Hold Out Your Hand

By Ryan Dawson

What need do you have today?  There is a story in Mark 3 where Jesus heals the man with the deformed hand that I find very intriguing.   The religious leaders are attempting to trap Jesus by compelling him to heal on the Sabbath, which was a day when all devout Jews were prohibited to work, and paradoxically healing a man in need was deemed work and therefore unlawful on the Sabbath.  Now I recognize that Mark is highlighting the Sabbath controversy in this text, and he is asserting that Jesus came to set us free from religious bondage, but I want to look at this text from the perspective of the man with the deep need.  This incident took place in the synagogue.  Mark 3:3-5 reads:

Jesus said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” 4 Then he turned to his critics and asked, “Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” But they wouldn’t answer him.  5 He looked around at them angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts. Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored!

Jesus tells the man who has this deep need to “Come and stand in front of everyone.”  Now think about what this man would feel in this moment.  He had a deformed hand, which I suspect made him quite self-conscious.  He was probably accustomed to in some way hiding his deformity because in this culture a handicap of this nature would lower his social status.  Jews often viewed physical defects as a result of sin so people would assume God was punishing this man for his sin or the sins of his parents.   So this man’s deformity would come with a sense of shame, guilt, hopelessness, social awkwardness and even ostracization.  

Isn’t it true that so often our deep needs, our hurts, habits, and hang-ups leave us in a similar place of shame, guilt, fear, and isolation?    But I love how Jesus, in an act of mercy and grace cuts through all of this and says to the man, “Hold out your hand.”  In that moment it is like Jesus is saying, “Bring your need into the open and don’t try to hide it.  Bring it to me and see what I will do.”  And because this man was focused on Jesus and not on his shame or the crowd, he held out his hand with expectancy, believing that Jesus would meet his deep need; and Jesus did not disappoint!  This man was completely restored.  

So often in life we buy the lie that we need to hide our weaknesses, but God wants us come to him in our brokenness and need.  He wants us to come to Him with humility and expectancy believing that He will meet us in our moment of need.  He also wants us to bring our needs to others.  One of the great gifts of the Church, is that as broken and frail people, we have the privilege of journeying together as we “hold out our hands" to Jesus. There is a tremendous encouragement that comes from being in community with fellow strugglers as we point each other to Jesus and His incredible grace.  We need each other and we need Jesus!  

I want to encourage you to get connected to an Impact Community, and to admit your need to Jesus, because Christ wants to set you free from the hurt, habits, and hang-ups that weigh you down and keep you from experiencing abundant life.   Hold out you hand to Jesus today!  

Blessings, Ryan