Bible Stories for the Young

A Withered Hand

Better Than a Withered Heart


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A Withered Hand : Better Than a Withered Heart

It was a rest day, the Sabbath day of the week that God’s 10 rules said not to do any work. Jesus and His disciples were hungry. As they walked through some farmland, they began to pick and eat some of the grain in the field.

When the religious teachers saw this, they said to Jesus, “Your disciples are breaking God’s rule. Picking grain is WORK!”

Now these men claimed to be “experts” in the scriptures. They claimed to know and understand God and His ways and rules. So Jesus said to them, “Haven’t you read in the scriptures the time King David broke the rule? And what about how the Law allows the priests to break the Rest Day rule sometimes when they are serving at the Temple? That’s perfectly fine… and something greater than the Temple is here. And if you had known what God’s words through Hosea meant — ‘I want mercy, not sacrifice’ — you would not have accused and condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Rest Day.”

Did you know?

Instead of saying, “I am this” or “I am that,” Jesus often called Himself the “Son of Man” or “the One the Father Sent.” But He is talking about Himself. He is the Son of Man and He is the One the Father sent. So we might sometimes change what Jesus said to “I” or “Me” so that it’s clear to you that Jesus is talking about Himself. So what Jesus just said to these teachers is, “I am greater than the Temple and I am the Boss of the Rest Day.”

After they left there, Jesus went into a religious building. When the religious teachers there saw Jesus come in, they started watching Him closely. They knew Jesus would notice one of the men there whose hand was all withered and shriveled up. The man couldn’t move his fingers. The teachers watched to see if Jesus would heal the man’s hand. They thought, “Today is the day when no one is supposed to work. Healing is work, too, so if Jesus heals him, then we will be ready to make Jesus look bad.”

Think about it…

Does this remind you of Daniel and how the jealous guys couldn’t think of anything to accuse him of except for being righteous and kind?

These men calling themselves “teachers” and “leaders” of God’s People knew that Jesus Can Heal. And they knew that Jesus loves the people so much that He would heal!

Yet these evil men still refused to admit Jesus is from God. And they obviously didn’t care about the man with the hurt hand at all.

They were consumed with wanting to make Jesus look bad. They would watch and plot and plan, hoping they could catch Him “breaking a law” so that they could accuse Him, drag Him down and destroy Him in front of the other people. Ohhh! How full of deceit and guile.

Jesus knew those evil men’s hearts, but He wasn’t going to let that stop Him. He told the man with the withered hand to stand up so that everybody could see him. Then Jesus asked the people there, “Is it better to do good on God’s day of Rest or to do evil? Is it better to save someone’s life or to destroy it?”

But the “teachers” refused to answer. (They knew the answer, but they just wouldn’t say it. They just wouldn’t admit that Jesus was right.)

Jesus continued, “If you had a sheep that fell into a deep hole, wouldn’t you all work hard to pull that sheep out and rescue it?! Even on God’s Rest Day?! And a person is more precious than a sheep, right?! So it’s not against God’s rules to do Good on God’s day of resting, is it?”

It was quiet. No one answered Jesus’ very easy questions. This made Jesus angry. Rightfully angry. It hurt Him to see how hard and withered these religious men’s hearts were. Jesus could heal the man’s withered hand; these religious phonies wouldn’t let Jesus help their withered hearts.

Then Jesus said to the man with the withered hand, “Stretch out your hand!” And of course, the man’s hand streeeeeched out, and opened up! It was as healthy and strong as his other hand.

Do you think everyone was happy to see the man’s hand healed? I’m sure the man was happy. But the religious teachers were filled with mindless rage and started thinking of every way they could to destroy Jesus. Their withered hearts continued to shrivel.

Meanwhile, Jesus went on healing and loving. And the people who believed marveled at it all. They said things like, “God has visited His People.” And, “This man teaches as one with authority, not like the teachers we’re used to.” And, “Could this be the promised Son of David?”