that observance of the Sabbath cannot separate love of God from care and concern for the other.
In this man I see persons affected physically, emotionally, financially or otherwise, living next door or in the same house with us; sitting in the same pew or perhaps a few rows in front or behind us; sharing our office space or sometimes working in the same church ministry. I see our migrants. They might be disenfranchised, disempowered or in great need. Like Jesus, do we feel moved to reach out? Perhaps our rationale for inaction might stem from our adherence to the letter of the law instead of being moved by the Spirit of the law. Jesus’ words “Stretch out your hand” speaks to a restoration of dignity and empowerment. That is Sabbath observance!