Mk.3:5 – Then looking around at everyone, Jesus was moved with indignation and grieved by the hardness of their hearts and said to the man, “Now stretch out your hand!” As he stretched out his hand, it was instantly healed!

The poor man in this story probably felt helpless, hopeless, and possibly a little cornered. He couldn’t hold down his old job (tradition says he was a plasterer) which always leads to other problems. Bills, strife, which leads to tension in the marriage and family, and all he got at the synagogue was a load of rules and obligations. Certainly this guy had heard of the miracles that Jesus was performing but there seemed to be tension in the air as the leaders of the synagogue were glaring at Jesus as if they were daring Him to do something. Jesus pressed through the resistance and brought total healing to this man. What a great example of how the love of God breaks through the barriers that preconceived religious ideas can build up. This man got a brand new life. Here are some interesting thoughts from the Passion Notes on this passage.

“This miracle is found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It contains valuable lessons for us today, for the hand symbolizes holding, giving, receiving, doing. It was his right hand (Luke 6:6), which brings the added significance of power (i.e., God’s right hand, Ex. 15:6), pleasure (Ps. 16:11), approval (Heb. 1:13), and righteousness (Ps. 48:10). A crippled right hand points to the lack of all these things. Human beings are helpless before God, crippled in all our works. But the power of Jesus heals our limitations and brokenness. Religion cannot heal us, but Jesus can.”

This man’s withered hand was a picture of how religion without power hinders and even binds us up. The healing brought freedom and the ability to operate again. He could hold his wife and children again, he could work and support his family again. Now that he was whole he could receive the reward and fruit of his labors. He could also begin to be a contributing member of his community. I wouldn’t be surprised if this plasterer by trade became one of the supporters of this carpenter from Nazareth.

When we see the end of this story we can begin to understand the anger that Jesus had. These men who where apparently serving God at the synagogue were actually blocking what the Lord wanted to do. If you feel that part of your life is “withered” and void of power its time to come to Jesus and stretch out your hand, just maybe a miracle is coming your way.

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