These are my notes from a sermon series I did through the gospel of Mark. It has not been proofed for spelling or grammatical errors. I present it to you as-is.
Jesus fights for you. He defends you. He is not going to back down because someone opposes Him. He is not going to give up because someone threatens His life. He is not going to give in because someone puts pressure on Him. Jesus is a fighter, a defender, a protector. He is your champion, advocate and backs up you up when no one else will.
Exodus 14:13, But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. 14 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm” (vs.13-14, NLT).
Deuteronomy 1:30, “Don’t be shocked or afraid of them! 30 The Lord your God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt” (NLT).
Deuteronomy 3:22, “Do not be afraid of the nations there, for the Lord your God will fight for you” (NLT).
Deuteronomy 20:3, “Do not be afraid as you go out to fight your enemies today! Do not lose heart or panic or tremble before them. 4 For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!” (NLT).[i]
We have a God who fights for us and we see Him fighting for us in this encounter with the Pharisees. From this we see four incredible and wonderful characteristics of Jesus. Let’s sit back and admire our Lord this morning as we watch Him confront the Pharisees and heal a man with a deformed hand.
The first thing we see is the faithfulness of Jesus. Verse 1 says, “Jesus went into the synagogue again and noticed a man with a deformed hand. 2 Since it was the Sabbath, Jesus’ enemies watched him closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath.” We see the faithfulness of Jesus in two ways.
- First, Jesus was faithful to worship. We are told that “Jesus went into the synagogue again….” It was the Lord’s habit to attend worship services. Regarding Jesus, Luke 4:16 tells us that “as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath” (NASB). Jesus set the example. It is important for you to be with other believers on a regular basis. Worshiping with others, listening to God’s Word with others being taught should be your custom, your habit. It was a priority for Jesus and it should be a priority for you. Hebrews 10:25 echoes this emphasis, “Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (NLT). Have a reputation of being faithful to Jesus and His church.
- Jesus was also faithful to minister. Verse 1 says, “Jesus went into the synagogue again and noticed a man with a deformed hand” (NLT). It is a wonderful thing to be noticed by Jesus. Jesus didn’t just go to church to sing, hang out, and go home. He went to church to bless others. To serve. He saw the man’s “deformed hand.” Jesus didn’t just see and move on. He saw it and was going to do something about it.
Every Sunday we gather together and we bring our own deformities with us. Our emotional deformities, mental deformities, physical deformities and spiritual deformities. Some of it we were born with, some of it others caused, and some of it we did to ourselves. But we are all deformed in some way. Jesus knows this and notices. I think we should notice it as well. We should come to church every week to see who we can bless, encourage, give hope, strength and support to. There is a lesson here with Jesus “noticing a man with a deformed hand.”
Jesus was faithful. He was faithful in showing us a habit we should have and faithful to show us that it is important to notice those around you.
Not only do we see Jesus’ faithfulness, but we also see the courage of Jesus. Mark tells us in verse 2, Since it was the Sabbath, Jesus’ enemies watched him closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath. 3 Jesus said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” 4 Then he turned to his critics and asked, “Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” But they wouldn’t answer him. Let’s break this down.
Mark says, “Since it was the Sabbath, Jesus’ enemies watched him closely.” The reason they are watching Jesus closely is because their last encounter with Him and His disciples dealt with them breaking the Sabbath religious laws of working. They broke at least seven religious laws in the grainfields on the last Sabbath. On top of that, Jesus declared Himself the Lord of the Sabbath. Another way of saying, “I’m God and you are not.” For the Pharisees their blood is already boiling, they are angry at Jesus, irritated with Him for challenging them, and are now looking for ways to trap Him.
They are so caught up in their religious laws that Mark goes on to say, “If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath.” The last encounter Mark tells us about between Jesus and the Pharisees was on a Sabbath as well. Remember, the Sabbath and all the religious laws they had established around it was a big deal to the Pharisees. Their whole religious system revolved around the Sabbath. On the Sabbath previous Jesus and His disciples broke the religious laws by taking some grain from a field and eating it. The Pharisees considered this work and was unlawful. When confronted Jesus challenged them with the Scripture and won the argument. That made the Pharisees more mad.
On this Sabbath they were ready to trap Jesus. There are some who believe that the man with the deformed hand was placed there by the Pharisees. They wanted to draw Jesus into doing a miracle so that He would break their religious laws and they could take action against Him.
Then Mark tells us in verse 3, Jesus said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” Jesus was going to bless this man with a miracle. The man didn’t ask for a miracle or healing, but Jesus decided to do what only God could do. Instantly heal this man’s hand. To make sure the Pharisees and all the others who were present could see it, Jesus asked the man to “stand in front of everyone.” Jesus was not going to back down because of the threat and staring hatred gazes of the Pharisees.
I think sometimes God wants our deformities, our brokenness, our weaknesses and our sins to be seen by others. Once we see them and God heals them we get a glimpse into His power and authority and grace. Was it embarrassing for this man to stand in front of everyone, probably. However, that embarrassment would soon be forgotten when Jesus heals the man’s hand.
