And when he¹ had looked²
round about on them with anger³,
being grieved for the
hardness⁴ of their hearts⁵,
he¹ saith unto the man⁶,
Stretch forth⁷ thine hand⁸.
And he stretched it⁹ out:
and his hand was restored¹⁰
whole¹¹ as the other
²) Looked around
³) Or wrath, indignation
⁴) The Greek word ‘porosis’ which is used here appears 3 times in the Amplified Version. Twice it is translated with ‘blindness’ and once with ‘hardness’. It points to the obtrusiveness of mental discernment, to dulled perception, of stubbornness, and obduracy.
⁵) The heart denotes the centre of all physical and spiritual life, the vigour and sense of physical life, and the centre and seat of spiritual life.
⁶) The man with the withered hand.
⁷) Stretch out towards Jesus.
⁸) The same Greek word (cheir) that is used here, is figuratively also applied to God symbolising his might, activity, and power.
⁹) Not in older manuscripts, added for readability.
¹⁰) Restored to its former state.
¹¹) Restored to health
From other translations:
And He glanced around at them with vexation and anger, grieved at the hardening of their hearts, and said to the man, Hold out your hand. He held it out, and his hand was [completely] restored. [AMP] And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. [ESV] He looked them in the eye, one after another, angry now, furious at their hard-nosed religion. He said to the man, "Hold out your hand." He held it out--it was as good as new! [MSB] And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. [KJV] He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. [NIV] He looked around at them angrily, because he was deeply disturbed by their hard hearts. Then he said to the man, "Reach out your hand." The man reached out his hand, and it became normal again! [NLT] And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. [NKJV]
Now let us see what this verse is telling us.
He had looked round about on them with anger
Observe, how Jesus was provoked by the sin of the hardened heart of the Pharisees. He looked round upon them; for they were with many, and had so positioned themselves, that they surrounded Him.
He looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts.
Anger is the emotion of instant displeasure on account of something evil that presents itself. In itself it is an original susceptibility of our nature, just as love is, and is not necessarily sinful.
It may, however, become sinful when causeless, or excessive, or protracted (Matthew 5:22; Ephesians 4:26; Colossians 3:8).
As ascribed to God, it merely denotes His displeasure with sin and with sinners (Psalms 7:11).
Men become angry when they have wrong done to them, often not without sinning, but the Christ is angry without sin.
The sin Jesus had an eye to, was, the hardness of their hearts, their insensibleness of the evidence of his miracles, and their inflexible resolution to persist in unbelief. We hear what is said amiss, and see what is done amiss; but Christ looks at the root of bitterness in the heart, the blindness and hardness of that.
When the Pharisees rebelled against the light, Jesus lamented their stubbornness; The Christ is not sorry for the injury that is done to Him as much as he is for their wickedness; and therefore he had pity upon them, and because of that he is said to have been grieved.
Observe how Jesus pitied the sinners; he was grieved for the hardness of their hearts; as God was grieved forty years for the hardness of the hearts of their fathers in the wilderness.
Note, that it is a great grief to our Lord Jesus, to see sinners bent upon their own ruin, and obstinately set against the methods of their conviction and recovery, for He would not that any should perish. This is a good reason why the hardness of our own hearts and of the hearts of others, should be a grief to us as well.
Hardness of heart
Their hardness of heart is shown by their fault finding, evil thoughts, and silence when Jesus asks them questions.
As though their heart had been closed up and had grown together, so that wholesome doctrine had no effect upon them.
▪︎ Note, that the sin of sinners is very displeasing to Jesus Christ;
▪︎ Note, that the way to be angry, and not to sin, is to be angry, as Christ was, at nothing but sin.
Let hard-hearted sinners tremble to think of the anger with which he will look round upon them shortly, when the great day of his wrath comes.
Stretch forth thine hand.
Christ dealt very kindly with the patient; he asked him to stretch forth his hand, and it was immediately restored.
Now, what is the lesson we can learn from this?
Christ has taught us with His attitude and actions that we should go on with resolution in the way of our duty, no matter how violent the opposition may be that we meet.
