And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand. So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. And He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward.” Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent. And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch forth your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.
What is the problem with religion without Christ in it? Could it be that religious people care about their religion but not about the needs of people? Look at verse 5 again. What was it that “grieved” Jesus? Doesn’t it say that it was the hardness of their heart.
If there is one aspect of Jesus that we see repeatedly, it was His care for people and their needs. When He looked on the multitudes, He saw them as sheep without a shepherd. When He saw the sick, the lame, the blind, etc., He met their needs where they were without prejudice or the hope of payment from them.
When Jesus saw the man with the withered hand, He knew He was being spied on by “religious.” The religious said you can’t heal the man on the Sabbath, yet He called the man out and said, “Step forward.” We don’t know what caused the man’s hand to “wither,” but from just a casual reading of the text we know that it had become useless to him. When Jesus to him, “Stretch forth your hand,” He was instructing the man to do something that he could not naturally do, but he obeyed and immediately the man’s hand was restored to health as the other.
Our prayer should be, “Lord, help me to never become so religious that I am no longer Christian. Help me to always be as my Lord is. Amen.