Healing the Man with the Withered Hand (Matthew 12:9-14; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 6:6-11). In a
synagogue in Galilee on the Sabbath, Jesus enters and there is a man with a withered hand. The Pharisees
were watching Him closely to see if He would heal the man. And they questioned Him, saying, “Is it
lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” Christ answered their question by referring to their own practices. If the
life of one of their animals were in jeopardy, they would work to preserve it. His conclusion was that it is
lawful to do good on the Sabbath day since such action was not contrary to the Law, and not even
contrary to their practices. After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He
said to the man, “Stretch out your hand” and it was restored.
The Pharisees responded in several ways to this episode:
1. They were furious with Christ for publicly humiliating them by His devastating arguments.
2. They began to plot His death. They wanted to kill the One who rejected their traditions.
3. They entered into an alliance with the Herodians, who were their enemies, and they solicited their
support in attempts to kill Jesus.
The Sabbath controversy, then, marked an important development. The opposition of the Pharisees was
no longer veiled but open. They were determined to put Him to death. Aware of this, Jesus withdrew
from there. And many followed Him, and He healed them all.
Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed
Him (Matthew 4:25). Jesus’ popularity with the crowds is at a peak, but He is hated by the Pharisees.