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Arise and Stretch

Mike Connell

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Anyway, this man, he's got a withered hand, and he's in the church. Now when the Bible is talking about a hand, it's talking about what we do. It's talking about work. Now Jesus deliberately provokes a confrontation with legalists and religious people in this meeting. You have to see that it's not about the man being healed, it's actually Jesus picking a fight with religion; because you notice they're all watching around to see: is He going to heal on the Sabbath Day. They're worried about their rules. They're worried about their regulations, do this right, do that right, everything else right; and they've lost sight of what they're called to do. They've lost sight they're called to be a river of God to the nations of the earth, the ministry. So the hand in the Bible always speaks of what we do. It's our work, it's how you earn your living with your hands. It's what we do. It also speaks of ministry. It's the extension of your life, to do something that can impact others.

So the hand was withered, and that withered hand was actually quite prophetic of the condition of the church that he found in that day. It was withered by legalism, withered by rules and regulations. It was withered by religion. It was withered; it was not like God intended. It was no longer reaching out to touch nations, and bless nations; rather it was twisted, withered and turned inward. So when Jesus looked around the church, and He saw this man there; the man's hand was withered, means it was all dried up, there was no life in the hand; and the Bible tells us it was his right hand. You look in Luke 6, it says: it was the right hand of the man was withered all up; and the right hand in the Bible is quite significant, because the right hand always speaks of two things. It speaks of blessing - come, sit on my right hand, you blessed of My Father.

So whenever the Bible is talking about the right hand of God, it refers of blessing, releasing blessing. Isaac laid hands - he laid his right hand, the hand of blessings; so always the right hand was the hand of blessing. If you go to India, you'll know the right hand is definitely the hand of blessing; and the other hand is definitely not, not even allowed to touch anyone with it. Horrible, and we won't go there. [Laughter] You go on a missions trip to India sometime there, and you can find out why you don't touch anyone with the left hand. The right hand is the right hand of blessing; and it's also, the Bible refers to power and strength. God delivered them by His right hand, so when the Bible's talking about the right hand, it's a picture for us, prophetic picture, literally of blessing and power and life, flowing out of the church to touch people who's lives are in need; and it was withered, and it was turned inward.

When people usually have had a withered hand, or something's gone wrong like that, the whole hand turns, often it turns in; and so there's embarrassment, there's shame, and usually there's a hiding. The person becomes quite self-centred, and self-conscious; and not only that, he's quite restricted what he can do. So when Jesus saw the man in there, I'm sure he was trying to hide himself, because if you've got that kind of condition, you don't show it off. You usually conceal it; and this is what I saw. I saw that so much of the church of today in New Zealand, is like it's withered, it's drawn back and drawn inward; and looking inward, looking at itself, and not actually functioning as it ought to, to bring life into the community, life into the nation, life to those that are lost. As Jesus looked, He spotted the man. I think the Holy Ghost spoke to Him, because the Bible tells us He said: I only do the things I see the Father doing; so right in the middle of the meeting He provokes a fight. He says to the man: rise up and stand up!