Summary: Today, we are going to look at a passage that involves Jesus healing a man from a hindrance. It was of course much more than just removing a restraint, but a miracle by the Master Healer.


MARK 3:1-6

INTRODUCTION… Survivorman TV Show

I started watching a show the other day that I found a little fascinating and a little bizarre at the same time. I think it comes on the Discovery Science Channel. I asked Kelly if she remembered what the fellow’s name was and she said, ‘stupid.’ His name is actually Les. The name of the show is ‘Survivorman’ and the premise of the show is that this survival expert maroons himself in different places for a week or so and has to survive by his wits and skills. He has marooned himself out at sea and in jungles and in all sorts of out of the way places. The one show I remember took place in Alaska (I think) and he simulated a plane crash. He had plane wreckage brought to a remote site and had to survive a week and hike out of the wilderness alive. To simulate a plane crash, he also bound one of his arms as though he had been wounded in the crash. He tried to make a shelter with only one arm. He tried to collect fire wood with one arm. He tried to catch a rabbit with one arm. After about two days of trying to survive with one arm, he removed his restraint and the rest of the show he had use of both his arms. He admitted that survival with extreme injuries and such a hindrance is highly impossible.

To be honest, I think living life with such a hindrance would be a great challenge. Today, we are going to look at a passage that involves Jesus healing a man from a hindrance. It was of course much more than just removing a restraint, but a miracle by the Master Healer. Let’s read.


I. THE SITUATION (verses 1-2)

The setting and situation of this particular miracle of Jesus is not a complicated one. Jesus was in the synagogue on the Sabbath. Makes sense for Jesus to be in the synagogue on the Sabbath. Actually, it makes sense for us as well doesn’t it; where else should someone who believes in God be on God’s Day other than in God’s House? There were people there in the synagogue that were watching Him and looking for a way to accuse Him. These critics were always listening as He preached and taught and had even seen some of His miracles. The Gospel of Luke (6:7) describes these people as waiting for Jesus to heal on the Sabbath so that they could accuse Him. Jesus was always doing things and saying things that the Pharisees and Sadducees thought were inappropriate. These people knew Jesus’ proclivity for doing good and healing. It was just a matter of time before Jesus would trip up and heal this man!

If you had been in attendance on this day of worship, you would have seen (Mark 3:1) that a man with a shriveled hand was in the synagogue. Luke (6:6) tells us that it was his right hand. The word used here is one that tells us that his hand was rigid, withered, paralyzed and was unable to be used. Given that most of us are right handed, I hope you can imagine what an absolute hindrance this must have been for this man. He had no use of this very useful hand. In addition, most people only have two hands… so it creates quite a handicap if one hand cannot be used.

So, the situation involves three different players:

(1) Jesus (the healer)

(2) The man with the shriveled hand (the bystander and bait)

(3) Pharisees (the critics)


Jesus is in the midst of this tense situation and does three very important things.

First, Jesus has the man with the withered hand stand in the middle of all the people. Why did Jesus do this? Was He trying to embarrass this man who already probably had some embarrassing feelings or issues? What was the purpose of calling this man into the midst of all of them? I think Jesus wanted everyone to get a good look at this man so that there would be no questions about the legitimacy of what He was about to do. This man really did have a handicap and it was not faked in any way.

Second, Jesus questions the critical Pharisees that are sitting there. Jesus asks (verse 4), “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” I can imagine a long pause after this question was given because the next verse tells us (Mark 3:5), “He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts…” They didn’t even answer Him. The reason was because the Pharisees were utterly sinful in what they were trying to do. They could not say that it was lawful to do evil or kill because the law forbids these things at all time. In addition, it sounds utterly brainless to say that doing good and saving lives are ever against the law. In fact, the Apostle Paul would later write to the Galatians and tells them (5:22-23), “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” God never forbids us from doing the good and loving thing.

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