Sunday, October 2, 2016

31 Days of Healing: The Man with the Withered Hand



And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand.  So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.  And He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward.” Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent.  And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.  Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.-                                                                                                Mark 3:1-6



This story of the man with the withered hand can be found in Matthew 12, Mark 3, and Luke 6.  Today, I will be focusing mostly on the account in Mark 3.

I love the Gospel of Mark.  It has become my favorite Gospel.  It seems like it has the most stories of healing in it, though I haven’t ever counted and compared it with the others. 

Mark didn’t walk physically with Jesus when he present during his earthly ministry.  He would have been a youth at that time, so he might have encountered Jesus.  It is widely held that the accounts he recorded came from the preaching of Peter.

In his Gospel account, we find the word “immediately” a lot.  I like that word. 

In the account of the man with the withered hand, Jesus was in the synagogue.  Luke’s Gospel says He was teaching.  He notices a man whose hand is “withered.”  Withered is also translated as “paralyzed, shriveled, and deformed.”  Strong’s Concordance defines withered as “dry, withered, dry land.”  To me, that creates the image that it is without moisture, like a desert, no life.

The way the events are recorded is interesting.  Mark tells us that there is a man there with a withered hand.  Then he tells us that there are people there waiting to see if Jesus would heal him on the Sabbath, so they could “accuse him.”  Wait.  THEY EXPECTED JESUS TO HEAL THE MAN.  Isn’t that funny to you?  They believed that Jesus was functioning in the power of God and wherever He went, if death was present, He would bring life back to it.  But they weren’t looking to Him for this in their own lives.  They were so wrapped up in being lawfully correct, and were bound by something they didn’t understand, that they wouldn’t even care if someone who was sick was made well.

So, Jesus knew what they were thinking.  He calls the man up.  Because that is what He does.  He acknowledged something not right with the man and was going to fix it.  He didn’t ignore that the man needed help.

He has him stand in front of everyone.  Let’s think about the man for a minute.  It might be quite embarrassing to be made to stand in front of everyone.  Humility must have been present in that man’s life.  I believe humility is important for faith to be present. 

Then Jesus asks them this question, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?”  And then nobody says anything.  This makes Jesus angry.  I think this may be the only time we are told Jesus is angry in the Bible.  We know He is grieved in other places, but this actually says He is angry.

The question He asks them is very telling.  It would seem that Jesus would equate healing with doing good and saving life. 

Jesus goes on to heal the man.

He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. 

I think it is interesting how Jesus told him to do something that in the natural might seem to be completely impossible.  The man must have had some measure of faith, to do what Jesus told him to do.  And his hand was completely restored, just like the other.

I believe that Jesus longs to restore what is withered in our lives too.

Many blessings to you as you grow in the knowledge of Him,
Beth




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