The Kind of Man He Was
George H. Morrison
If we center our attention on this man, we see him as a quite ordinary person. He was one of the crowd of undistinguished people who go to church upon the Sabbath-day. Tradition says he was a bricklayer, and quite probably that is true. It at least indicates the old belief that this was a quite ordinary person. And one of the striking things about the gospel is its perennial and amazing power over ordinary people like this bricklayer. He is not like Lazarus1 or even Bartim'us2 whose names have come ringing down the aisles of time. The only name his fellow-worshipers had for him was "the man with the withered hand." And that, from the first, is just the kind of man whom the gospel has been powerful to handle and to give back to usefulness again. That is what makes it a universal gospel-that heavenly power over nameless people. If lack of culture made it ineffectual, it could never be preached across the world. And the very fact that it is so preached, and preached with signs and wonders following, proclaims it as of the Son of Man.
Again we recognize him as a person who had had a hard and embittering experience. We feel the force of that more vividly when we turn to the Gospel of St. Luke. One of the charming things about Luke's Gospel is his illuminative touches in the miracles. Luke was a doctor with a doctor's eye, quick to observe everything pathological. He tells us that the leper was "full of leprosy" (Luke 5:12) and that Peter's mother-in-law was down with "a great fever" (Luke 4:38); here he reveals that the hand was the right hand. Nor, mark you, had the man been so from birth. This cruel affliction had come upon him gradually. His hand grew stiff; he lost the power of it; gradually it shrank and atrophied. Until now, when people passed him in the street, they glanced at him with commiseration and called him "the man with the withered hand." One thinks of everything that must have meant in a day whe ...
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