Jesus the Restorer: Mark 3:1-6
“1) He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there whose hand was withered. 2) They were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. 3) He *said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” 4) And He *said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. 5) After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He *said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6) The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.” Mark‬ ‭3‬:‭1‬-‭6‬ ‭
The story quickly moves from the grain fields to the synagogue on the Sabbath. The self appointed “Sabbath police” followed Him into the synagogue. He had just told them that He was Lord of the Sabbath. (Mark 2:28) Jesus was about to punctuate the full meaning of that phrase.
Either by coincidence or by set up, there was a man present with a withered hand. He had an obvious physical deformity. All eyes were on Jesus to see if He would “heal” on the Sabbath or refrain and rest from His office of Healer on the Sabbath.
What Jesus did in this story is often missed. He merely stepped into a different office He has held from the finished days of creation. Jesus said to the man, “Rise and come forward.” Jesus then asked them the question; “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?”
As the story unfolds, Jesus and the Pharisees were on opposite sides of that comparison. He was about to do good, they were bent on harm. He wanted to save life, they wanted to kill… and Jesus was their intended target.
Then the text says something significant; “After looking around at them with anger, he was grieved at their hardness of heart.” The word “hardness” comes from a Greek root word meaning “to harden or petrify.” Their hearts had become hard and petrified. They were in serious need of “restoration.”
It was at this point that something happens in the story that is amazing and is amplified in the English translation. The text says; “his hand was restored.” Notice, it does not say “his hand was healed.”
Did you catch it? The Sabbath is for rest… the man’s hand was “rest…ored.” Part of the intended purpose for the day of rest is for God to restore the human body from six days of work and labor. It is a day set aside for “restoration” of the body on every plain. It is a day for physical, emotional and spiritual restoration.
God is always actively “restoring” people on the Sabbath. That has been true from the beginning of creation. In the previous story, Jesus made the claim of being “Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28) He said; “The Sabbath was made for man.”
What does that mean? It was set aside as a day for man to be restored. The Lord of the Sabbath steps into His office of “Restorer” on the Sabbath. That’s exactly what Jesus did in this story!
However, the Pharisees had become so hardened and petrified in heart, they missed this subliminal connection with Jesus who actively restores on the Sabbath. Instead, they were bent on “destroying.” Satan holds the office of “destroyer.” (See John 10:10)
On that day, Jesus stepped into the office He has held since the finished work of Creation. The Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath. He wants to restore man on the Sabbath. It is a day set aside to seek Him as “Restorer.”
Very few Christian’s know, understand or seek Him in this office. He intends each of us to seek Him weekly for restoration. He can restore what the locust has eaten in your life. (Joel 2:25)
The obvious next question is personal. Do you need to be restored? Jesus can both heal and restore. You might not be in need of physical healing right now, but you might be in desperate need of restoring! Do you see the difference? What is withered in your life that needs restoring? He alone sits in the office of “Restorer.”
His offices of “Healer” and “Restorer” are closely connected, but slightly different. You may need to start seeking Him as “Restorer” in your life right now! On that Sabbath day, Jesus operated out of His office of Restorer.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global