From the Gospel of Mark (3:1-6): “Jesus entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, ‘Come forward.’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save life or to kill?’ But they were silent. He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him”
The Apostle John described Jesus as “the author and perfecter of love.” Today this great lover encounters a group that knows nothing about love.
While at the synagogue on the Sabbath, Jesus meets a man with a deformed hand. Some think that the Pharisees actually planted this man in the synagogue, knowing Jesus would heal him immediately because of his heart of compassion and love. They were right. Jesus calls the man over. A hushed tension fills the synagogue.
Knowing why the tension existed, Jesus asks the people, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save life or to kill?”
It’s a simple question, yet he gets no answer.
Scripture says that Jesus grew angry. But it isn’t the “I hate you” kind of anger. Jesus is angry that their hearts could be so hard that they couldn’t even answer a simple question like that. Scripture then goes on to describe Jesus as being filled with “grief.” He grieves their condition.
Jesus says to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” The man does and instantly he is healed.
As soon as the miracle takes place, we are told that the Pharisees slipped out the side door and in some dark corner of the world they begin plotting the death of Jesus.
What’s love got to do with it? To the Pharisees right here -- love has nothing to do with the ways of the world. What a sad commentary on their lives. To be so cold, as not see the love of God Jesus was incarnating; not rejoicing in the love that had the power to change a life. Cold, hard, and dark.
Yet here and throughout his ministry, Jesus shows us that without love our hearts grow cold and then, unless love touches us, our lives become hard and then actually cease to exist, even if blood continues to flow through our veins and our lungs still take in air. This is called “Spiritual death.” Without love, life ceases.
Tina Turner’s character in the song asks, “What’s love got to do with it?” Our answer as a people captivated by the life of Jesus is “Everything, Tina! Everything!”
Love is not a second hand emotion, it is the power that changes everything! Love has the power to heal a withered hand, bring light to darkened hearts. Love allows us to live in the fullness God desires for us.
The author of love is God.
Jesus incarnates this love.
So let us follow – and live in holy love.
~ Blessings, Dan