Mark 3 v 1 - 6

It all sounds like a set-up and Jesus can do nothing else but heal the man with the paralysed hand. It is essential for us to recognise that, with Jesus, compassion was at the centre of His heart and His actions.

Here we see the deep cynicism of the Jewish religious leaders. That, any supposedly pious group of people can put all their concentration on bringing about a situation which will see a man, a good man, arrested and killed, demonstrates what a dark path the cynical can take to the point where nothing is pure, nothing is attractive, nothing is good-the opposite of what Paul encouraged the Philippian church to set their minds on- Philippians 4 v 8!

This was a crucial incident in the life of Jesus. He bravely returned to the synagogue, He continued to heal knowing what it would bring upon Him and so it brought to a head the great gulf between what Jesus proclaimed- the religion springing from the heart with what the Pharisees declared- the external rituals of the Law. One's heart could be as black as black, but as long as the outside, external demonstrated obedience to God, all was fine!

To Jesus, the most important thing was not the correct performance of a ritual, but the spontaneous answer of the cry of human need.

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