Gospel Words: the Withered Hand Healed

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
THE sabbath like everything else was turned by Jewish unbelief against the Messiah. But like
everything else the sabbath only told to His glory against man's sin, shame, selfishness, and pride. At that time (Matt. 12:11At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. (Matthew 12:1)) the Lord went through the cornfields on the sabbath, and His disciples, being hungry, began to pluck and eat. Seeing this the Pharisees reproached Him, but He vindicated them by David's act in 1 Sam. 21 generally, and in particular by the priests who do their work in the temple blamelessly on the sabbaths. What value had the show-bread if the anointed of Jehovah and his men were hunted for their life? Yet says He, " a greater thing than the temple is here." Had they known too what Hos. 6:66For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:6) means, they would not have condemned the guiltless. " For the Son of man is lord of the sabbath." The rejected Christ is the Son of man about to come from heaven in judgment.. They were guilty not only of transgressing the law, but of refusing Jehovah's Anointed. So He enters on a higher and larger glory which supersedes their boasts and judges their sins.
On a subsequent sabbath he exposes their evil state, hypocritical and murderous.
" And when departed thence he went into their synagogue; and, behold, a man having a withered hand. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath? that they might accuse him. And he said to them, What man of you shall there be who shall have one sheep; and if this fall into a pit on- the sabbath, will he not lay hold and raise it up? How much then doth a man exceed a sheep! Wherefore it is lawful on the sabbath to do well. Then he saith to the man, Stretch out thy hand, and he stretched it out; and it was restored sound as the other. But the Pharisees went out and took counsel against him, how they might destroy him " (vers. 9-14).
Here it is not the authority of His person in which He will judge not the Jews only but all the nations; it is the character of Him Who is good and doeth good, let His people be as false and faulty as they may to their ruin. In vain for His people to plead the sabbath against Him Who is lord of it; still more vain to forbid on that day His active goodness for needy suffering man. The poorest Jew was not debarred by the sabbath from extricating his sheep from the pit. God had compassion, if they had none, for their brother fallen under a worse calamity; and here was He anointed of Jehovah to bind up the broken-hearted, let Pharisees rage and plot as they might. " Lo, I am come to do thy will, 0 God."
Mark presents the scene yet more vividly; for he tells us that the Savior directed the man to "Stand up " before He uttered His fuller and withering questions: " Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? " And when they held their peace but with malice to the uttermost, He looked round about on them with anger, distressed at the hardening of their heart. What right had selfish murderous men against God's grace? Such they showed themselves; for they went out of the synagogue to plot, Pharisees and Herodians, deadly enemies of each other, against the Son of God, His servant among sinful and suffering men, to minister as none else could, to save souls as well as life.
Oh! how is it with you who read these lines? Is not your case still more deplorable than his of the withered hand? Is not your heart withered Godward? Is it not active only as the source of uncleanness in every kind which defiles you? Do you love your own will and way? and what is this but sin, hateful to God and destructive to you? Yet for you Jesus, the Son of God, came; for you He died. And He died not for any imaginary good in you, but for your sins, too many and too real. Fear not then to commit yourself, just as you are to the Savior. Hide not anything of your evil from the eyes of your heart; let your conscience confess all out to God: Christ is the only meeting-place between the sinner and Him. He is all-embracing for such as come as sinners; and as surely a Savior as they are lost.
Therefore of God's word doubt not, but look to Jesus in your guilt and unworthiness. Seek only to be in the truth of your sins before God; and you will find Christ in the truth of divine grace toward your soul.
If it be so with you, this is true repentance toward God, and true faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. The merit, the grace, the efficacy, the power are in Him. The pardon and peace, the life and blessing, are yours on believing the glad tidings of God about His Son. Till you believe on Him for life and salvation, you have nothing to do with practical love and holiness, incumbent as they are on the Christian. First be settled in faith.