Faith In Action

May 3rd, 2008 • Category: Gospel of Luke
by Robert Ferguson

Today’s scripture: Luke 6:6-11 (ESV-text and audio) (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Robert Ferguson):

As I read today’s passage, I am immediately struck by the defiance and boldness of Jesus. The scribes and Pharisees were anxiously waiting for Jesus to slip up. Work was strictly prohibited on this, the Holy Sabbath day, and healing was certainly considered work. Exceptions could be made in life or death situations, but this particular ailment could surely wait.

Jesus knew full well what was at stake but he uses this opportunity to teach a valuable lesson. I have often heard my pastor teach us that those who endeavor to treat holy text as a legally binding document run the risk of missing the overarching, God-intended spirit of the text. Jesus reminds all of us that the letter of the law is intended for the good of God’s children, and life-saving love is always the greater good.

However, I believe there is even another word of hope for us within the larger message. Once Jesus has called the man forward, he tells him to hold out his hand. This simple act would have been impossible before now, but he did not argue or resist Jesus. He simply does as he is told and, just like that, his hand his restored and functions as it always should have.

As I have studied this scripture and tried to glean some understanding, the Holy Spirit has continually reminded me that Jesus calls us to live our faith. Simply praying and waiting for God to move, though necessary, seems so passive when we read this scripture. We are called to have active faith and to be partners with Christ in receiving our healing and blessings.

Yes, just as the man with the withered hand did, we must go to Jesus for instruction and teaching. Twice Jesus gave instruction to the man. Once when he said, “Get up and stand before us” and again when he told the man, “hold out your hand.” Both times we witness obedience to Christ’s instructions.

It isn’t enough to go to God in prayer — we must train our hearts and ears to listen for instruction and be prepared to respond. Starting today, we must learn to put our hand out in faith; knowing that what was impossible is now possible. The very areas of our lives that have seemed lifeless, withered, and under-developed are now alive, healthy, and brand new. Jesus is calling us to move in our faith!

Thought for the day: Prayer is good — but I also have to move! In what area of my life is God calling me to transform my faith into action?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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