Thought for the Day – 8th July 2020
Transformed – Mark 3: 1-5
“Jesus entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. The Pharisees watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, ‘Come forward.’ Then he said to them, ‘Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?’ But they were silent. He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.”
Because the man’s hand and arm were ‘shrivelled’, it probably meant he could not earn his own living. Without a welfare state, this would have made him and his family homeless beggars. Yet some of his heartless neighbours saw him only as bait to trap Jesus into breaking one of their petty religious rules. Jesus could see how much sadness and loss this man’s disability had caused, but what deeply distressed him were the cold uncaring faces surrounding him. Why do we, who love God, so often criticise others? We disapprove of the Sunday sermon, complain about loud worship music and grumble about disruptive children, we complain if things are not done to our liking and lose patience if we have to wait too long in a queue. Do you think Jesus would feel sad at the way we behave towards others? I believe he would.
I love this story because it shows just how much Jesus understands the difficulties of disablement. People don’t always understand how strokes, falls, arthritis and many other diseases can rob us of so many good things. Jesus cared more about this man’s problems than about his own reputation, and he cares about our problems too.
Lord, help us not to criticise others who are less able than ourselves, and through our love of them, help us to show them your unconditional love. Amen.