Verse 4, Then he turned to his critics and asked, “Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” Even though the Pharisees meant to challenge Jesus, Jesus now challenged them. He put a question to them – with everyone listening; and because it was a question about religious law, everyone would have been looking at the Pharisees to see what answer they would give.
God’s Sabbath law prohibited people from doing their regular work; so they could rest and be refreshed from their labors. But it was never meant by God as a day to allow people to suffer and remain under the burden of need when that need could be met (Isaiah 58:6-7). The Pharisees would have left this poor man in the bondage of need out of a distorted devotion to their own concept of the letter of the law. They would have used the law of God in such a way as to inflict cruelty upon people, not blessings.
Notice their reaction to Jesus, But they wouldn’t answer him. Some translations say they simply kept silent. They didn’t answer Jesus because they felt convicted and ashamed of what they had become and who they viewed others’ needs. It was because they knew that Jesus had them over a barrel. If they said, “It is right to do good and save a life” then they would lose their opportunity to accuse Him. If they said, “It is right to do evil and destroy a life” (which, by the way, was exactly what they were preparing to do) then they would have looked like monsters in front of the people. So, they said nothing. It wasn’t out of wisdom that they kept their peace. It was out of wickedness.
Jesus went to the synagogue that day knowing His enemies were waiting for Him. That took courage. Jesus confronted the Pharisees on behalf of the deformed man. That took courage. Jesus knew that His actions that day would be costly and that took courage. Jesus was doing this to display who He was and fight for that man with the deformed hand and for everyone like Him, like you and me.
This takes us to number three, the anger of Jesus. Notice the reaction and emotion of Jesus toward all this. Verse 5 says, He looked around at them angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts. This shows us the compassion and grief of Jesus. It is not very often that we read in the Scriptures that our Lord expressed anger. But when He did, it was over the mistreatment of people, or over the hypocrisy of religious leaders, or over the dishonor of that which concerned His Father. Here we see that Jesus expressed both “anger” and “sadness” regarding the Pharisees hearts.
Sometimes we think it is a sin to be angry, but that is not true. It is never a sin to be angry over the things we should be angry over. Ephesians 4:26 says, “Don’t sin by letting anger control you” (NLT). Anger is not a sin, but anger can lead you to sinful acts. That’s where you should be careful. However, anger can also lead you to righteous acts. Anger, if used correctly can cause you to stand up for what is right. In this case, that’s what happened with Jesus. His “anger” and “sadness” motivated Him to take action and fight for what is right. He will not let this issue go.
Number four, we also see the compassion of Jesus. Now we see this anger turned into compassion. Mark goes on to say in verse 5, Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! Its like Jesus is saying to the Pharisees, “You care more about your religious rules and religious traditions than you do about people. I care more about people.” Then Jesus turns to the man with the deformed hand and simply says, “Hold out your hand.” Then boom! His hand was “restored!”
The Pharisees were hoping to build their case against Jesus as a religious law breaker and have him removed and arrested. The ironic thing here is that Jesus did not break any actual religious laws. He did not do any real work. He simply said the words, “Hold out your hand.”
This encounter concludes with verse 6 saying, At once the Pharisees went away and met with the supporters of Herod to plot how to kill Jesus. You would think that even the Pharisees would have responded in faith after witnessing a supernatural healing like that. At the very least, they should have paused and praised God for healing this man’s hand. Instead, the anger and fury against Jesus escalated. Luke 6:11 tells us “they were wild with rage” (NLT). Jesus had confronted the Pharisees, challenged them, pointed out where they were wrong, addressed their pride, their hypocrisy, and the hardness of their heart toward people and God’s Word. Instead of repenting and turning to God they decided to get rid of Jesus. They decided to kill Him. This was the final straw. For them the debate was over, Jesus had to die.
Jesus would eventually die on the cross and give up His life. However, even in death, Jesus Christ would be victorious, paying the penalty for sin and rising from the dead in victory. Because of that sacrifice, the Lord of the Sabbath offers heavenly rest to all who believe in Him (Heb. 4:9).
What do we do with this Jesus who is faithful to the Father, courageous toward His enemies, angry at sin, and compassionate to those in need? We follow Him.
- When you see Jesus confronting the Pharisees, He is fighting for us.
- When you see Jesus teaching the truth, He is fighting for us.
- When you see Jesus healing the sick, He is fighting for us.
- When you see Jesus casting out an evil spirit, He is fighting for us.
- When you see Jesus hanging on the cross, He is fighting for us.
- When you see Jesus being placed in the tomb, He is fighting for us.
- When you see Jesus resurrecting from the grave, He is fighting for us.
- When you see Him come again, He is fighting for us.
And because of Jesus, you are more than a conqueror.
[i] Joshua 23:10; 2 Chronicles 20:17; Psalm 118:6; Romans 8:37; 2 Thessalonians 3:3