I once heard a missionary tell of watching an arm grow back due to a new believer’s faith. It happened in a country where faith was new and pure. When they came to believe in God, they believed every word of the Bible along with it. Faith like this provides a means for miracles that few of us know anything about.
I try to imagine what it would be like to see such a miracle; the one sure thing I know is I believe it happened just as the missionary said. I believe not just based on her reputation, but that Hebrews 13:8 tells us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. We have the promise of nothing changing with Him. He is as able and willing today as in Bible times. How I would love to have the uncomplicated faith of those natives that believe without a single doubt!
F. F. Bosworth in his book, Christ the Healer, quoted John Wesley (page 178) as saying “The prayer of faith and process of healing in the Church was lost through unbelief. Prayers now are more often for the stricken individual to bear the illness with patience and fortitude.”
Every time we doubt, we move a step away from receiving the very thing we ask of Him.
Man with withered hand (Matthew 12:9-14)
“A man was there who had a withered hand. And they (Pharisees) asked Jesus, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” so that they could accuse him” (v10).
This man was in the temple to hear Jesus teach. His hand was deformed and Jesus took notice. The man probably had no use of it at all. When the Pharisees saw that Jesus noticed him, knowing He could heal the man, they immediately questioned Jesus about the law, hoping to find a reason to accuse Him of doing wrong. Jesus responded: “Would not any one of you, if he had one sheep that fell into a pit on the Sabbath, take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath. Then he said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out and it was restored, as healthy as the other. But the Pharisees went out and plotted against him, as to how they could assassinate him.” (vv11-14). It is difficult to understand how anyone could be angry about a miraculous healing, but the Pharisees knew they were being challenged.
Jesus performed seven healings on the Sabbath: This man with the withered hand, the lame man by the Pool of Bethesda, Peter’s mother-in-law with a fever, a man born blind, the woman bent over, a man with dropsy, and a man who was demon possessed. Each time, the Pharisees angrily accused Him of wrong doing because it didn’t conform with the law as they understood and taught it. Repeatedly, Jesus tried to show them that good was to be done on the Sabbath or any other day when someone was in need. They tested Him on the letter of the law, but He tested them on the heart of the law. And they failed the test.
The Pharisees were letting pride get in their way. They were pompous and unyielding. To go against their teaching was to attack their self-importance. Here was the Living Word of God right in their midst and they were so filled with arrogance and superiority, they couldn’t see Him.
Does it not give us pause to ask what blinders we may have on when we fail to act in the mercy of the Lord?
Scripture references used are from the New English Translation.