We must deny ourselves sometimes in our ease, pleasure, and convenience, rather than give offence even to those who causelessly take it;
But we must never deny ourselves the satisfaction of serving God, and doing good, though offence may unjustly be taken at it.
None could be more offended than the Christ; yet, rather than sending this poor man away uncured, He would venture offending all the scribes and Pharisees that were waiting Him, and waiting to find something to accuse Him.
With this He has also given us a specimen of the cures that we may receive by His grace.
▪︎ Our hands are spiritually withered,
▪︎ The powers of our souls are weakened by sin,
▪︎ And we are disabled for doing that which is good.
▪︎ The great healing day is the sabbath,
▪︎ and the healing place the synagogue;
▪︎ the healing power is that of Christ.
The gospel command is like this what is recorded here; and the command is rational and just;
Though our hands are withered, and we cannot even of ourselves stretch them forth,
▪︎ We must attempt it,
▪︎ We must, as well as we can, lift them up to God in prayer,
▪︎ We must lay hold on Christ and eternal life, and employ them in good works;
If we do our endeavour, power goes along with the word of Christ, He effects the cure. Though our hands be withered, yet, if we will not offer to stretch them out, it is our own fault that we are not healed; but if we do, and are healed, Christ and His power and grace must have all the glory.
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The Lord Jesus is, like He used to, on the Sabbath in the synagogue.
That day there is also a man with a withered hand. Will the Savior deliver this man from his disability on the Sabbath? That is the question the Pharisees ask themselves.
If the Lord does indeed heal this man, then they can sue Him at the Sanhedrin.
However, the Lord sees through them, He knows the thoughts that live in the Pharisees’ hearts. And He asks them the question: What is allowed on the Sabbath? Is it lawful to heal a man or not? That is pretty much the question that the Lord Jesus asks the Pharisees. However, they do not answer Him.
He is kindled in holy wrath. But not only that. At the same time he is sad about the hardening of the heart. That hardening hurts Him, because the Lord knows that that hardening will lead them to eternal destruction. An angry and sorrowful Savior.
Isn’t He also today an angry and sorrowful Savior, as long as we let Him call us, and still disobey Him?
Then the Lord turns away from them, and to the man with the withered hand. At the command of the Lord, this man stretches out his hand.
Do not let your Savior turn away from you too, and then turn to someone who will gladly accept His help! Don’t miss your chance on eternal salvation!
The Sabbath commandment continues to engage some to this day. What may or may not be done on that day? In the past, a distinction was made between the “flexible” and the “precise”.
The “flexible” allowed themselves to do almost anything on the day of the Lord. In our time we sometimes wonder whether there are still those who we could call the “precise”.
The Lord’s Day is today shamefully profaned by most of our people.
What does this history want to teach us?
We have already answered this above, but in any case this: That we may do good on the day of the Lord.
May everyone remember, that there is a weeping Savior. Weeping because of our hardening. A weeping Savior who still says, “Oh that you would begin to see today, what serves for your eternal peace.”
We are still living in the time of grace today.
The Lord can still save you for eternity!
May you too come to the point that you yourself are willing to be saved.
When we think about it for a moment, it is actually a wonderful commission that Jesus gives this man. It’s just as wonderful as saying to a lame man, “Pick up your mattress and walk!”
The impossible is asked. A withered hand, from which all feeling and life has departed, which is carried along as a useless part of the body, cannot be lifted.
Stretch out your hand. Isn’t that a hard assignment, isn’t it torture?
Doesn’t it underline his disability?
No. Jesus does not say it to hurt the man, but to heal.
Not to hurt, but to rejoice He gives that command.
It is an impossible command. But it is done, the man stretches out his hand.
He stretches out his hand at the Word of the Lord.
Faith gives him strength,
trust in the Master Who speaks to him makes him do the impossible.
It is the Lord who has given him strength.
That is the true faith, the trust in the Master.
And his hand was instantly made whole like the other.
It is never in vain to live by His Word.
Trust in the Lord is never betrayed.
It doesn’t disappoint.
With the Lord all things are possible, also today, also for you.
Repent, take up your cross, and follow Him!
He is asking you to do it now!
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