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f) The Healing of the Withered Hand on the Sabbath and the Plot to Kill Jesus
(Matthew 12:9-21)
9Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue.10And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” – that they might accuse Him.11Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out?12Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”13Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other. (Mark3:1-6;14:3-5, Luke6:6-11)

The Pharisees laid in wait for Christ because He considered love in action better than formal keeping of rituals and laws. They did not open their hearts to the Spirit of Christ to recognize His noble design. It is common for zealous men who are clinging to the traditions of their denomination not to recognize the reality and truth as it is. They arrive at the point of treating animals better than humans.
Christ, in His prudence, as Lawgiver, silenced the crowds of fundamentalists, and showed them, through practical examples from life, that they were hypocrites, and that the works of necessity and mercy were for them lawful, even on the Sabbath day. Holy love is greater than the Sabbath and is greater than the traditions that accompanied the Sabbath. Christ commanded the man with the withered hand to stretch out his hand. The man believed and obeyed Christ’s voice. He stretched out his hand and was able to move his fingers. Then he raised his hand to glorify God. He used his hand to make his living after he had been unable to use it. Here again, Christ offers His gifts to the poor. The healed man as well as all the people that saw the miracle praised God, but the teachers of the Law, who clung to the literal sense of the law, would not. They did not recognize its significance and meaning, and did not participate in the public rejoicing. Bitterness filled their hearts because Christ exposed their hypocrisy and unveiled the intents of their hearts in front of everybody. Those teachers held a council meeting and decided to kill Jesus of Nazareth who seemed to be a threat to them, to their religious position, and to the people’s attitude of esteem towards them. They preferred to keep their law according to their interpretation of the works of mercy, and they erred in the aim and purpose of the law that is God’s holy love.
The fundamentalists did not decide to kill Christ just because He accepted special titles like, “the Son of David,” “the Son of God,” or even “the Lord,” but because He cured the man on the Sabbath and revealed the poverty of their law-keeping and the glorious beginning of a new era of true love.
The question asked constantly nowadays is, “what is lawful and what is unlawful?”; “what is true and what is untrue?” We do not find in the Bible a sufficient answer to every question. However, every believer is in need of the spirit of discernment and the spirit of love and uprightness. We ask the Lord Jesus to give us an answer to our questions that we may follow His steps, even if we had to contradict the opinions and practices of our families for the sake of carrying out the will of Christ in the interest of love.
Christ did not fear His enemies, but unveiled their malice and stupidity. He asked them to think a little, for none of them would fail to rescue his own sheep if it fell into a pit on the Sabbath. Man, in respect of his being, is a great deal better, and more valuable, than the best of the brute creatures. Man is a reasonable creature, capable of knowing, loving, and glorifying God, and therefore is far better than a sheep. The sacrifice of a sheep could therefore not atone for the sin of a soul.

Heavenly Father, We glorify You because You consecrated us, delivering us from the wicked one to do works of mercy. Christ explained to us Your worship through his example. Help us to always know Your will, what is true and what is untrue that we may walk in the steps of Your beloved Son.
Why did the teachers of the law sentence Christ to death?