Stretch and Expand or Wither

Today’s reading in the Gospel of Mark encourages us to stretch our faith, believe God’s Word means what it says, and rest in the healing power of Jesus’ Name.


Hands at work

As soon as Jesus walked into the synagogue one Sabbath, He saw a man with a withered hand, but everyone else saw Jesus. According to Mark 3:1-6, the religious leaders were looking for Him to make trouble, so that’s what they saw – a Man Who would most likely cause a commotion by healing someone on the Sabbath.

Obviously, the Pharisees were looking for Jesus to challenge them. They might have even set up the incident by grabbing some guy with a withered hand off the street and setting him front and center in the synagogue. Who knows? But one thing we know from today’s Gospel reading is this:

Even the most religiously-minded people can have narrow thinking confined to a small understanding of God’s Word.

With their discernment withering, the Pharisees just couldn’t get a handle on how to stretch themselves, spiritually. So Jesus began His healing on the Sabbath by trying to heal them! As Mark 3:4 tells us, He asked this probing question:

“Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath or evil? Is this a day to heal or to kill??

How did the Pharisees answer? They didn’t. They said nothing. They withered into silence.

Jesus  responded with grief! Yet despite His own sorrow over seeing such hardheartedness, He didn’t get caught up in that disappointing moment. In stead, He turned His attention to the man with the shrunken hand and said:

“Stretch out your hand.”

The man did not say, “Are you blind? Can’t you see my hand has shriveled?” nor did he say, “But, I can’t stretch out my hand!” In stead, he did the impossible. He stretched out his hand.

That’s faith.

That’s faith in our Lord Jesus.

That’s faith in The Word meaning what The Word says.

Prayer: O, Lord God, help our belief in You to stretch as we read Your Word and remain ever open to Your healing power  in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

by Mary Harwell Sayler, © 2016


Author: Mary Harwell Sayler

Mary Harwell Sayler has placed 28 books in all genres with Christian and educational companies and over 2,000 poems, articles, devotionals, and children’s stories with traditional and online publications. In 2012 Hiraeth Press published her first poetry book, Living in the Nature Poem with an e-book version in 2014. Also, in 2014 Kelsay Books, published her Bible-based poems Outside Eden and her first book of children’s poems, Beach Songs & Wood Chimes. In addition, Mary has 3 e-books on Kindle for poets and writers: the Christian Writers’ Guide, Poetry Dictionary For Children & For Fun, and a poet-friendly home study course, the Christian Poet’s Guide to Writing Poetry. For a minimal fee, she works with poets, one-on-one, through her website. After writing and posting praise poems, she realized she had a book, which Cladach Press has contracted to publish this year.

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