The Upper Hand
And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. ~Mark 3:1
A couple of years ago, I was away on a trip and did not have an irrigation system for some of my fruit trees. When I returned, my two fig trees were very withered in their leaves from a lack of water. It took several days of watering, but eventually, I was able to bring them back. Withering is when something that is living dries up and becomes useless and unproductive. This morning, we see Jesus ministering to a man who had a hand that was withered, or rendered useless. In ministering to this man, Jesus had to overcome the hardened hearts of people used to a tradition of nothing great occurring on the sabbath day. Let us see Jesus getting the upper hand.
We see the handicapped.
Our attention is called to man with a withered hand. His hand had become atrophied and dried up. His hand became useless. The hand represents strength and service. We must be careful of becoming withered where we once thrived. Instead of being strong, we become weak. Instead of serving, we are on the sidelines languishing. Instead of walking worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing in our devotions, we are neglecting our soul and letting it become a wasteland instead of a tree planted by the rivers of water. Are there areas in your life that have slowly shriveled up?
We see the hindrance.
“And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.” The Jews were upset that Jesus contradicted their practice of neglecting the good for the sake of “tradition.” To the Jew, doing good to a disabled man on the sabbath day was considered wrong. As they watched Jesus, they tried to intimidate Him from doing the work and will of God. Sadly, the Jews had become hardened towards the things of God. Unbelief, hardness, and protecting traditions are hindrances to the work of God. A stiff, formalistic, and policy-driven approach to ministry quenches the Holy Spirit.
We see the halting.
“And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.” Jesus reasoned with the Jews based on what was right ethically, morally, and spiritually. In addition, He reversed the intimidation game with them. Jesus called out the hardness of their heart by staring them down with an angry look. He made it known, in no uncertain terms, that He was grieved with their spirit. When we consider the situation at hand, the heart of the Jews was withered in compassion, conscience, and connection. Jesus applied Proverbs 25:23 by driving away a backbiting tongue with an angry countenance.
We see the healing.
“He saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.” Jesus had the upper hand in the situation. Instead of being thwarted in helping this man, He took control and encouraged this man to stretch his hand out in faith so that it could be restored. This man got his strength and usefulness back. Are you at a place in life where your strength, service, and soul have withered? Will you stretch out that part of your life and let Jesus restore it back to good health? Will you let Jesus invigorate a shriveled faith and soul? He can!
Have an invigorated God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Jeremiah 1-3