‘…and a man with a shrivelled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”’ Matthew 12.10-12
‘Would Jesus ever want to heal me?’ This is often the underlying question that niggles at us as we begin to think about praying for healing – could it ever happen to me? At the heart of this is a suspicion that healing is reserved for special people who have a key place in God’s heart. However, this story cuts right through such thinking and gives us Jesus’ view of healing – and it is quite simple. Healing is about lifting people out of a pit, just as we would an animal that had fallen into a hole.
If you think about it, people fall into pits for any number of reasons: accidents, misadventures or even being pushed. The reason doesn’t matter – healing is still about lifting them out. Nor is there any suggestion that some sheep are worth rescuing and some are not. If they are in the pit – they need to come out!
If you feel as if you are in a pit, perhaps one of the first things that you need to know is that Jesus wants you out. He takes no pleasure from you being there, so this should give you confidence to pray. Today’s story reveals his will – he wants you out of the pit.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission
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