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Mark 027 - Guilty as Charged



Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.


Mark 3:4-6


When it comes to hating confrontation, I’m guilty as charged. I’m not sure anyone really likes it. Some people seem to thrive on it, but not me. I’ve had my lifetime supply of confrontation, yelling, screaming, and tension filled silence. Thank you very much. My homelife was not quiet, but loud. Noisy, aggressive, accusing, shaming. For the people that know me, this explains a lot.


Remember the last time you were in an uncomfortable situation? The silence and tension were so thick you could cut it with a knife. Everyone is uneasy, looking down or away from everyone else. They fold their arms, put their hands in their pockets, shuffle their feet. No one is talking. And then someone finally breaks the silence. It’s like the sound of a mirror crashing to the floor, shattering into a million pieces.


When Jesus breaks the silence, he’s clearly angry. There are three kinds of anger – which one best describes his anger?


· Sudden outburst of anger that cools off quickly.

· Sense of exasperation.

· Settled anger coming from the wrong that’s been witnessed


Jesus didn’t blow up. He didn’t lose his cool. Jesus shows his “settled” anger here because his heart was saddened by their hardness of heart.


Their hearts were like being thickly covered with a callus, making them dull, unable to feel. They couldn’t feel compassion or anything else for this guy with a shriveled hand. You don’t get a hard heart overnight. It comes from ignoring the suffering of people for a long time. But it’s more than being passive, it’s also actively and intentionally doing things to harm people over time.


Rather than smack them, Jesus asks an insightful question. Should you do good or evil? He moves them beyond theory and into daily living. There are only two choices: to save a life or destroy, to heal or to kill.


And when you come down to it, those two options apply to all of life. Are the words I’m about to say good or evil? Will they build up or tear down? Will they save or destroy?


Jesus asks a question and does what every good question requires. Silence. He’s quiet and waits. And waits. And waits. As they are silent, Jesus looks around the room. I’m sure that his stare cut into them, embarrassing them, but it didn’t change their heart.


Turning from his anger and disappointment at these so called spiritual leaders and giants, he looks at the guy. The guy who’s only qualification is that his hand is shriveled. No training, no advanced degrees, no ministry website. Only a need that can’t be hidden


Jesus gives a command to the guy to stretch out his withered hand. Not someone else’s hand, or somebody else’s problem. His problem. His hand. In obedience, the guy is forced to expose what he normally might try to hide because of shame.


Low and behold - it’s healed! And instead of praising God, thanking Jesus, or celebrating with the healed guy, what do the Pharisees do? They storm out of the Synagogue and start planning how to kill Jesus.


There are times in our lives when Jesus wants us to extend our “withered hand” for his healing. Sometimes we have to expose our weakness, our frailty, the thing that we want to hide so desperately. And yet, holding out our “withered hand” can be the first step towards healing.


What’s the “withered hand” that Jesus wants you to stretch out before him? What’s the “withered hand” that you’ve been hiding for so long? Could it be that Jesus wants to use your “withered hand” in a significant way? As odd as it may sound, your “withered hand” may be the key for the rest of your life, and the lives of those around you.


Stretching out our “withered hand” takes faith. It is not some form of showing off, but plain and simple obedience. Period. We should choose to obey God’s calling and direction in our life because of who he is. Not out of guilt, but in loving response to who he is. What he’s done.


Our “withered hand” might just be the thing that transforms a life. Transforms more than our “withered hand” but our entire outlook on life. And not just our life, but the lives of those around us.


Are you willing to say, “Guilty as charged” and stretch out the withered part of your life?

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