TOPIC:“When Christ Healed a Man's Hand”
by Rev. Dr Reg Dunlap
“And he entered again into the synagogue, and there
was a man there which had a withered hand.” (3:1)
Some years ago, I remember a man who suffered the loss of his hand because he carelessly and foolishly played around with an electric saw. The sharp edge of the saw went right through his flesh. What a disastrous, dreadful, and devastating calamity. A man with one hand because of carelessness.
And yet, that is somewhat like the tragic picture we have before us in the text. There in the synagogue on the Sabbath, with all of the scribes and Pharisees watching him, we find Christ being confronted with a man whose hand has become paralyzed. According to tradition, this man was an ordinary mason or bricklayer who had become helpless by the loss of his hand. Such was not caused by birth, but was the result of an accident or disease. St. Luke, the beloved physician, and known for his splendid details, mentions that it was his right hand which had withered and wilted away.
Now in this helpless and hopeless predicament, with his hand dying and wasting away, he cries out for assistance. Jesus comes to his rescue with these challenging and comforting words: “Stand forth…Stretch forth thine hand” (Mark 3:3, 5). Here once again we find the crusading Christ, the untiring Worker, the Master Mender, coming to the rescue of someone who was in desperate need of His help. This was always like Christ. He never failed in helping people. He took an interest in and got involved with people and their problems. No problem is too great for Him to solve. And this same Christ wants to help you.
Suppose we focus our attention for the next few moments on this man with the withered hand, and find out what spiritual truth is in this story for us.
For one thing, think of the REALITY that had gone out of this man's life. We read about it in the words of verse 1: “There was a man there which had a withered hand.” The NIV renders it this way: “and a man with a shriveled hand was there." The NLT describes it as a "deformed hand."
Is it not true to say, that the hand is the symbol of usefulness? The hand directed by the brain will chiefly determine how this life will be lived. Think of it - this device, the human hand, packed full of bones, eight in the wrist, five in the palm, fourteen in the fingers, has enabled man to construct his civilization and create . . .