We had just entered the synagogue for Sabbath worship when Jesus saw him.
I hadn’t even noticed him, but that was probably what he was hoping for, that nobody would notice him. He was standing off to one side, head down and his left hand hidden beneath his robe. His appearance and attitude told people he wanted to be left alone, but Jesus either didn’t pick up on the clues or didn’t care.
“Excuse me, Benjamin isn’t it?”
The man looked up, “I beg your pardon?”
“Your name is Benjamin, isn’t it?”
“Yes, and you’re Jesus. Everybody knows who you are. But how do you know who I am?”
Jesus just smiled, “I’ve known you before you were you. And today I have a gift for you. Give me your hand.” Jesus said, reaching for the hand hidden beneath the robe.
“I’d rather not.” Benjamin replied, tucking his hand even deeper in his robe.
“I know how people look at it and at you my friend, but really trust me.”
Looking around Jesus saw some Pharisees standing off to one side casting curious glances our way.
“I know what you’re thinking,” Jesus said, “Here’s your answer.”
Then reaching out he reached into the man’s cloak and took his hand, “Just trust me Benjamin.”
The hand that Jesus held in his own was more a talon than a hand. Shrunken, twisted and useless. And then, it happened.
As Jesus looked in the man’s eyes, those twisted fingers straightened. And as they straightened, they took shape. Even his finger nails changed. The nails that had looked like blackened claws smoothed and turned pink.
“My fingers, I can feel my fingers, I’ve never felt my fingers before!” He stretched and flexed his hand and fingers in front of his face, his eyes growing larger with every movement his hand made.
Jesus just smiled, “You’re welcome.” He said.
Then nodding to the pharisees he turned to us and said, “It’s time to go.”
Heading back to the house we took a shortcut across Nahum’s
grain field. And as we were strolling along the path the
harvesters used, Andrew and Phillip picked a few heads of grain off the ripe
stalks. They were just about to pop them
in their mouth when someone snarled at them.
“It wasn‘t enough you had to heal on the Sabbath, now you‘re letting your disciples harvest on the Sabbath.”Jesus turned toward the voice, “Seriously Aarron?” The man he addressed was one of the religious leaders we had seen in the synagogue, “Harvesting? Give me a break. And besides, you‘re so quick to quote scripture but do you even pay attention to the stories in God’s word?” The confused look on the man’s face was all the answer that Jesus needed.“Do you remember the story about David seeking refuge in Nob when Saul was trying to kill him?”Aarron nodded. “I’m sure you do, then you remember that David and his men were hungry and Abiathar the high priest gave them bread from the tabernacle to eat. Bread reserved for the priest.”“That was different,” the Pharisee said.“Really? You act as if God created mankind with the sole purpose of keeping the law. God have Moses the law to protect His children.
“And don’t even get me started about me defiling the Sabbath by healing Benjamin’s hand. Do you think it grieved the Father or pleased Him that I healed one of his children today?” Jesus didn‘t even wait for an answer, he just turned and walked away. And as he did I heard him mutter, “that bunch will be the death of me.”