Matthew 12:9-14 (ESV) 9 He went on from there and entered their synagogue. 10 And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse him. 11 He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.
*passage found in theNaptimeDiaries Lent devotional
In reading this passage I am convicted of the withering of my own soul. My daily need for renewal is pressing on me so closely these days. And yet, there is so much hypocrisy that I feel in the passage and in my heart as I kneel before the Father asking for grace.
These Pharisees were looking to pin Jesus with the finer points of the Law, stating that the Sabbath was meant for rest, not healing. I imagine being there with them – sweaty, dusty, seeking reprieve within the cooler walls of the synagogue. Or maybe it’s cold and windy outside and we have rushed in as if we were escaping a monster. We would soon realize that our monster was inside our hearts.
Not only are our words a trap, but I envision them being filled with wonder and a sort of hesitant hope. Is He really capable of healing? Maybe some of these men had seen His miraculous works before. Maybe some of them had just heard. But even if they had seen and heard, the mind of man is fickle and forgets so quickly the experiences of things that are right and good.
There, the outstretched hand – clean, complete and whole. Surely a tangible sign will be enough to iron out the wrinkles in our own hearts. “But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.”
My heart cries for beauty and awe, but then, when standing in its presence I make the excuse that it isn’t enough, it can’t be real, and it surely won’t last. I am a serial scoffer, who would prefer to spend my time saving sheep when I could be trusting the works of a Savior.
I pray that as we near the end of this season of Lent that our hearts would stretch out towards Him humbly, revealing the withering of our souls, allowing Him to breathe new life into our hearts. I pray that this life would invigorate us to believe that He is faithful and to commit to memory the wonderful things He has done, lest we be scoffers and conspirators against Him.