“Jesus said to the man with the deformed hand, ‘Come and stand in front of everyone.’ He turned to his critics and asked, ‘Does the law permits 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.”

St. Mark 3: 3&4, NLT

In the lesson today, I’m not focusing on the when or what day the Sabbath should be; it is not my intent to say how it is to be remembered. My concern is how we answer the two questions the Master asked of his critics and enemies. Is it a day for doing “good or evil” or to “save or destroy life?”

All too often many people speak of keeping rules and laws to the letter. However, there is “the letter of the law” and there’s “the spirit of the law.” Please understand that I am not advocating disregarding or breaking laws. I thoroughly believe that we need rules and laws, especially today, or there would be total chaos in our society. But I believe that before adhering and applying to any law, we should get a good understanding of the spirit in which it was written.

Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.”

Matthew 5:17, KJV

In verse two of this lesson, Mark 3, the scripture says that they watched him and planned on accusing him of working on the Sabbath. They believed that doing any kind of work on this day was wrong. However, Jesus clearly asked them about “good deeds” and “saving life” and not works. Jesus is saying that doing good deeds, no matter what day it was, could meet the need of someone and make a wonderful change in their life. He also wanted to show that saving a life was more important than destroying it.

The Lord asked the man to stand in front of everyone. This was an opportunity to show the disabled, helpless, hopeless, believers or critics that whenever a need is noticed, the power of God is able to heal.

Verse five, Mark 3, says that Jesus was angry and very sad because of the hardness of heart the critics showed in this man’s time of need. Why would anyone object to someone being healed and becoming a productive citizen of his community? However, the verse also goes on to say that the man was obedient, “held out his hand and he was restored.”

I get a real sense of confidence from this Bible story and the hope in God it gives. It reminds me that no matter how hard man’s heart can be, God is willing to heal and restore when he wants to. We encourage you to still be law-abiding citizens but willing to meet the needs of others when led by the grace and Spirit of God.

May you be blessed, have love and peace.

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Henry Badie Jr., the pastor of Pentecostal Temple Church of God in Christ, in Florence, is a member of the Morning News’ Faith & Values Advisory Board. Contact him and other board members at fvboard@florencenews.com.

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