Imagine

“…he went into the synagogue and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some…were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, ‘Stand up in front of everyone.’ Then Jesus asked them, ‘which is lawful on the Sabbath: To do good, or to do evil, to save life or to kill?’ But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger, and deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’” Mark 3: 1-5

Can you imagine the look on Jesus’ face as he stared down the room in the synagogue that day? I close my eyes and there he is, glaring, scowling, moving his eyes from face to face, fed up.  Every muscle of his body twitches as he draws upon the power he possesses as Divinity in order to control his temper and not get a self-made whip out of his pocket to thrash them all. One day, he won’t hold back. One day, he is coming again and when he does, only the elect will be glad to see him arrive. The religious leaders he encountered this day won’t be alive on the face of the earth at that second coming, but they will know its him. From the pits of their deadly holding cells, they’ll know.

Can you imagine what it was like to be the man with the shriveled hand that Jesus commanded to stand in front of them that day? A room full of religious leaders who had done nothing to make his situation better probably sneered as he walked to the front of the room, the Lord’s object lesson.  How his knees must have shook. How his heart must have thumped in his chest. How sweat-covered his brow must have been. I’ve heard it said that public speaking is such a fearful proposition for the majority of humanity that the average man would rather die than walk to the front of a crowded auditorium and speak. This was a rough crowd; a bated crowd—a literate crowd, and an offended crowd. Personally, I think it must have taken ever ounce of strength the man had to get out of his seat and do what Jesus asked him to do.

Can you imagine how it thrilled Jesus to heal this man, this day, before these people, and forever? Our God loves to do such things—LOVES to make whole what this world has torn asunder. Not only did Jesus have the opportunity to fulfill his earthly mission through this display of power, but he also gets to look into the eyes of a man beaten down by the world while he does it. I wonder, what did those eyes look like the second after the healing had come? Did they twinkle with heavenly glee? Did they pop like the stars over Bethlehem the night Jesus was born? Did they mirror the image of the One who made them to see, set them in place, allowed them to witness this miracle of his grace?

Can you imagine what life was like for this man, after the healing was complete?  He was healed. Verse 5 of Mark 3 says “his hand was completely restored.” Wow. Stop for just a minute and think of the fullness of that statement. This hand had been whole once before,what kind of hand was it?  What kind of work had it done? Was he a gifted musician? Was he a mason of the finest order? Did he help to construct the temple? Had he carried his own dear grandbaby in those rugged, muscle bound arms, holding the baby close to his side with that hand? How long had it been since he’d held his lovers hand with that hand? What had been made impossible, but was now possible again? Can you imagine?

I like to imagine what things occurred between the times when the Bible speaks and the Bible is silent.  These are things we will never know. So many instances of his grace, his love, were not recorded for us. And yet, because we have what we have, we can imagine what we do not know.

I may not be the greatest scholar that ever lived. I may not have all understanding, or be able to solve every riddle, but I can use my imagination. Like Mary, the mother of God, I can ponder these things in my heart. I can, and I shall.

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