Notes from the Sermon by Rev David Randolph Horn on 25th February 2018
Reading: Luke 6 vs 1-19
I think you are going to find this story of the man with the withered hand inspiring and encouraging.
It is one of those fabulous passage in which the love and challenging character of Jesus shines through. It is one of those passages that shows how inclusive Jesus was and is. We are called in the first commandment to love God and this passage shows Jesus wonderfully at work and shows how he works today in our midst.
In verses 1-5 the scene is set the Pharisees are out to get him for failing to keep commandments to observe the Sabbath and Jesus say he is Lord of the Sabbath the golden rules is to love God on the Sabbath and to observe it by being good to yourself and to others : (the second commandment) . He says elsewhere the Sabbath was made for humanity not humanity for the Sabbath. So we read that on the day the Pharisees were watching him. They had power over the people they were in bible language “oppressors” and these oppressors were watching him. Bob Marley in his song “downpressor man” is singing about these people. He asks on judgement day where are you going to run to downpressor man.
David sings “Downpressor man where you going to run to? Downpressor man where you going to run to, ohhhh on that day “
Tom in his sermon a couple of weeks back introduced us to parallel gospels and I am passing one round and you may notice Luke alone tells us that the wounded man had a wounded right hand and only Luke tells us his wounded hand was his right hand.
Andrew Mustapha is going to help us think about it being his right hand that was withered.
(Andrew shared what the left hand and right hand are used for in North African cultures ie the right hand is kept for “clean” things)
In Jesus day there was no running water easily at hand all water had to be carried from a well. So the right hand was used for greeting people the right hand was the hand used to eat with. And often they would eat from a common dish .The left hand was the one used to go to the loo and to clean your bum after wards or to wash yourself when you had a period. And a right hand is crucial in doing many kinds of work where greater dexterity is needed. A man with a wounded right hand would be poor excluded from society and regarded as unclean. He would have to eat alone. The Latin word for left is sinistra from which we get our word sinister. So Luke tells us something important and Luke all along includes stories about the often overlooked that is children, the poor, the excluded, the oppressed, the women, all get to be heroes in Luke.
So picture the scene! How do you see it?
I picture the man with his wound hidden. Perhaps you have wounds that you hide perhaps some things from your childhood. Perhaps abuse, perhaps incest, perhaps things your parents did and said which wounded you and which sapped your confidence. Perhaps you discovered you were gay/bi/or Trans and were terrified of people finding out.
And Jesus is there but so are the Pharisees and you are not sure about Jesus disciples. But Jesus says come and stand here and then he says the most awful thing stretch out your hand show your wound. Bible study on Tuesday last was gripping… humbling…. awesome as people talked about deep wounds they normally kept hidden. God/Jesus/ Holy spirit alone is the healer of these things.
So who is helping who do what?
Jesus s healing the man
Jesus and the man are teaching the disciples who are about to be called Luke’s ordering of stories is inspired.
Jesus and the man confront the oppressors the downpressors the Pharisees.
Jesus does not just heal the man he calls the wounded soul to be his partner in challenging others. In spite of your hurts and wounds Jesus is calling you. Because of your wounds Jesus is calling you!! Because of your wounds Jesus is saying stand here with me so oppression can be confronted and Liberation won. Paul had a wound he asked Jesus to take away. He did not and Paul with all his gifts of healing was not healed but he was still used and used powerfully.
Isn’t Jesus fabulous? He is the same today so stand up and show your wounds and come be part of Jesus work of liberation.
Stretch forth your hand for healing in the prayer time set aside for healing. Stretch out your wounded place and come offer yourself to be in partnership with Jesus. Commit yourself with all your wounds to follow him for ever, for always. Let him be your Lord your healer, your friend, your God. Love him follow him open your bible every day open your heart every day and of course come to Bible Study on Tuesdays. Can’t come Tuesdays tell me when you can come and we will start another group. Don’t be shy…. be prepared to be amazed.