Irvin Wasswa- Tylertown Campus Pastor LHBC
Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. 2 And they watched Jesus,[a] to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3 And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” 4 And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5 And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.
The ministry of Jesus was all about loving people and leading them to the truth. A prime example of such was early on in His ministry encountering the man with the withered hand in Mark 3. The context of the miracle was Jesus going into the synagogue to worship. The religious leaders of the time were watching Him like a hawk as He had already participated in healing many people. Jesus’ name and fame was beginning to spread all around the region. Jesus saw a man with a deformed hand in need of healing and healed him. Though the miracle is something worth celebrating as it is a testament to the person of Christ, the conversation which transpired before the healing was perhaps one of the more sobering moments in the life of Jesus’ ministry.
The religious elite of the first century (Pharisees and Sadducees) were rather jealous of the acclaim King Jesus was receiving during His ministry. He came from a poor family, from a poor town, and was going against the grain in many ways from their traditional way of doing things. See, the religious elite were all about the “show”. In their minds, they were the ones who were closest to God, they were the ones who had it altogether because they followed the laws to a T, and they were the ones who could put on a good religious show because of their influence in the community. They were so focused on the “show” that they did not care about people.
Jesus stepped in before healing and asked them if it was more lawful for them to do good or to harm to which they could not answer. The religious leaders were more concerned about following their legalistic, man-made rules than they were people. They had no regard for people, just performing in front of them.
The struggle for Christians today is that we too can fall into the same trap. We care more about appearances and “the show: than we do just loving others and leading them to the truth. We care more about what that parent thinks of our appearance or how our kid plays ball than we do loving them where they are and sharing the hope of Jesus with them. We care more about the sharply dressed person at church and what they think about us than we do loving the person who may be in a difficult season in our family group and encouraging them. Jesus’ life consisted of loving and caring for people. We too ought to embody that same attitude.
Matthew 22 tells us that the greatest two commandments are to love God and love people. May we choose to follow Jesus’ example and love that neighbor that is hard to love in Jesus’ name. May we choose to minister to that friend that is down and out, to serve that family member that is in a mess. Let us choose to value loving people over performing for them.
PRAYER FOR TODAY: Dear Heavenly Father, thank your for your love for me! Help me to love and value others. Help me to choose people over performance in these days. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
Revelation 3:20- Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.