I MET JESUS: A man with a diseased hand (Mark 3:1-6)

What do you think of religion?  People think I'm religious because I follow Jesus, but Jesus wasn't a fan of religion in his day...

Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shrivelled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath.

The Jewish religious leaders of Jesus' day had missed the point of God's law about the sabbath day of rest (number 4 in the famous 10 commandments God gave to his people through Moses back in the Exodus story).  They had loads of extra rules in addition to what God had said about taking a day off once a week.  

So as they assessed Jesus to see if he was worth trusting and following, they watch him closely to see if he would heal on the sabbath.  If he did, it would break their rules.

But their rules were stupid.

Since when is there a bad day of the week to help someone who's sick?!  Accidents and emergencies don't care what day it is.  That's why hospitals stay open 24-7.  That should be obvious!  But these religious leaders were so twisted up with religious pride that they were waiting for Jesus to break their rules by healing this guy... on the wrong day.

Think about it.  They don't even have it in them to be amazed at the MIRACLE of healing.  They can only see the BAD TIMING of it.  They're spiritually blind to who Jesus is and what's really going on.
Jesus said to the man with the shrivelled hand, 'Stand up in front of everyone.'

I love it.  Jesus knows that healing this guy will offend the religious leaders if they saw it.  And so he wants to make sure they all do!!  He wants them to see it, be offended and maybe learn how stupid their rules are, and how silly their religion has become.

Then Jesus asked them, ‘Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?’ But they remained silent.

It should be an easy question shouldn't it?  But they can't answer it because they've got everything muddled in their religious way of thinking.  They don't have the humility to admit they're wrong and to learn something from Jesus.  Only pride and stubbornness.

  He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 

So Jesus goes ahead and heals the man... MIRACULOUSLY BTW!  But they still can't see their own stubbornness.  Jesus sees it and is angry.  He loves people (even these proud religious leaders) and hates it when sin gets in the way of people seeing the truth and finding real life.  That's why he came, after all!  The emotions of Jesus are stronger than we can imagine I think.  There's compassion, anger, distress, concern and love, all wrapped up together here.  It'll be interesting to see how the religious leaders respond to the miracle...

Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

Predictable and stupid.  They're so lost in their thinking that they don't know a miracle when they see one.  They're repelled by Jesus rather than drawn to him.  They hate him and want him dead.  They don't see that God is among them.  They only see a threat to their beliefs.

When God is a threat to your beliefs, you've got the wrong beliefs.

The man who got healed on the other hand (sorry), saw things completely differently.  His encounter with Jesus had left him healed and humbled.  We're not told what he did next but I bet it was the opposite of the religious leaders.  Love for Jesus instead of hatred.  Humility to learn instead of pride and stubbornness.  He'd seen the power of Jesus and didn't care what day it was or what religious people said about it.

Good for him!