The Withered Hand

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Assisting with directing the children’s choir at church, I am exposed to rambunctious rascals who are very insightful and compassionate. The stark duality is often comical as they vacillate between poking each other and asking questions that are still debated in seminaries today.

Whenever we teach new music we also go over the meaning, pointing to Scripture and present day examples to illustrate the point the song is making and define any unfamiliar words. Last week we were learning lyrics to a song, one line of which said “He healed the man with the withered hand” (see Mark, Chapter 3). They didn’t know what withered meant, so I explained it to them. Then we started talking about how having a withered hand likely impeded this man’s life, making him unable to work and earn a living and possibly even made him a social outcast. We talked about what it means to be different and to look different. I told them just because someone looks different doesn’t mean they’re bad in any way. We talked how some athletes compete in the Olympics and Special Olympics with missing limbs, and people can do amazing things even if they have a withered hand. We talked about what Jesus healing this man’s hand likely meant to him.

 In the Biblical account, Jesus told the man to stretch out his hand. When he does, we see that it has been healed. We assume that his hand already had been healed, and Jesus was telling him to stretch it out to show everyone. But, what if the vulnerability and faith it took for the man to stretch out his hand was what Jesus relied upon to heal him? Often Jesus’ miracles were contingent upon the recipient doing something first to show their faith. What if stretching out his hand, which was surely a symbol of mocking & disability, further permitting gawkers to express disgust, was actually a necessary step to his healing?

If that were true, what would that mean for us? In what area of your life are you longing to be healed, and what could be God’s equivalent of “stretch out your hand” in your life?

In Christ’s Healing,


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