I pray Mark 3:1-6 tells us about Jesus’ healing of a man’s “withered hand”. Of course, the Pharisees were there watching and were not happy that Jesus was healing on the Sabbath.
4 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.
The Sabbath was sacred. Just as God rested on the 7th day, it was a time of life-giving rest. It was meant for good. For restoration and for remembrance. Jesus was asking which is more in line with the restorative nature of the Sabbath, to leave this man in his suffering or to heal him and change the trajectory of his life. I think the answer is obvious.
Pharisaical pride is well documented in scripture and is often found clashing with the actions Jesus. The Pharisees were not concerned with the heart of the law when keeping the Sabbath, only the appearance. For them, it was a badge of honor, it was their cultural identity to be seen maintaining this strict adherence to the rules.
As the Holy Spirit massaged this into my heart, I was challenged by two questions that popped into my head.
1.When have you ever seen Jesus choose Jewish law over serving someone?
2.Do you think the blessings bestowed to you are for your own enjoyment, or are they the resources for serving others?
For Jesus, over and over again, the marginalized were the priority. So much so that we sinners were provided a savior in Jesus so that we would no longer be considered outsiders, but as children of the King.
5 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.
I pray that our withered hearts would not be stubborn toward those looking for relief from their suffering. I pray that we would see opportunities to be lead by the Holy Spirit and offer the restorative healing of the gospel to those around us.