The Man With The Withered Hand Is Healed


Matthew 12:9-13 – And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue: 10 And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. 11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? 12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. 13 Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.


Mark 3:1-5 – And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. 2 And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him. 3 And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. 4 And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. 5 And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.


Luke 6:6-10 – And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered. 7 And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him. 8 But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth. 9 Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it? 10 And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other. 11 And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.


I.    Introduction. 

A.     In this miracle Jesus corrects some misconceptions of the Sabbath Day duties. 

1.       The Jews had changed the laws of this day from what God expected of them, to what the Jewish leaders expected of the common people. 

2.       They had introduced many silly superstitions, and removed many of God’s commands. 

3.       In his sermon on the mount, Jesus had already shown how the Jewish leaders had corrupted many holy teachings by adding to and taking away from those commandments. 

B.     Christ is showing that works of necessity and mercy are to be done on the Sabbath. 

1.       In Matthew 12:1-8 Jesus had on another Sabbath, according to Luke 6:6, a discussion with the Jewish leaders about appropriate works to be done on the Sabbath.

2.       The Jews rejected the instructions of Christ, of course, in favor of their own laws. 

3.       Deuteronomy 23:25 makes provision for eating a neighbors grain in the way the disciples ate in Matthew 12:1, but that scripture was disregarded, as it did not agree with Jewish laws of Sabbath worship. 

a.       It is amazing that the Pharisees did not rebuke the disciples for taking another’s grain, only that they ate it on the Sabbath day. 

b.       It is no wonder Christ exclaimed to them in Matthew 23:24, Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. 

C.     In the miracle before us, Christ continues to instruct the Jews as to the proper meaning of the Sabbath day. 


II.    The Healing of the man with the withered hand. 

A.     There is no mention of who the man is. 

1.       There is no record of why the man’s hand is withered, or how long it had been withered. 

2.       There is no record of anything about this man, except that he has a withered hand. 

3.       Luke, the physician, is the only writer that reveals it was the right hand of the man that was withered. 

B.     He is right to be in the synagogue. 

1.       Regardless of any other circumstance, it is always good to be in the place God has given us to worship. 

2.       If this man had been anywhere else, and Jesus had healed him, the Pharisees would still rebuke him. 

3.       Therefore, it is always good to be in the service of the Lord. 

C.     The Pharisees question Christ, asking if it is right to heal this man on the Sabbath. 

1.       They show no mercy toward him, but will use his infirmity for their own benefit. 

2.       There is no record the Pharisees say anything to the man with the withered hand. 

a.       Some will say there is a contradiction between what Matthew says and what Mark and Luke says concerning who asked if it was legal to heal on the Sabbath day.  (Matthew 12:10 – The Jews Ask Christ, Mark 3:3, Luke 6:8 – Jesus speaks to the man, then asks the Jews if it is right to heal on the Sabbath.) 

b.       Could it be that both are right? 

c.       That Jesus asked the Jews, and the Jews asked him, or the other way around? 

3.       The Pharisees show their callousness toward the man by asking Christ in his presence, instead of discretely taking Christ aside to ask him. 

D.     Jesus demands the man to stand forth before them all. 

1.       This command is not given in Matthew, but appears in Mark 3:3 and Luke 8. 

2.       It is amazing to contrast the publicity of the miracles of Christ. 



Water turned into wine

John 2:10,11

All knew Christ performed this miracle


Nobleman’s son

John 4:50

Christ was not present


Unclean spirits cast out

Mark 1:21-28

Sabbath, Synagogue, knew Christ performed the miracle – Pharisees did nothing – probably surprised.


Peter’s mother in law healed

Mark 1:29-31

Sabbath (as 3rd miracle) – Peter’s house – knew Christ did it. 


Draught of fish caught

Luke 5:1-11

Not on Sabbath, or in Synagogue – proof of provision for the disciples – Known that Christ performed


Leprous man healed

Matthew 8:1-4

Immediately after the Sermon on the Mount – Jesus said to tell no man, but go to the priests.


Palsied man healed

Matthew 9:1-8

In private house in Capernaum – Jesus performed – to teach by obvious public miracles that Christ is able to forgive private, hidden sins. 


Impotent man healed

John 5:1-9

In Jerusalem by Sheep Market – Christ performed privately (in a public place), vanishes soon after. 

a.       There has been a gradual increase in the public miracles of Christ, especially honing in on the purpose of miracles – why Christ is doing miracles. 

b.       There has been some time between the miracles because Christ desires the people to have time to understand what he is doing and why he is doing it. 

E.      Jesus regards the man with compassion, while the Pharisees show no compassion toward him, his affliction, or Christ, who desires to heal him. 

