The Miracle of the Withered Hand: The Pharisees Confer

Simon gathered Judas bar Simeon, Titus, and Rabbus at his home. Capernaum was small and most who lived there didn't care very much about the arguments between the Sadducees – the majority party – and the Pharisees. Simon, Judas, Titus and Rabbus were the leaders of the Pharisees in Capernaum.

Simon started. “This Jesus is trouble. Look what he did to Thaddeus – imagine! Who would have thought that Thaddeus was pretending all these years to be paralyzed, just waiting for some charlatan like Jesus bar Joseph to come along! Imagine!” The previous week, four men had lowered Thaddeus through the roof of Jesus' house because they could not bring him through the crowds. Thaddeus had been paralyzed for three years and was forced to beg to live. He was fortunate that some disciples of Jesus had offered to bring him to the rabbi. When Jesus saw him coming through the roof, he forgave his sins. But the Pharisees had questioned among themselves who but God could forgive sins. To show his power, Jesus had cured him: he picked up his mat and walked out of the house.

“Seems hard to believe that Thaddeus was pretending all these years,” remarked Rabbus.

“But there's no other rational explanation,” exclaimed Titus.

“Here's my point. Jesus can't fake curing a deformity. Whether Thaddeus was really paralyzed or not will never be proved. The people think Jesus cured him, and we'll never convince them otherwise.”

“So what do we do? Who is there with a deformity?” asked Judas.

“Alpheus” answered Simon immediately.

The others nodded in agreement. Alpheus' had been born with a withered right hand. Poor Alpheus would never work, and when his parents died would be begging on the street to feed himself.

“Will he help us?” asked Judas. “Suppose he fears this Jesus, or doesn't show up where this mystery man preaches?”

“I think he'll play along,” said Simon, “if we offer him money. I'll bet he'll do almost anything to avoid begging.”

“Okay, so how do we get them in the same place at the same time?” asked Rabbus.

There was a lull in the conversation as each of them thought over the problem.

“Well, I think we can count on Jesus showing up at the synagogue,” one of them said. “All we have to do is get Alpheus there.”

“That's a great plan!” exclaimed Simon. “If he attempts a cure, he will be working on the Sabbath. We'll show he's a fake, and not a good Jew either.”

There was a brief pause as the cabal pondered the beauty of their plan.

“There's still the problem of getting Alpheus to the synagogue. He's a sinner, and as you well know he can't be in a sanctified place.”

“I'll speak to him,” offered Simon. “Our money will motivate him.”

The following day, Simon went to see Alpheus.

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