READ : Mark 3:1-6
In ancient times, illness “served you right.” Job’s comforters insisted he only got what was coming to him. The Jews diagnosed sickness as the symptom of sin, and the prevailing rabbinical view was that since disease was God’s will, to heal was almost an act of irreverence. Jesus’ healing of “the man with the withered hand” would have been vaguely scandalous even on a weekday, no less on the Sabbath.
The Pharisees “. . . watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him.” What a risk the Great Physician took, healing this man right in the face of his enemies! “Stretch out your hand!” says Jesus. The cripple believes, stretches forth his lifeless limb, and is healed.
There are still withered hands that could use the Master’s touch. God’s people don’t lack the knowledge of what to do. But our hands are withered. We talk about acts of ministry. We have good ideas. But what a huge gap there is between talk and action, between good ideas and good deeds.
When Jesus says “Stretch out your hand!” he’s talking to the crippled man, also to you and me.
Lord, close in my life the gap between talk and action, between good ideas and good deeds. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.