Sunday, December 04, 2016


Healing A Withered Hand

The second story involves another event that happened on the Sabbath. In fact, it happened in the synagogue on the Sabbath. Jesus was teaching again. He saw a man with a withered hand. The Pharisees and scribes were watching him, wondering if he would heal the man on the Sabbath.

Jesus “knew their thoughts”. That was probably not difficult. They were likely whispering to each other and exchanging glances. So, Jesus put them on the spot. He had the man stand in front of the congregation. Then, he asked them if it was lawful on the Sabbath to do good?

Jesus knew their answer would be “no” because it would be work. The Pharisees believed you could only heal on the Sabbath if it was a matter of life or death. Any lesser condition had to wait until the Sabbath ended. They would rather the man would be left disabled than to violate of their Sabbath rules.

However, the Pharisees knew that if they said it was unlawful to heal on the Sabbath, they would reveal their lack of compassion for the disabled man who stood before the whole congregation. If they said it was lawful, they would have nothing for which to criticize Jesus. So they said nothing.

Jesus had masterfully turned their trap back on them.

Jesus chose compassion over legalism. He healed the man. (10) As Lord of the Sabbath, he had the authority to define the way to observe it. He attested to his authority by his power to heal.

You would hope that, witnessing a healing, the Pharisees would rejoice with the man who was healed and praise God for the miracle. But they did not. They were angry, “filled with fury”. (10) Jesus had “showed them up”. He had revealed the weakness in their theological position and their lack of compassion.

Their anger led them to discuss what they might do to Jesus. (11) That is a chilling statement. The Pharisees would plot to destroy Jesus.

It is important that we do not create rules that prevent us from ministering to people. For example, I once saw an usher at my church tell a young man he could not come into the worship service because he wore shorts. Most people in my church dress up more. Most men wear a dress shirt and slacks and many wear suits.

But this young man decided to come to church that day to see if he could find God. He was not aware of a dress code. So which is more important, the dress code or the chance for a man to hear to gospel and be saved? Fortunately, I was able to get the young man into the service and he did indeed hear the gospel.
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