Grasping For The Gospel

Withered HandMark: According to

Part 16 Mark 3:1-6

Twice previously we have talked about miracles of Christ that were performed on the Sabbath. The first was the healing of the man with an unclean spirit (Mark 1:21-28; Mark According to, part 8). In that study, we learned that the healing of this man with the unclean spirit was actually an attempt by Satan to cause the people to rise up against Jesus. The unclean spirit literally called Jesus the “Holy One of God.”

In the third Sabbath miracle, Jesus healed the mother-in-law of Peter who was suffering from a fever (see Mark 1:29-31; Mark: According to, part 9). In this Sabbath miracle, Jesus restored to life Peter’s mother-in-law that had become inflamed with a fever. Those that have been infected by sin should receive care and healing by Christ’s followers on the Sabbath.

The last two posts have dealt with the problem of traditions and how traditions get in the way of the true gospel message. You cannot put the pure teachings of the gospel in a wine sack that has already been used, because the bacteria and contaminates that are now housed in the lining of the sack will contaminate anything which is placed within the sack. In the case of the gospel message it would ruin the fruit of the spirit.

“And he entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2 So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him (Mark 3:1, 2).

I have often wondered if the event just described in Mark 2:23-28 happened on the way to Jesus attending the Synagogue. It would make sense and certainly give the Pharisees and other religious leaders more reason to monitor the actions of Jesus.

Jesus, upon seeing this man with the withered hand, asked him to step forward. But before he healed the man he asked of the religious leaders, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill” (Mark 3:4)?

What a perfect opportunity for the scribes, Pharisees and other religious leaders to point out the merits of doing well. After all, it was a teaching of theirs that a failure to do good, when one had opportunity, was to do evil; to neglect to save life was to kill.

Jesus met the leaders of the people on their own ground using their own teachers. There really wasn’t a way for them to answer without actually condoning what Jesus was about to do, and they certainly were not about to aid in the ministry of Jesus.

Verse four ends with these words; “But they kept silent.”

Mark 3:5 states: “And when He looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts.” How sad, that the very people sent to give to the world a glimpse of God failed to see their roll and thus gave the character of God a black eye. But Jesus came, to show us the character of God, and to show us what the true work of a Christian should be, which is to help others, to relieve as best we can the suffering of our fellow human beings. The hardness of the leader’s hearts caused Jesus to be grieved. Mark really struggles trying to find the words to describe this, except to say, that Jesus was angry. Not the anger that comes when one wants to strike out against another, but rather the anger that comes from being upset when people fail to see and respond when the truth is placed before them.

Yet with compassion he said to the man, “’Stretch out your hand.’ And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.”

My friends, there are those among us both inside and outside the walls of this church that are unable to grasp the beauty of the gospel message until it is shown to them by the acts of love and kindness that are shown to them those that profess to be Christian. Yet within them, there is a measure, a small measure of faith for even though they are unable to grasp the truth they stretch out their hand in faith hoping that Christ’s followers will take compassion upon them.

This man with the withered hand was crippled not from birth but by his own actions, the way he had lived his life. So out of touch was he with the love of Christ that as I mentioned before he was unable to grasp the gospel message. Yet even he knew there was something better. Something much purer than the life that he knew. How many of those around us that we see on a daily bases have left their first love and by the life they have lived have crippled themselves until they no longer are able to grasp the gospel message.

Christ was pointing out that these people are with us constantly, but because of the pressing business within our lives, we do not always have the time to help them grasp the gospel by witnessing to them through personal contact. This is why the Sabbath was created, not only a day set aside from our personal work and cares, but a day set aside to seek out and aid those that are unable to reach out and grasp the gospel on their own. Christ desired to teach us that there is nothing better that we can do but to seek and serve those who are unable to come to the gospel on their own. He showed us and told us that it is through personal contact, that this is best accomplished.

Remember, the Jews believed, “to not help one in need was the same as killing them.” And when we talk about the gospel and spreading the message of the gospel, then what the Jews believed is true, failure to help others is the same as pronouncing a death penalty upon them. So then following this logic, if we then fail to lift a finger to help our fellow brothers and sisters who cannot grasp the gospel on their own, then it is the same as leaving them for dead.

God desires us all to be partakers in the wonderful glory to come when he returns in clouds of glory. He could do the work himself but has chosen us to be of service for him in reaching others for the kingdom. Then my friends, what reason do we have when God has set a full day aside for worship and service for God, that any should not see and hear of the gospel so that they too may grasp the gospel message.


Published by The Bible In Your Hand

Hi, I am Pastor Lester Bentley, a devoted husband, father, and Pastor for the Northeastern Wyoming District of the Rocky Mountain Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. I am committed to the great gospel commission as stated in Matthew 28:19, 20.

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