Healing The Withered Hand
Mark 3:1 – And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.
Mark 3:2 – And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.
Mark 3:3 – And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.
Mark 3:4 – And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.
Mark 3:5 – And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
Hello readers, we are talking about the man that had a withered hand. I’ve been thinking about “withered” of late. Being withered up doesn’t sound very nice. I don’t want to be withered up. I don’t want to have a withered hand in life. I want my hand to be blessed, to be able to serve God, to be able to honour him, to be able to make a difference, to be able and profitable to others. The fact is, lots of Christians are withered up. I grow vegetables and I work on an orchard, so I’ve seen withered before. I know what withered looks like. When something is withered, it’s dried up, it’s dead. If I don’t water my vegetables in summer, they can wither up and die in the same day, and it’s devastating.
So today we are looking at the story of a man with a withered hand who Jesus healed. He had a real problem. Do you see that you have a problem, a sin problem, a dried up withered problem in your heart and life? Is your power withered? Ability withered? Praise withered? Worship withered? Service withered? Prayer withered? Christianity withered? Life withered? That withered hand was ruining this man’s life. Better believe. Just imagine having a withered hand yourself. Your hand is kinda important in life. It’s what you use to do stuff with. Your hand gives you the ability and power to perform functions. We use our hands for pretty much everything. I’m using my hands to type this blog. If you have a withered up hand, you’re kinda useless. Your ability to do stuff will be greatly compromised. The problem with us is, we are trying to do Christianity, we are trying to serve God, we are trying to do religion with a withered hand.
As you read this, ask God to show if you have a withered hand in life. You may be whole physically, but spiritually is where we all need true healing. We all can easily get withered up, and when we wither up in disobedience and sin, when we are not in water of God’s word, everything we do in life is going to be compromised. We won’t be able to do much if our hand is all dried up.
The Bible speaks about withered in many places. The Bible speaks of the withered fruit of professing Christians who have no spiritual life. Imagine putting out fruit in life, and seeing it all wither up. I’ve seen withered fruit on dried and dead branches. That’s not good fruit at all. In Psalm 1, the Bible speaks of a blessed man who is like a tree planted by the rivers of water… who’s leaf does not wither. The only way you’ll not wither up is if you are planted by the river of God’s word and a true salvation. You’ll be blessed, not withered. Blessed sounds like the kind of life we all want right? Jacob wanted to be blessed by God. He wanted God’s favour, approval and hand in his life. Because when we are right with God, everything else will be alright. Being right with God is the most important thing in life.
I don’t want be withered up, nor have a withered hand in life. So many Christians are withered up. They’re so dry. There’s so much deadness there. No amount of religion can cover for having a withered hand. This bloke was in the middle of religion, but still had his withered hand problem. Why do we stay for so long at religion that has no capacity to help and save?
It all comes down to where we are at with Jesus Christ. Jesus cursed a fig tree one day because he went looking for fruit on it, but there was none on it. It promised fruit, but had none. After Jesus cursed it, the fig tree withered away quickly, and the disciples were astonished. We will quickly wither up when we are cut off from the life source, from the water source. The curse of God is not what we want on our lives, it’ll wither us up instantly. You can have everything in life, but be completely withered, ask Solomon. In Ecclesiastes you see a withered man despite all he had and did. Forsaking God was not worth it. He put his hand to a lot of things, but was withered in all he did.
We dry up when we depart from the word of God. The Bible and the Holy Spirit are both likened to water, living water. It is significant, because God’s word and the Holy Spirit are one, just as Jesus is one with his Father, God. But when you get cut off from the water source, you’ll dry up quickly and you’ll wither away in life. So many Christians have a withered hand in life. They left the Bible, or they weren’t truly saved. And as life went along, they dried up. Everything they do in life is dry and dead and withered. To not be withered up, we must get to the water source and put our roots down in it. We need the water of life that Jesus only can give, and we need to abide there. When we disobey God’s word, when we depart from his light, his faith, his truth… we get withered up.
Our hand relates to our doing, our deeds in life. Imagine your work in life being all dead and dried up. That’s the best we have to offer God. In the synagogue, that’s all this crowd had. Withered up religion. They should’ve learnt from this miracle, Jesus could put the water of truth and life into their worship and service to God. We need God to put the Holy Spirit into our doing in life. Otherwise it’ll all be dried up, be it work, sport, play… whatever. When you put your hand to something, it means you do something. Is God in all your doing of life? Because you could do a whole heap in life, but it all be withered up and dry and dead.
