Series: Love Glue
Message: Application Instructions
Preacher: Dany Hernandez
Reflection: Mike Speegle
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Beyond: Brandon Kharns
Live Purpose: Vanessa Rivera
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Matthew 12:9-13 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: I wonder sometimes if Jesus ever got frustrated.
It seems He was always under attack, always watched, His motives always challenged, His character questioned. So often this happened when He was doing something that was innocent or compassionate.
His response in this case? “So (because of your own compassionate actions towards an animal and the truth that people are more valuable than animals) it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
Jesus’ point is clear: this is not rocket science. You break (in your mind) the Sabbath when you rescue your only sheep and that’s the right thing to do (no one is questioning that). Based on your own reasonable actions, you’ve settled the issue for yourself.
And I love what Matthew records Jesus doing next (Verse 13): Then he said to the man, “Stretch your hand out.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy, just like the other.
All Jesus did was make him whole, normal. Every time I read one of the accounts of Jesus healing someone on the Sabbath and the uproar it caused, I think, “If Jesus had just waited a couple of hours, He could avoided a lot of pushback.” I’m pretty sure the people who were healed would have been happy to wait if they knew they were going to be healed.
Each time I have that thought, I’m reminded of God’s mercy and grace (mercy is not getting what we deserve; grace if getting what we don’t deserve), and how Jesus never thought they should have to wait any longer for healing.
His willingness to push back against the Pharisees and push forward by healing on the Sabbath is a reminder to me that Truth always trumps truth.
Matthew concludes this moment in Jesus’ life with an interesting response to grace: But the Pharisees went off and plotted against Him, with the intention of doing away with Him (Verse 14).
People don’t always respond well to Truth and grace. Even us at times.
Recalibrate: Why do you think Jesus didn’t wait to heal the man? Why not wait a little longer so there wouldn’t be an issue? What does your answer tell you about Jesus?
Respond: Where do you struggle consistently with grace in relation to those closest to you?
Research: Take a look at these marriage tips from a divorce lawyer.
Remember: “Treat people the same way you want them to treat you” (Matthew 7:12, NASB).
Mike Speegle is the lead pastor for New Hope, an exciting, young, multi-ethnic Adventist Church in Fulton, Maryland. Mike became a follower of Jesus and an Adventist in his early 20s. Pacific Union College was the first Adventist school he ever attended; he met his wife Lorie there. Mike has pastored for 30+ years, served in the Ministerial Association of the General Conference, and has written a book, Big Questions, as well as a number of articles.
You’re probably familiar with the sound of the cry that breaks your sleep—not a whimper but the sound that says, “I need you now!” I remember those cries from when our children were small. While that was a long time ago, just recently we babysat our granddaughter overnight. Memory refreshed. We had a monitor so we could hear her, but we needed to stay in range so we could respond quickly if she needed us. As we watched her through the night I thought of how our Heavenly Father must watch us, ready to respond when we are unsettled or crying out in distress. He call us to treat others in love, to treat them as we would like to be treated, because that is how He treats us.
In my Bible, the words that Jesus spoke are colored in red. I love that. These words are the best. Let’s go over the Golden Rule again. “Treat people the same way you want them to treat you” (Matthew 7:1,2 NASB). Jesus said this a long time ago. He is also saying it to you today. Ask Jesus to help you to think about others and to treat them better than you would want to be treated yourself.
One of the hidden pieces of this story that I really don’t want you to miss is that Jesus really wanted to heal this guy. If it’s been a few days since you’ve read the story, read it again. Here, I’ve done the hard work for you.
Moving on from there, He entered their synagogue. There He saw a man who had a paralyzed hand. And in order to accuse Him they asked Him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” But He said to them, “What man among you, if he had a sheep that fell into a pit on the Sabbath, wouldn’t take hold of it and lift it out?A man is worth far more than a sheep, so it is lawful to do what is good on the Sabbath.” Then He told the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out, and it was restored, as good as the other. (Matthew 12:9–13, HCSB)
I know it doesn’t feel like it sometimes, but God really, really likes you. He knows you, cares about you and sees what’s going on in your life. Sometimes we can’t understand all that’s going on and why we aren’t getting the support or healing that we need. But don’t think that means that God doesn’t care. Be encouraged that even if you don’t have relief right now, it will come at some point. Keep leaning on God; it is always worth it in the end.
In Verse 13, the man with the withered hand stretched out his hand and it was restored to health. Just like that. It shows that God wasn’t waiting for a certain time of day to heal him. I would imagine that Jesus was eager to heal him and that the man was eager to be healed. In this story, I see how Jesus is so willing to reach out and do what He can to restore human beings. What lessons will you take from this story? This person doesn’t seem to be an old of friend or family member of Jesus. This person is unnamed. How willing are you to reach out to others in need, even if they are strangers?
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development groups. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Brandon Kharns is the family life pastor at Placerville Seventh-day Adventist church in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California near Lake Tahoe.
Vanessa Rivera is a therapist in a community mental health center in Denver, CO, and serves as the lead elder for Live Purpose at Boulder Church.