“Again He entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. And they watched Jesus, to see whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. And He said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Come here.’ And He said to them, ‘Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?’ But they were silent. And He looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against Him, how to destroy Him.” (Mark 3:1-6 ESV)
How odd it must have been for the man in this story! I doubt he expected Jesus to go toe-to-toe with the Pharisees in the middle of the synagogue, just to heal his withered hand. After all, who was he? Nobody special. Just an ordinary man with a disability. And not something that was getting rapidly worse—this was a problem he had had for years, most likely. What was the hurry?
And yet, to Jesus, there was every reason to hurry. He looked at this man and He loved him—one of God’s people—someone Jesus had come into this world to love and to save through His own death and resurrection. This man was suffering when he didn’t have to. Jesus could change that, on that day, right then and there—and He did. And as a result, His enemies went out to plot how to put Him to death.
Our suffering matters to God—matters intensely to Him. Some of it He ends quickly. Some He allows to continue though we don’t know the reason why. But whatever happens to us, we can be sure that God is with us in our suffering, and that He has laid down His own life to bring us through it—and out the other side, into His kingdom.
Prayer: Lord, when I suffer, help me to trust that You love and care for me. Amen.
* How do you think the man felt after the uproar of his healing?
* Are you suffering now? In what ways?
* How do you relate to God when you are suffering?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.