1 Corinthians 5:1-8
I have been told as an undoubted fact that one of you is living with his father’s wife. This is a case of sexual immorality among you that must be unparalleled even among pagans. How can you be so proud of yourselves? You should be in mourning. A man who does a thing like that ought to have been expelled from the community. Though I am far away in body, I am with you in spirit, and have already condemned the man who did this thing as if I were actually present. When you are assembled together in the name of the Lord Jesus, and I am spiritually present with you, then with the power of our Lord Jesus he is to be handed over to Satan so that his sensual body may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.
The pride that you take in yourselves is hardly to your credit. You must know how even a small amount of yeast is enough to leaven all the dough, so get rid of all the old yeast, and make yourselves into a completely new batch of bread, unleavened as you are meant to be. Christ, our passover, has been sacrificed; let us celebrate the feast, then, by getting rid of all the old yeast of evil and wickedness, having only the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
On the sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees were watching him to see if he would cure a man on the sabbath, hoping to find something to use against him. But he knew their thoughts; and he said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Stand up! Come out into the middle.’ And he came out and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, ‘I put it to you: is it against the law on the sabbath to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to destroy it?’ Then he looked round at them all and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He did so, and his hand was better. But they were furious, and began to discuss the best way of dealing with Jesus.
Stretch out your hand.
Like any given Monday, many of us find ourselves returning to work, coming back to the hustle and bustle of a new week ahead. At the same time, many of us will find ourselves bogged down with the work that we need to do in the coming week. But so often, we forget that the week does not really start on Monday. Many of us would have encountered calendars that begin the week with a Sunday.
We also know that Sunday is the sabbath day. It is the day of rest, the seventh day on which even God himself took a break. But in the readings today, we see Jesus healing the man with the withered hand on the day of Sabbath. This was what enraged the Pharisees — that Jesus worked on the Sabbath day. But Jesus did all this knowing that this would be the response He would elicit.
Indeed, Jesus is telling us that as Christians, there is no demarcation of when and where we are to do God’s work. Similarly, there should be no demarcation between our rest times, daily work, and time with God. Furthermore, Jesus’s act of healing re-emphasizes his two ‘new’ laws: (1) Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind; (2) Love your neighbour as yourself.
Like healing the man with the withered hand, love has no rest days. No matter the circumstance, we are called to reflect God’s love to others. And we need to receive God’s love from others. So often, we think about giving but forget about receiving. When we receive love (whether a kind act, a compliment, or simply a prayer), we allow others to exercise the holiness that God has implanted in them.
Whether giving or receiving, we are called to stretch out our hands. To reach out to fellow men and women, especially those who are in need. So as we go through our day, let us remember to continue doing God’s work by loving and caring for each other, even if we are bogged down with our daily work. Let us remember that our Saviour loved despite the circumstances; and so, we must do the same.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Jacob Woo)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray for those who are lonely, scared or intimidated by the circumstance and situations that they have been born into, placed in, or simply find themselves in. Lead them back to your love.
Thanksgiving: We thank the Lord for his unceasing love and unfailing help. May we never lose the eyes of faith that allow us to see Him in everything we do.