1.       Jesus declares the Pharisees would have compassion on a sheep, which is a lesser creature than a human being. 

a.       Christ uses the sheep because he calls his children sheep. 

b.       As the Pharisees would care for their sheep, so Christ will care for his. 

2.       Jesus knows they would all band together to help the sheep, but would not band together to help the man, as the four who brought the impotent man to Christ. 

3.       It would have shown great compassion if the Pharisees had got together, brought the man to Christ, and asked him to heal him. 

4.       Another question might concern doctors and nurses caring for their sick patients on the Sabbath. 

5.       The Pharisees had more compassion for their laws than the laws of Christ, Christ as a person, the man with the withered hand, or anything else. 

F.      The Pharisees do not answer Christ. 

1.       There is no answer they can give without showing they have more compassion on an animal than a human being. 

2.       Their silence reflects their hatred for Christ, and their utter lack of compassion for anyone with an infirmity. 

G.     Christ healed the man. 

1.       He knew the Pharisees would object, but went ahead and healed the man. 

a.       There is always somebody who will object to God’s direction and leadership. 

b.       We should not pay too much attention to those who object to God’s direction, knowing that if we allow them to interfere, we will never do the Lord’s will. 

2.       Luke 6;11 – The Pharisees could not answer the questions of Christ, but that did not stop them from being filled with madness, and going about to kill him. 

a.       They have their minds made up, and they will not change their minds regardless of what powerful arguments and visual demonstrations they hear and see. 

b.       Unbelievers are still like that today. 

c.       I have had correspondence with homosexuals, though our web site, and they will not listen to facts, but continually rebel against God’s word, changing it to suit themselves. 

H.     The spiritual significance of this miracle. 

1.       All our souls (hands) are withered, and we cannot straighten them as they were designed to be straightened. 

a.       Fleshly efforts cannot rectify the situation. 

b.       All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. 

c.       Salvation is a gift of God, which he freely gives to all who come to him, repenting of their sins, and trusting him for their eternal salvation. 

2.       Christ commands the man to stretch forth his hand, just as he commands sinners to come to him. 

a.       The man was as unable to stretch forth his hand as sinners are unable to come to him. 

b.       The will of man is bound in sin, and men do not want to come to Christ. 

c.       There is much dispute about this doctrine, but there must be a balance between what God determines for us, and what we determine for ourselves. 

d.       If this man had not stretched forth his hand, he would not have been healed, but he obeyed the command of Christ, stretched forth his hand, and he was healed. 

e.       There is no excuse for disobedience. 

f.        Don’t blame God if you die lost, or if you do not obey his commands. 

g.       He has already commanded you to obey, therefore you sins are your own fault, and you are responsible to him. 

h.       That is part of what will take place at the Judgment Seat of Christ (for the saved), and the Great White Throne Judgment (for the lost). 


III.    We should ask ourselves, what does God require of us on his worship day – in our case – Sunday, the first day of the week. 

A.     God has already established much of this in his law – given to Moses, and that law is not out of date, or contradicted by other scripture. 

B.     God knows the condition of our heart, and why we want to do what we do. 

1.       God knew my dad’s heart’s to supply for his family when he started an egg business, which required us to gather eggs and do minimal work on Sunday. 

a.       We were always in church services, gathering the eggs between the morning and evening services. 

b.       The only time we missed was when a freeze came and the water froze. 

1.)    As we thawed the pipes and water troughs, they began to break and we began to replace them. 

2.)    Our missing services was so unusual, many men from the church came that afternoon to help us fix what was broken. 

3.)    We ran out of water troughs and the local business that produced the troughs for us opened his business, build the troughs and delivered them to us. 

2.       God knew my heart when I accepted a job, which required my working on Sunday. 

a.       It was at that job that I was helping dump 360 degree (hot) acid from a tank, and I a concrete grating gave way under my feet, and my right foot plunged into the acid, burning my foot, and causing me to be off work for 30 days. 

b.       I took that job for money, but God taught me a lesson. 

3.       God knew my heart when I was traveling from this church to Willow Hill, Illinois each Sunday to preach. 

a.       That was back in 1971. 

b.       I had to have gas to make the return trip, and knew I had to fill the gas tank on Sunday.  

c.       I prayed that God would provide for me in that.

d.       As I pulled into a gas station in Newton, Illinois, the attendant, in white shirt and tie, told me he was about to close up and go to church. 

e.       I thanked my God that he provided a place for me to get gas, and I got gas at that station each Sunday morning I could. 

4.       God knows what he expects of you and what he has laid on your heart about Sunday. 

a.       When you willfully disregard what he has told you, expect his judgment. 

b.       That judgment might not come today, but it will come.