There were several things I was hearing in this week’s passage. I heard one message that will be what I’ll be sharing on in worship on Sunday about the new that Jesus brings into life. But I heard another one personally this week about watching for the one who is hurting.
In the 2nd part of this reading from Luke, Jesus heals a man who doesn’t ask to be healed. He has a “withered hand” and, unlike most of the other healing stories, he doesn’t come up to Jesus and say “help me.” Instead Jesus sees him, calls to him, and his hand is somehow restored. There are of course other layers to this story (Sabbath, the Pharisees, etc) but this part gripped me personally this week because it had a personal connection for our family this week.
Our new puppy, Scout, had her spay surgery this week and she has been one unhappy and uncomfortable puppy. Her first night home, she didn’t want to be by herself so it ended up that I slept on the floor of our living room with her. She’s slowly getting back to normal (still doesn’t like the Cone of Shame of course) but all of our lives have been shifted around a bit because of taking care of her. Now we could have just ignored her – after all she’ll get better right? But that isn’t possible for someone you care about. So there was lots of caring, petting, helping, and so forth. Things that we not only needed to do but wanted to do.
This is something that I think we all need to get better at today – not only looking at our own immediate needs but really seeing the needs of others – whether we know them or not, whether we like them or not, whether we agree with them or not. What we see from Jesus here and throughout the Gospels is a picture of caring that goes far beyond what is safe, easy, or comfortable.
It is a blessing to know that God has extended that care to us all but it is a challenge to remember how we are called to extend that care to others in the same way.
One sabbath while Jesus was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked some heads of grain, rubbed them in their hands, and ate them. But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?” Jesus answered, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and gave some to his companions?” Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”
On another sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him to see whether he would cure on the sabbath, so that they might find an accusation against him. Even though he knew what they were thinking, he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” He got up and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to destroy it?” After looking around at all of them, he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was restored. But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.