In the book of John, Jesus said he is the vine, and we are the branches. If you are a branch, and you are cut off from the vine, what’s going to happen? You’re going to wither up and die. Because when a branch is disconnected from the life source, it dies. There is no sap, no energy, no water flowing through it. It is cut off, and it withers up and dies. When I prune fruit trees, the branch I cut off dies very quickly. It’s cut off from the life source, and it becomes very dry and dead. It’s only good for one thing, burning. Maybe that’s all your life will be good for in the end. Being gathered together with other dead sticks and being chucked in the fire. That’s what God is going to send his angels to do at the end of the world. He’s going to gather up and bundle all the dead sticks.
We need the life source of God in us and flowing through us. We need to be in the vine. We need to be in Christ. We need to be lead by him. We need his life in us and flowing through us. Religion can’t offer you the life. Doing this and doing that with no spiritual life… that is all withered up. Look at where this man with the withered hand was. He was in the synagogue. In churches today is where you find lots of withered hands, withered fruit, withered Christians. They’ve left faith, they’ve left the Bible, there’s no new birth, and it’s dry and barren and dead. We have got to watch the trap of just doing Christianity in the flesh, rather than living on the faith and grace of God, the life and leading of his Holy Spirit, in step with him through his word.
What’s amazing when you think about it is that the people in the synagogue didn’t want the man with the withered hand healed. They didn’t want what was best for him. They only wanted to accuse Jesus and find fault in him. They didn’t rejoice when he was healed. That’s actually incredible. You know who the biggest opponents to your salvation will be? Fake Christians. Religious people. They don’t want to see you healed. It’ll endanger their religion. Your salvation will show them up as fake, dead and withered. They’d much rather you live a withered life. People like you being on their level, they don’t want someone to believe Jesus Christ and obey him.
For all the religion they had in this synagogue. They had no healing power. All their do’s and don’ts and traditions had no capacity to help the man with the withered hand. Religion has no capacity to fix you. Man can’t fix you. Trying better can fix you or improve you. He couldn’t improve his hand no matter how much religion he did. Only Jesus Christ can fix you. Only Jesus can heal you. Oh and yes, you can be this religious crowd. This religious crowd in the synagogue would’ve killed you if you said they were fakes. They said they worshiped and served God. They were more holy than Jesus Christ according to them. Jesus was the evil sinner, they were the children of Abraham. They were zealous for what they thought was right and truth. But they were dead in their sin. And they hated Jesus Christ. There are a lot of people doing religion today, calling themselves Christians, who oppose Jesus Christ vehemently. They are quick to find fault in Jesus. They accused him, they will accuse you.
They didn’t understand the scripture. They had no grasp on what the sabbath day meant. Isn’t it lawful to do good on the sabbath? You’d pull your ox out if he’d fallen into a ditch on the sabbath. Wouldn’t you? If someone is dying on the sabbath, you’d take him to a doctor wouldn’t you? You can be religious and not know Jesus Christ at all. They had no idea who he was. They couldn’t see him for all the religion they had. So often we are so used to doing Christianity, but we’ve never walked by faith, we’ve never been born again, we’re not Holy Spirit led. We are just going through motions, there is no spiritual reality to it at all, we’re just doing what we’re supposed to do because that’s what we do.
People have a problem with truth. They were waiting for Jesus to heal the man, so they could accuse him of law breaking. It’s amazing how people who are morally bankrupt are so quick to make moral judgments about Jesus Christ. They find fault in Christ, when the only fault is in them. I always see so much moral opinion and moral judgment on Jesus from people who have zero basis for their morality. They’re quick to elevate themselves and their righteousness above God’s. They think they’re better than God. It’s amazing. Jesus was sinless, and Jesus was the one who truly cared. This man was around people who didn’t truly care for him. Neither could they or would they help him. They were using him to get at Jesus. So often we are around people who don’t truly care for us. Yet we put our membership there anyway. Imagine this guy being in the synagogue, and they didn’t want to see him healed.
Hey Jesus, don’t upset what we think, believe and do. Don’t ruin my perfect little life. So many people wanted Jesus to get going… why? Because he stirred up their perfect little religious world. They didn’t want to see a moving and work of God. It isn’t welcome in most churches. They like their dead church. They don’t want the boat rocked or their beliefs challenged. For most people, they talk about revival, but they don’t want it.
