“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.” Mark 3:4
The Sabbath was a day to glorify God, but the people had turned it into a day of limitations, where even God’s glory would not be allowed to manifest.
“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.“ Mark 3:2
The withered hand was the trap. A deformity, the cause of deep grief, was used as bait to trap Jesus into breaking the law.
Any deformity (spiritual, emotional, mental or physical) that keeps you on the fringes of community feels like living under a curse and must be confronted.
Otherwise it becomes a life sentence of isolation and rejection.
The leaders and the people had come to accept his condition: “It is the result of sin!” “This is the will of God!”
Any other answer would require their effort in seeking a solution which may upset their carefully developed theology that allowed them to stay uninvolved and “undefiled.”
Their detached acceptance of the man’s condition prompts the question, "Is it legal, is it right to do good, to bring life on a day set aside for rest by God?”
This is the question we all face. Is it right to ask God to extend grace and healing to those who for all intents and purposes are withering under a curse as a consequence of “Their Sin?”
When faced with the confusing, the disturbing, the impossible, you can easily lose your confidence, and wonder,
“What can I do?”
The question is an admission of unbelief and powerlessness.
It is not so for Jesus. It never is.
Jesus sees things differently. He always does.
Where there is no fulness of life, there is no fulness of God, and he is driven by the heart of the Father to confront the situation.
He is a full blown agent of change. Anything less than the glory of God flowing through man is not acceptable.
Receiving no answer to his question, he answered it by doing “Good”.
“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. “Mark 3:5
The people's religious mindset caused their hardness of heart; they used the Word of God to justify their readiness to settle for less. It angered and grieved Jesus, and moved him to act.
Jesus’ actions bring an instant reaction; the Pharisees and the Herodians (religious and political leaders) immediately planned to destroy him.
“Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.” Mark 3:6
They saw His actions as challenge to their religion, and they raged.
When you do “Good" you release “life.” That is always a challenge to any form of limitation, spiritual or physical.
Goodness begins to release people from that which holds them in bondage. Whatever their defects.
Any withered “hand” is a call to do good.
Against goodness, kindness there is no law, only opposition.