And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.
“THEY WATCHED HIM” not to see what he could do or would do, not to see if he had a good or bad spirit. Nay! They watched him because they were jealous of him. They were jealous of him because he was anointed of God- because God’s favor was upon him. Just as Cain had been jealous of Abel, so these were jealous of Jesus.
HE DID NOT FIT their preset standards of what they taught for what was and was not acceptable to God. He had not received their permission nor their authority to be anointed of God. Yet clearly and undeniably, God was blessing and honoring this man called Jesus. God was with him. God heard and openly answered his every prayer. His words were bread to the hungry and water to the thirsty. His face was as the face of an angel.
AND SO WITH JEALOUS HEARTS they looked on- unable to duplicate his effect he had on the people. They watched him now. They had to somehow publicly prove this man a heretic and so break the sway over the people.
And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. 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.
THE LORD JESUS CHRIST humbled himself before their authority and attempted to reason with them and to assuage their unbelief and anxiety; “You leaders and scholars of God’s law, which teach and preach to keep the law, answer me, is it okay to do good on the Sabbath day? To help rescue someone in need and to show compassion?” But they would not even answer him. What could they say? “No, it is not okay to do good but you must sit all day like a dead stone until the day be through?”
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.
CAN YOU ENVISION IT? This man whose hand had been unusable, withered, twisted and crippled- in the twinkling of a moment it was completely healed and made a normal hand.
OH FOR JOY! Oh the unspeakable GOODNESS and COMPASSION of God. Let us all rejoice and PRAISE our God, who bowed down his ear from the heavens at the cry of this poor man and was moved with compassion to HEAL him. Who is like our God?
DO YOU HEAR THE LEADERS praising, their hearts melting at the sweet loving mercy of their God on this poor sufferer? These men that set forth his statues to the people and were entrusted as leaders to watch over the flock of God- can you not see them leaping for joy and shouting out the praise of His name for visiting them in such a beautiful and wonderful way?
NAY! Look on and wonder:
And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.
Their hearts were hard and cold as stone.
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, (Romans 1: 21-22)