Christ the Healer: The Man with a Withered Hand

Christ the Healer: The Man with a Withered Hand

Christ the Healer: The Man with a Withered Hand.

Please read Mark 3:1-5.

1. A Heavenly Rule. In Mark 2:27, just before this incident, Jesus said this to the Pharisees: “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!” (NLT). The following healing scene is an earthly illustration of the heavenly rule.

2. Sabbath. Once again, Jesus is going to test the petty rules of the religious leaders. According to Jewish tradition, one cannot practice medicine unless it’s a matter of life and death for the patient. All eyes were on Jesus, because if the Pharisee could catch Jesus breaking the Sabbath law, perhaps they could sway popular opinion against Him. The leaders were jealous of Jesus’ popularity, His miracles, His authority of Scripture. They looked for ways to trap Him. Have you ever felt trapped? How did Jesus feel about this entrapment?

3. Observant Eyes. Jesus had His eyes wide open wherever He went. He saw a man with a paralyzed hand in the synagogue. Since it was his right hand (Luke 6:6), he was unable to find work in a meaningful and self-supporting way. This man needed both hands to function in order to support a family. So Jesus wanted to help him.

4. Not Intimidated. Jesus brought the man with the crippled hand to the front of the crowd, front and center. He wasn’t afraid to confront the religious leaders. He asked the leaders, “So, is it okay to do a good deed on the Sabbath? Or would you rather have me do something evil? Should I be helping people or leaving them helpless?” The leaders would not answer Jesus’ question. Why didn’t they respond to Jesus? As it turns out in the Gospels, most if not all of the times Jesus healed on the Sabbath were not when lives were in danger. Jesus was not intimidated when it came to breaking Sabbath rules.

5. Anger. Jesus was clearly put out with these leaders. He was downright angry with them. They were hard-hearted rule-keepers, not life-giving God followers. Jesus was angry, but He was also sad… Why can’t they see the emptiness of these traditions? Why can’t they put mercy ahead of tradition? There is such a thing as righteous anger, evidently. Anger seems to be acceptable if it’s based on a righteous issue, and if it’s expressed in a righteous way. Jesus was angry at the sinfulness and injustice of uncaring and unkind attitudes. And He used His anger to show mercy, to correct the problem before Him in a constructive way. But be careful. Truly righteous anger is difficult and fairly rare. Anger is not sin, but it can easily become sin . Be careful with your anger. Was there a time when you experienced righteous anger? When was the last time you expressed an unrighteous anger? Are you in any way legalistic like these Pharisees? Is there a little bit of the Pharisee in you?

6. Healing. So, right in front of everybody, the man held his hand out and Jesus healed him, right there in the synagogue for all to see. This seems a little like an “in your face” miracle, a healing done for the benefit of the man as well as to show who’s boss to the religious leaders. Is it okay to do an “in your face” miracle? Jesus healed this man on the Sabbath, when it was clearly not an emergency in most people’s eyes. Jesus could have waited a day, and then healed him. Why didn’t Jesus wait?

7. More Anger. Now it’s the Pharisees’ turn to get angry. They were outraged that Jesus showed them up, embarrassed them to the crowd. Their anger is not righteous, however. They wanted to use their anger to kill Jesus. They even joined a rival political party, the Herodians, to plot the murder of Jesus. Obviously, there is something about murder in Jewish law. How could the Pharisees be this blind? Have you ever discovered that you had convictions that kept you from helping people?

8. Big Question. What did we learn about Jesus in this story?