Christ restores the withered hand

Christ restores the withered hand

Sabbath. The Withered Hand.

(The Gospel History, Section 40)

And it came to pass on another sabbath, that he entered again into their synagogue and taught: and behold there was a man there and his right hand was withered. And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him whether he would heal him on the sabbath day, that they might find how to accuse him. But he knew their thoughts; and he said unto the man that had his hand withered, Rise up and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth. And Jesus said unto them, I ask you, Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do harm? to save a life or to destroy it? But they held their peace. And he said unto them, What man shall there be of you that shall have one sheep, and if this fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it and lift it out? How much then is a man of more value than a sheep! Wherefore it is lawful to do good on the sabbath day. And when he had looked round about on them all with anger, being grieved at the hardening of their heart, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he stretched it forth; and his hand was restored, whole, as the other. But the Pharisees were filled with madness, and communed with one another what they might do to Jesus. And they went out, and straightway with the Herodians took counsel against him how they might destroy him.

Christ restores the withered hand

(The Saviour of the World, Vol II Book II Poem XXIII)

The Lord of the Sabbath gave for peace,
That tumult, work and strife should cease,
And men to House of God draw near
His praise to utter, Word to hear:—
Sore, as with irritants, the life
Whose every day is given to strife,
Whose labours no cessation know,
Nor pause, for peace of God to flow;
And Christ, who sought the fields for peace
On Sabbath day, found no release:
As nest of hornets, rash disturbed,
The Jews, enormously perturbed,
Round hands and Head, annoying fly
And sting and tease incessantly.
Again in synagogue He taught,
But they a snare for Him had brought,
Man with a withered hand,—for, sure,
This sufferer would His pity lure!

They watched for moment when Christ saw
The man should cause Him break the Law;
Another accusation, “Lo,
This man is of our Law the foe,”
Was ready on their lips; but He
Spake to their thought immediately;
“Rise and stand forth,” said to the man,
Who rose and stood, (his hope began
To stir, for knew he not the name
Of Him who, healing sickness, came?)
He rose and stood before them all
At that commanding instant call.
But not to him the Lord’s first word;
A searching crucial question heard
The Jews inimical:—“Destroy,
Or save, which is the right employ
For Sabbath as for any day?
Evil or good to do, the way
To keep the Law of God?”—their peace
(Despite wrath’s sudden, hot increase),
They held; occurred, no meet reply
To question fraught with destiny;
Another chance is theirs: “What man
That owned a single sheep, nor ran,
Knowing it fallen into pit,
With all his might, to rescue it?”
Still ne’er a word from these, obtuse
Of conscience, who will not deduce
A rule of mercy for their lives:
Once more for their conviction strives
The Lord of grace: “Then how much more,
Is worth a man, than sheep by score?”

Wrath of the Lamb men see that day;
In anger He doth them survey,
Grieved for the hardening of their heart,
Insensible to righteous part
The true man takes when wrong and right
Presented, he must judge by light
Lodged in his breast: “Stretch forth thy hand”—
Poor withered limb! But, at command,
He did the thing he could not do,
And, lo, this hand was able, too!
Not joyful were the Pharisees,
But filled with madness and unease;
And all their talk and all their thought—
What mischief might on Him be wrought:
Herodians straightway they sought,
And twofold malice ’gainst Him brought,
For these, concerned for Herod’s reign,
Watched His success with jealous pain.
And Christ perceiving all their hate,
Withdrew, so might their rage abate!

St. Luke vi. 6-11;
St. Mark iii. 1-6;
St. Matthew xii. 9-14