Sometimes an area of our life has become "withered", or without life, just like the man in Mark 3, who had a withered hand. We tend to conceal, or hide in shame, when we feel like this. To restore the man in the story, Jesus required 2 "action steps": 1) Bring the problem right out into the open 2) A stretch of faith - doing what Jesus asks us to do. The healing is "in the stretch"!
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If you have your Bible with you, let’s open our Bible in the book of Mark. Wow, we’ve had so many stories of people’s lives changed. It’s amazing. We’re going to read from Mark chapter 3 – The man with the withered hand.
Verse 1 - “Jesus entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand.” In another part of the Bible, it says it was his right hand.
Verses 2-6: “So they watched Jesus closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. And He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward.” Then He asked the religious leaders, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent. And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Jesus, how they might destroy Him.”
This is a story of a powerful encounter a man had with Jesus Christ. It’s also the only time that you hear in the Bible, Jesus got angry. So it’s good to look into the story, see what we can learn – what makes God angry. It’s not what you think. It’s usually something else.
So in the story, there’s a man who has a problem in his life. This man is a believer, he’s in a church. The Bible says – Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly. In other words, God wanted to restore to us, spiritual life and vitality. God designed us for relationship, designed us to be connected to Him so his like would flow through us.
God who is the spirit, desired His spirit would be united to our spirit, and His life would flow through us, His nature flow through us – love and joy and peace, that His life and creativity would flow through us. So Jesus said – I come so that you might have life, and have it much more abundantly. When man sinned, the life of God ceased within him. There was a breach in his relationship with God. Spiritually, he disconnected and so instead of being able to live with the flow of life from his spirit, man had to live out of his soul and body. Sin and sickness entered the earth.
Jesus was speaking in one of the feasts, and He said – out of your innermost being will flow rivers of living water. And He was speaking about the Holy Spirit who’d be given to people. So, God’s desire is to put His Spirit in you, to fill you with His life, and that that life will flow out creatively, with love, with the nature of God, that you would extend the kingdom of God in every arena of society.
The church is the group of people God has raised up to empower believers to get us filled with the Holy Spirit and mobilised to serve God. So Jesus came into the synagogue, there’s all these people there worshipping. There’s one man Jesus notices and this man has a withered hand. Something has gone wrong. Possibly he had a brain aneurysm because often that leads to a part of the body drying up. So the problem may have started in his mind – his brain. But it manifested in his hand and it was withered. That words means literally to lose life, to dry up. It means to shrivel up.
Have you ever had a piece of fruit and it slipped under the cupboard or under the bed; and then a long time later you find it. “Oh no. Look at that. All the juice, all the life is gone. It’s all dried up and withered. It’s just horrible. It looks so different when all the life is taken out of it. We use the term ‘withered’. No life. It’s all dried up.