Tuesday, February 21, 2023

A Story of Faith

By Ron Bartanen


    Jesus “said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up and stand forth in the midst.  And he arose and stood forth. …He said to the man, stretch forth your hand.  And he did so, and his hand was restored whole as the other” (Luke 6:8, 10).

    The account recorded in Luke 6:6-10 of Jesus healing a man with a “withered” (paralyzed) hand is a powerful example of the power of Jesus Christ in confronting our hopelessness.  In every physical healing performed by our Lord we are reminded not only of Jesus’ power over our physical maladies, but also, and more importantly, His power over our spiritual needs.  Our “withered hand” may be a destructive habit, chains of lust, or greed.  Or it could be bitterness in our hearts due to unforgiving spirit.  The most important lesson applicable today is that the same Jesus who has power over our physical infirmities has just as much power over our spiritual deficiencies.

    It is interesting to note that Jesus asked the man to “stand forth” in public view, and to stretch forth his deformed hand, and when he complied with Jesus’ word, his hand was “restored whole as the other.” Such is the power of Christ when we yield our infirmities to Him in faith, submitting to His will for our lives.  His request of us is to humbly and unashamedly confess Him, being obedient to His word in obedient faith.  For those who have never yet done so, His request of them would be no different than it was in the early church, as the penitent believers submitted to being “baptized (immersed) in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:36-38).  Such arise with Christ into “newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4).  As “new creatures,” in Christ, “old things are passed away, and all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).  For those who earlier had thus obeyed the gospel, but have fallen away from Christ and His church, let them seek again to “walk in the light,” confessing their sins, and realize that “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:7-9).   As we live our lives in submission to His will, our spiritual needs will be met by the power of Him who is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesians 3:20).  Are you willing to “stand forth,” submitting your spiritual deficiencies to Him in faith and obedience to His will for your life?

- Ronald Bartanen is a retired minister who for many years served the Lord's church in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee. After the passing of his beloved wife, Doris, Ron has relocated from Illinois to Florida where he is near family. He may be contacted at: ron33dor@yahoo.com

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