Wait Upon The Lord, for He is faithful.
“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. 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. 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. And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.” Mark 3:1-6
The Pharisees were trying to catch Jesus breaking the law of keeping the Sabbath in that they had made everything into work, and since it would be work to do anything, Jesus could not perform miracles on the Sabbath. In their eyes, this would mean that He was breaking the command of God, and therefore making Himself equal to or greater then God, which was punishable by death, which is exactly the outcome they were hoping for, so that they could maintain their positions over the people. This event is covered in three of the four gospels.
In the gospel according to Matthew (12:10), it is recorded that the Pharisees asked of Jesus whether it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath, since they had just argued with Him about the disciples taking from the fields to eat, therefore harvesting, which was work by their own rules. They were trying to entrap Him by His own Words.
In the gospel according to Luke (6:8), it is recorded that He knew their thoughts concerning this, as they waited for Him to heal, that they might accuse Him, and so He asked them according to their thoughts whether it was lawful or not before He did this miracle.
Here, in the gospel according to John, it is recorded that He simply asks them and they kept their silence. So, looking at the three as one (how interesting is that?), we can understand that Jesus is the all encompassing God.
Whether they asked Him the question, or simply thought it, it was by the law they themselves had created based on their limited understanding of the Law which God had given them. Being God, He would address it in all of these ways. He knows every thought, and every intent behind every question. He properly addressed the question in every account of the three, even being the One to ask it, showing us that He is the all knowing God. They well could have thought it, with vile intent, asking it outwardly with the appearance of godliness, only that Jesus would repeat their very question back at them, with perfect tone that would silence them altogether.
What is also impressive, and what was apparently overlooked by the Pharisees, and many who read the Bible this very day, is that Jesus did not lay a hand on the man with the withered hand. He didn’t even touch him. In all three accounts, Jesus first gave the man the command to stand, or come forth. Then, He briefly addressed the Pharisees on the subject, pausing amidst the performing of the miracle. Then, He gave the command to stretch out that right hand and, upon the man doing so, his hand was made whole like the left one. The fact that they were in the synagogue, the teaching place of God, and that the miracle was performed without hands should have shown them, and should show us, that God performed it, and since they knew it was Jesus to Whom they attributed this miracle, they should have been able to see that Jesus was indeed God.
For us who believe, there is another important factor to consider. Notice the pause. God does the work of convincing those around us. He demonstrates Himself to believer and unbeliever alike through our testimony. He tells us where we are heading, but He does not take us there overnight. He starts us on the journey upon acceptance of Him, and He carries us through this life the entire way even when it isn’t apparent. It is God, through the administration of the Holy Spirit, with hands unseen, that does the work of change within us and through us. He asks us first to stand. Then, He does the changes. He makes us new. He heals the parts of us that are wounded and destroyed, but He does it in His own timing, because the healing will bring glory to Him, and prove Himself to those with open eyes and open ears.
So it was with that right hand. Jesus asked the man to stand up, which he did. Then, Jesus testified of the character of God, and how God’s ways are higher than man’s ways. He did this in asking the question, and answering it (Matthew). He took just a moment of time to teach of the glory and character of God. No matter how long the pause between the Promise and the fulfillment thereof, we must remember the God Whom we serve. We must continue to stand, as He commands us to, and serve obediently in the place He has us, never wavering, waiting upon Him. Then, and only then, would He give the next command, which was to stretch out a hand which was previously withered. It is only when the timing is perfect and God will be glorified in the performance of that Promise that the Promise will be fulfilled.
Some of God’s greatest servants waited years, even decades, for the fulfillment of His Promises. This man only waited a few moments. Yet, no matter how long we must wait, we must hold fast and remember that the God Whom we serve is faithful. The wait will be for His glory, and it will be well worth it in the end.
To God, Who is all knowing, all encompassing, and our all in all, praise, honor, and glory. May we all have the patience to wait for Your very best, and bring glory to Your holy Name as we wait upon You, the Lord of lords, the King of kings, and the perfect Prince of peace. In Your holy Name, Jesus, Amen.