Withered Hand

Mike Connell

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And so He drew the man up, and then He spoke to the religious people, and He said: well tell me this - is it right to good, or do evil, on the Sabbath Day? Is it right to bring life, give life; or to kill? You see, these people were religious people. If you have no relationship with God, you tend to live your life by rules and laws and regulations, and do this and don't do that, you can't do this and can't do that, and that's how they lived their lives - doesn't bring life to anyone. No laws can bring you life, only a relationship with God can bring you life. And so He said: well which is it? Because they were watching to see if He'd heal. They wanted to accuse Him of working on the Sabbath Day. He points out the hypocrisy, and said: even the priests will kill a sacrifice, and do some work on the Sabbath Day; so He's asking the question: well is it better to kill; or is it better to bring life? Is it better to offer your offerings and kill your sheep, or is it better to bring life to someone who's in need? He said: you don't have a clue about what God is like. He said: God is not interested in sacrifices and offerings. He said: they're more for your sake, than God's sake. He's not interested in those. What He's interested in, is a compassion for people in need.

In the Old Testament, He put it like this: He has shown you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you - to do justly, or to act right towards the poor, the widows and the orphans and oppressed; to love mercy, to love and delight in showing mercy, kindness and compassion to people; and to just walk humbly, or dependent on the Lord. Pharisees did none of these things. He said to them in another place, He said: you go and read your Bible again. He said: can't you find in the Old Testament, it says I delight in mercy, not in sacrifice; and so He challenged them, and He knew He was challenging them. Then He said to the man - now He told the man to do something He couldn't do. The first two commands he could do - he could stand up; and he could rise up, and he could come to Jesus, stand next to Jesus. The last one took the power of God, and when he responded to the first two, Jesus said: now stretch your hand out.

To everyone's astonishment a creative miracle took place. Now a creative miracle's not just an ordinary miracle. This man's hand was withered and shrunk, and literally life came into it, and it was restored and made whole; and if he had a brain aneurysm, whatever was in his brain that had gone wrong, that was healed as well. Can you imagine what that - the impact something like that must have had? And of course crowds of people were absolutely thrilled, because the heart of God was on display. God loves to help people. But the religious people, the Pharisees, the hypocrites, the Bible says - you look at it in the book of Mark - it says: they went, and they connected with their arch enemies, the Herodians. The Herodians were a politically motivated people. The place had been taken over by Romans, and they put Herodians in charge of the nation, and so the Herodians were the followers of Herod, and they were actually political, they were always in political compromise. Anyone knows anything about politics you know it's a world of compromise - so they were into political compromise. They compromised the word of God in order to get position, and get authority in the nation politically; the Pharisees compromised the heart of God, and the ways of God to get position and influence among men in the church arena. The two had one thing in common; none of them knew the heart of God.