Imagine a life where everything you do is withered up. You’ve got a withered hand. Everything you’re doing in life is dried up and dead. There’s no Holy Spirit in your life. There’s no water. It’s soulless religious grind. People have pleasure, but it doesn’t satisfy. There’s still no water in all the world has to offer. That woman at the well had gone through husbands, but that hadn’t fulfilled her or made her whole. She’d been looking for fulfillment and purpose and life in men, but only Jesus can restore you and make you whole and complete and give your life water. Imagine having water in all you say and do. Imagine working a job and having water there. Imagine your life counting and being fulfilled. However, many Christians have a withered hand. There’s no life and power in what they do, in their ministry, in whatever they put their hand to. They need to get back to God’s word and obey it, that’s what this man did.
Jesus told this man to stretch his hand out. Maybe he had his ugly withered up hand hidden. It can’t have looked too good. We gotta see our dry, dead life for what it is… rather than covering for it. Rather than trying to make it less dry and dead in religion. When we own it and call it for what it is, we are in a position for Christ to heal it. In stretching it out his hand there was an acknowledgement and ownership of the problem that he had. He believed Jesus, and obeyed Jesus. See, often we talk about believing, but there is no evidence in our belief of what we actually do. True belief is verified by action. If he didn’t believe Christ, he wouldn’t have stretched it out.
Until you can see you’ve got a withered up problem, you won’t get fixed. Until you can get over what other people think, you won’t be healed. There was a cost to this man doing this. He was identifying with Jesus. He was saying, you guys can’t help me or save me, I’m going to believe Jesus. To be healed by Jesus was to alienate yourself from the synagogue. They all had in common that they hated Jesus. I can’t imagine he hated Jesus after Jesus changed his life and put water and hydration in that which was dried up, shriveled, shrunk and dead. In fixing his hand, Jesus gave him ability and power. You have ability and power when you get saved. That hand could be put to the work of the Lord, to honouring him and glorifying him. Imagine looking down at your hand every day thereafter and it being a testament to the rejected man who healed you. This man was healed, and he knew where the real power was. Jesus has the real power, his word is with power. Because he obeyed his word, he got healed. That old word still is where the water is.
This man with the withered hand would find restoration in obeying the word of God. All he had to do was believe and obey. It was Jesus that healed it. We don’t need to try and do it in the energy of our flesh, the gospel of Jesus Christ is the POWER of God unto salvation unto every one that believeth. Stretch it forth he was told, and stretch it forth he did. He didn’t say nah, actually my hand is fine. He didn’t say, can’t you heal it another way, in a less public way? He didn’t say wait for the sabbath to be over. I need to tick my religious box too. So many people want to have a bit of Jesus and a bit of their religious rubbish. But until you’re ready to forsake all that stuff and trust God entirely, you’re not ready to be saved. Don’t put off what you should do today. Oh Jesus, can you heal me tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes. Today is the day. It was a good thing that happened. Salvation, redemption, healing, restoration… they’re good things right? God’s for us. Moses said choose life. Choose life!
Are you ready to forsake your affiliation and membership of fake religion and receive life yet? See, in stretching forth his hand, he was aligning himself with Jesus Christ. For the whole mob that was there, only he would get the blessing. Imagine if he said Jesus can you heal someone else first. Prove you can do it. I’ll wait until someone else is healed so I’m not alone. Don’t wait for others to believe, they may never. This man believed and obeyed. He knew the religious guys hated Jesus. But this guy wanted to be healed, and who cares what everyone else sees and thinks. There’s a big crowd in that synagogue, but only one man got healed. Everyone needed healing, but only one got healed. Everyone could see his withered hand, but they couldn’t see their own hard hearts. Which, by the way, is a far harder fix. God can easily heal you, but the hard part is getting through that stony heart of unbelief. See, their problem was hidden, but not hidden from God. Often it’s pretty ugly inside, even while we pride ourselves on how good we are. Inside that religion is often a hard little Christ rejecting self justifying heart.
