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Feb. 24, 2021

February 24th, 21 Day 55, Year 7

February 24th, 21 Day 55, Year 7

Daily Radio Bible Podcast

A Hand Fully Extended

Numbers 14 - 16 and Mark 3

Jesus steps into the synagogue one day and the people are looking for something to accuse him of.  They’re wanting to accuse him so they can punish him - the same way the man in Numbers 15 is being punished.  This man was picking up sticks on the Sabbath.  

They’re watching to see whether Jesus will heal a man with a shrivelled hand, on the Sabbath.  Jesus recognizes this.  Mark 3:4 says,

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.

It’s a pretty straightforward question and yet, something in their hearts prevents them from knowing the answer.  Jesus recognizes this. Their hard hearts prevent them from knowing the difference between good and evil, between life and death. Jesus now does something really radical.  They think he is going to intentionally despise the Sabbath and the word of God.  But because Jesus’ heart is pure toward God, he knows the difference between good and evil, life and death.  The living Word of God calls the man to stretch out his hand and this once shrivelled dead arm is completely healed.  

Jesus is in stark contrast to the defiant man in Numbers 15, but in a very strange, beautiful, and powerful way, Jesus has stepped into the shoes of the man in the wilderness, for us.  Moses and Mark both want us to see the parallels here.  In Numbers, there is a seemingly insignificant man in the wilderness, picking up sticks.  And now we have Jesus who, to many, seemed insignificant, too.  And yet he picks up wood, as well.  He picks up his cross.  He is found guilty of violating the laws of God and has been killed outside the camp, just as the man in the wilderness, in Numbers 15.  

Jesus has taken the place of this man, and all other law-breakers who despise the word of God.  All of us are kind of like that unnamed man in the wilderness, despising the word of God and preferring our own way over his way.  Our sinful and defiant hearts keep us from entering into God’s rest and recognizing what God has done for us. 

He has been made the substitute for the  defiant heart like mine like yours, by picking up his wooden cross in the wilderness.  He has a way for our hearts to be transformed by his immeasurable love.  

Jesus has offered himself up for a defiant world.  He has made a way for all of us to stretch out our shrivelled hands toward him.  Where once our hands were stretched out to him in defiance, now we can be extended fully, healed and reaching out to him in worship and gratitude.  Jesus has made that possible.  He heals the law-breakers.  

Let’s extend our hand of worship out to him, stretched out in faith and gratitude,  not in defiance.