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CENTRAL CHRISTIAN, BROWNSVILLE, TX
ILL. There is no need for me to tell you that during the past few months our nation has been embroiled in bitter controversy. We have heard terrible allegations & angry words, & experienced the frustration of trying to determine the truth.
But if the polls are correct, there is an even deeper frustration present today. It is a frustration with our leaders, a feeling that some of them are more concerned about themselves, about maintaining their power & their privileges, than they are about serving the people of our nation.
A. But this is nothing new. There have been leaders like this in every age & every nation. Jesus faced them back in the N.T. days. Listen as I read from the 2nd & 3rd chapters of the Gospel of Mark. (READ Mark 2:23-24 & 3:1-6)
APPL. Now most of us, at one time or another, have had the experience of having a member of our body become temporarily useless because of some injury. And we have suddenly discovered how dependent we are upon that particular member of the body.
ILL. Thirty years ago my left elbow was shattered in an accident. For 4 months my left arm was practically useless. I found it almost impossible to button buttons or to tie shoelaces. I never realized how much I depended upon my left arm until that accident occurred.
The man that Mark tells us about was handicapped. His hand was shriveled & useless. Was he born that way? Or did something happen that caused his hand to shrivel? We donít know. All we know is that it was a long-standing handicap for which there was no chance for any improvement or healing.
In that day people who were handicapped had little reason for hope. So you can imagine their excitement when they heard about Jesus. How quickly the message must have traveled from village to village, "Here is a man who can actually heal shriveled hands & blind eyes."
Suddenly, the hopeless had hope. They sought out Jesus wherever He went, & His popularity grew & grew until great crowds were following Him everywhere. Many were following Him simply because He could heal them, or feed them, meeting their physical needs.
But that wasnít why Jesus had come. Jesus came to "seek & save the lost." Jesus knew their deepest needs, & sometimes He met them in a very direct way.
B. You see, when Jesus walked into the synagogue, He saw not only a man with a shriveled hand, but He also saw a group of Pharisees who were watching Him, & waiting for the opportunity to condemn Him for healing on the Sabbath.
So Jesus asks the Pharisees a very direct question. "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" These Pharisees knew the answer to that question. But they didnít answer it.
Jesus knew what was in their hearts, & in vs. 5 it says, "He looked around at them in anger, . . .deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts." He knew that they werenít concerned about the man with the shriveled hand. So Jesus said, "Stretch out your hand." When the man did, it was instantly healed.
There was great rejoicing in that room. This man who had been handicapped was whole. This hand could now button buttons, tie shoes, & do all the things which you & I do without ever giving it a second thought. So there was great rejoicing
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