The Wonderful Healer and the Withered Hand

Introduction

Mark presents the Son of God always about His Father’s business, doing good, healing the sick, casting out devils and preaching the gospel. Jesus never hid what He was doing or feared the ridicule of His critics. As believers we ought to imitate the Master, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

The watcher’s hatred

“And He entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched Him, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath day; that they might accuse Him” (Mark 3:1-2).

The Lord was continuously being watched by His enemies. They had their evil eye on Him as they waited for opportunities to condemn Him. They knew that Jesus would heal the man with the withered hand. This proves just how wicked the Pharisees were, for while they ought to have been in the synagogue to worship God, instead they were there to plot against Jesus. They had a malicious and devilish hatred of Him. They were not willing to lift a finger to assist the man, but had no problem raising their hands against Christ.

Believers are being watched by the world too. As such we are marked out for their ridicule, sport and spite. Our adversaries wait for us to make a mistake so that they can pour out their venom, and even when cannot find any error in us, they will twist our words and actions to put us in the worst possible light. It is important that we do not give the enemy any cause to blaspheme the name of God, therefore we ought to avoid even “the appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22) and “Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing” (1 Peter 3:16-17).

The withered hand

“And He saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. And He saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace” (Mark 3:3-4).

Once again the Lord teaches that it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath. Would it be good or evil to leave a sick person in his suffering knowing that there is a cure available? Were they not doing evil in plotting the Lord’s death on this holy day? Did the Pharisees not see that the wickedness of their own hearts nullified their observance of the Sabbath? They probably did but refused to answer Jesus’ question.

Christians never need to hesitate about doing some good work for others on the Sabbath day, for the holiness of the day is not decreased but instead enhanced by the good done in the name and for the cause of Christ. This permission to do good does not give us the liberty to take pleasure in worldly amusements or to run about buying things. Only “doing good” is sanctioned by the Lord, otherwise we will be found perverting the blessing He has given us.

The wicked hearts

“And when He had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, He saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy Him” (Mark 3:5-6).

The wickedness of the Pharisees angered Jesus. His indignation was justified since they immediately put their plans in motion to get rid of Him. The Pharisees and Herodians were bitter enemies, but they were willing to work together since they hated Jesus more than each other. Sometimes righteous anger is the only way to get through to those who constantly oppose Christ and His word, “The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue!” (Proverbs 25:23), nevertheless, we must make sure that we do not commit sin, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27).

Who did Jesus favourably respond to, the man with the withered hand or the Pharisees with their wicked hearts?

The wonderful healings

“But Jesus withdrew Himself with His disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed Him, and from Judaea, And from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things He did, came unto him. And He spake to His disciples, that a small ship should wait on Him because of the multitude, lest they should throng Him. For He had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon Him for to touch Him, as many as had plagues. And unclean spirits, when they saw Him, fell down before Him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God. And He straitly charged them that they should not make Him known” (Mark 3:7-12).

Jesus, instead of getting involved with arguments with the religious leaders, went and did what He was sent to do. The multitudes came to hear Him and be healed. The sick and demon possessed wanted to be in His presence. Never do we read that the multitudes flocked to hear the Pharisees speak or to receive any kind of help. The Pharisees were obviously more wicked than the demons, for at least they acknowledged Jesus as the Son of God.

Conclusion

Those who take a stand for the truth will automatically come under fire from both spiritual and human enemies, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). There are those who compromise and water down the word when tribulation and persecution arises against them, but those who live for Christ stand firm. No one will get saved if we become cowards and compromise the truth. If Jesus had done that there would be no such thing as Christianity today.

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