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Summary: Open honesty is essential for conversion. Conversion is essential for saint & sinner alike. Many times complete conversion is never manifested in one’s life simply because they have hidden shame, & witheredness, that has never been healed.

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“(STRETCHING FORTH) WITHERED HANDS”

Mark McCool

TEXT: MATTHEW 12:9-13

9 And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue:

10 And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.

11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?

12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.

13 Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.

MARK 3:1-5 (Luke 6:6-10)

1 And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.

2 And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.

3 And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.

4 And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.

5 And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.

INTRODUCTION:

As the rays of a Sabbath sunrise fell across the sleepy town of Capernaum, (a town that was asleep to who was in her midst, and was asleep to what was about to take place in her that day), she began to stir about her usual activity.

Sabbath preparations had been made. No work was allowed, as such, for the day. Why would anyone expect anything else? It was just another Sabbath day to observe.

But somewhere in a modest dwelling a man arises with the rest of his family. He struggles awake, wiping sleep from his puffy eyes. He reaches for a basin of water and a towel with one hand.

Strange it seems… He has done it this was for so long that he has almost forgotten about having two hands… But what would it matter anyhow? It is just a useless, withered hand.

Yet once again, he is reminded of it like some painful memory of the past that always seems to resurface at the worst of times. He is overwhelmed with its attachment to his life… this clinging, nagging, and cumbersome weight of shame that will never go away.

He begins to think about what it has kept him from becoming, like some wall separating him from what success he has seen others enjoy. Some happiness in a cruel and hopeless world… his world.

Against that wall all his dreams and aspirations are dashed to a million fragments of failure and finality. The flood of tormenting questions begin to overflow the banks of sound reason as he wonders: Does my wife still respect me? Do my children still love me? Does God even care about me?

And he begins to cry, and the hot tears begin to flow. “If I could only be rid of this thing… If I could only do something with this withered hand I could build my life again!”

So with a mind clouded with thoughts that obscured any sense of a clear, rational answer, he begins another day as he steps through the door of his home.

I. But what is so bad about a withered hand?

A. He wouldn’t have to do any real work.

B. He could take it easy.

C. Town bum – Street people – Excuses – Church folks.

II. Such is the plight of some who are handicapped.

A. There is no spirit like a Helen Keller, a Fanny Crosby, a Glen Cunningham, or a Wilma Rudolph.

B. They become lazy and demanding. They are satisfied to be what they are.

III. There must be a desire to change.

A. This man hungered for change.

B. But shame and embarrassment kept him from it.

C. He wasn’t to be in the synagogue.

D. Yet He came…

1. Desire brought him, being drawn by the unseen force of God’s Spirit!

2. And if you ever change it will be because you were drawn by the Spirit of God!

IV. Jesus meets us at the point of our need.

Matthew 12:9 says “And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue…” He stepped out of His world into ours…

A. How many times had Jesus seen him?

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