Week 4- Lent Series 2020 – Mark 3:1-6 – Jesus and the man with the withered hand

Stories | March 20, 2020

When Jesus encountered a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath, the Pharisees thought Jesus was caught in a conflict of interest. A win-lose situation. Would Jesus heal the man or honour the Sabbath? The Sabbath was a day of rest and there were laws to ensure that people rested on the Sabbath. In the Pharisees eyes, if Jesus healed the man than he would be breaking the Sabbath laws.

Jesus was angered and grieved at the hardness of their hearts. That they would choose to deny the man healing and restoration in order to keep the laws.

Jesus asked the Pharisees “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?

For Jesus, there was not any conflict of interest. There was not any tension between right and wrong. This, for him, was a no brainer. He called the man to himself and told the man to stretch out his hand. The man’s hand was healed. His capacity to use his hand was restored.

Restoring people was more important to Jesus than following religious rules.

Many things can get in the way of us helping people to be restored. Many of us lead busy lives. Restoration requires us to put aside our own priorities and put another’s in their place. It can inconvenience us.

Teenagers are fast paced. When I was in high school I was often left behind. I could not get my words out quick enough to be heard in group situations and so I often felt lonely and had a low sense of self-worth. I thought that I must be boring. Fellow students were not deliberately excluding me, but they were unable or unaware of how I was excluded.

Showing compassion can require intention. Including people can require thinking outside of our lives, routines and thought patterns. It can require slowing down.

Is there anyone in your community who is marginalised or excluded? Have you ever thought about how showing mercy and compassion towards them could restore their self-worth? What do you need to do this?

Bible Passage – Mark 3:1-6

“Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shrivelled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shrivelled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”

Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.

He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.”

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