READING:  Mark 3:1-6               English - Barbara   Chinese - Raymond

A Man with a Withered Hand
1  Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand.
2  And they watched him, to see whether he would heal him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him.
3  And he said to the man who had the withered hand, "Come here."
4  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.
5  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.
6  The Pharisees went out, and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

COMMENTARY                      - Stephen

Yesterday we began a series of studies based on "Study 3" in our 30 Hour Famine Bible Study book.  Rules and regulations had been developed by religious lawyers so that the original meaning of the Sabbath as a day of rest had been taken over by the observance of strict rules.

Jesus was very annoyed at the attitude of the religious leaders of the time who seemed to care so little about genuine human need, yet cared so much about rules.  In our reading today we read about a man who had a deformed hand.  Jesus knew that there was a law which said that he must not do "healing work" on the Sabbath day.  But Jesus knew that this was a bad law, for the good work of healing was much more important than any law.

Human life must always come before small-minded rules and laws.  The problem was that a good humanitarian idea had been changed into a strict humanless set of instructions.  The people had been forgotten and the system of rules and regulations was worshipped.  Let us never be so tied up with rules and regulations that we forget that people matter first.


Barbara leaves tomorrow to attend the International Partnership Planning Meeting with Mr Hunt at the international office.  Pray for travelling protection for Barbara.

Lord God, we pray that you will help us to make rules and systems which can be our servants.  Help us to remember that people come first.  In Jesus' Name we pray.  A-men