When you’re not in the word of God, when you are not born again, when you don’t have the water of life from God in you, you’re all dried up. You’ve got a withered hand problem. Everything you do in life is withered. Everything you have to offer is withered. Your job is withered. Your marriage is withered. Your occupation is withered. Your thoughts are withered. Your imaginations are withered. Think about Joseph. Genesis 39:3 – “And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.” He didn’t have a withered hand in life, even though the circumstances he was in were so hard. It’s not the circumstances and situations that are withered, it’s whether you have real salvation or not. God made Joseph prosper even though he was a slave and a prisoner? Whatever he did, he prospered. God’s hand was upon his life, and thus whatever he put his hand to was blessed. That’s why Potiphar put him over his house, so did the keeper of the prison. People know if you’ve got a withered hand or not. It’s not about our situation, it’s about our spiritual state. Joseph was right with God. God was with him. Are you right with God? Is God with you in life in whatever you put your hand to? It wasn’t a withered hand that penned Paul’s letters from prison. It was a hand that extended truth, grace, mercy, forgiveness, light, comfort and blessing.
Jesus said in John 7:38 – “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” He was speaking of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. That doesn’t sound very withered up. If you repented of your sin, if you believed on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation from sin, you got the Holy Spirit. And when you are lead by him, that won’t be a dry, withered up life. God stretches his hand out to us all today. So we don’t have be all withered up. You don’t have to have a withered hand in everything you do in life. So many people, everything they say, think and do, it’s all withered. God’s not in it, there’s no life and light in it, there’s no water in it. It’s dry and dead. It doesn’t have to be that way.
The Bible says in Isaiah 40:8 – “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” The word of God doesn’t wither, but stands forever. So get in God’s word, believe on it, base your life on it… and there’ll be no withered hand. Do what you do based on God’s word, and it won’t be withered. We need to get in the word of God. We need to believe it. We need to stake our life on it. It’s where the life, the light, and the water is. It’s the only way you will not wither away. Our life needs to be seeded by, rooted in and founded on the word of God.
Jesus spoke in his first parable about the sower and the seed. The seed that fell on stony ground sprang up, but it had no depth of earth, and when the sun came up, it withered away. In the heat, in the furnace of life… are you just going to wither away? What happens when the heat comes on us? Many Christians wither away because there is no depth there. That seed never found good, deep, Holy Ghost prepared soil in their heart. Stony places aren’t good places for seed. Remember, it was a hard hearted crowd that was in the synagogue that day. That synagogue was a stony place wasn’t it.
It’s not a crime to have a withered hand. The man didn’t get too much say in it did he. He needed help, and he’s in the synagogue, and can’t be helped by their rules and traditions and self righteousness and condemnation. Jesus goes into the synagogue and goes to the bloke that needs help. The rest didn’t seem to have a problem, they didn’t need Jesus. Oh but they did have a problem, but they couldn’t see it. It was only the man with the withered hand that would believe and obey him and experience healing and restoration. So when I said it’s not so much a crime to be a sinner, we were all born that way. You and I didn’t get much of a choice in that. But the crime today is that when we did know we were sinners, and when we knew God provided his Son for us so that we could be saved… we then refused him. Instead of stretching out our hand, we knocked him back. We didn’t reach for him in obedience, we didn’t take salvation offered as a free gift because of his grace, love and mercy. Rejecting Jesus Christ is the sin that will send you to hell. It’s all about what you do with that withered hand. We all have withered up problems. But someone’s in the house, unwelcome in religion, the stone refused by the builders, but who can heal that withered hand, the Lord come to seek and save the lost. Jesus’ very name means “he shall save his people from their sins”. We are all withered up without Christ, apart from God. We all need the water of life that will give us life and sustain us forever, so we will never wither up. We all have a sin problem, we all need salvation. We all need Jesus.
Withered Christians have a withered hand. They can’t help others. Their life is all withered up. What they do is withered. You can even be in the ministry and be all withered up. It doesn’t have to be so. Wherever God has placed you, you don’t need to have a withered hand in it. If God is in you, dwelling in your heart by faith, that’ll flow into everything you do in life. God in your life, the Holy Spirit in it… makes a big, big difference. As already stated, Joseph was able to be a blessing, be profitable, be a witness and testimony to God as a slave and a prisoner. So we have no excuse. You can do life with the life of God in you. Abide in his word, set your roots down in his word, and the word of God and the Holy Spirit will be a stream of water in you and flowing from you into everything you say and do in this world. You don’t have to have a withered hand. Jesus healed this man’s withered hand. He had the power to heal, and he will heal you today. Your life can count, it can be with power, it can make a difference, it can have meaning, fulfillment and purpose and be pleasing to God. Nothing withered in that. What a miracle it was, and it can be yours today. Healing the withered hand? Get in the Bible, get the water of life, Jesus will heal your withered hand.
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Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 32 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)
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