Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come forward.” Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him. Jesus departed with his disciples to the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed him; hearing all that he was doing, they came to him in great numbers from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and the region around Tyre and Sidon. He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him; for he had cured many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him. Whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and shouted, “You are the Son of God!” But he sternly ordered them not to make him known.
Many years ago, Robert Kennedy stated, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
While this quote may raise questions for some, there are others who will be able to conclude that every one of us has the ability, authority, and power to make a difference in the world in which we live. Each moment we stand up, speak out and act in faith, we are sending forth ripples of hope and change that together have the power to transform any circumstance. The Gospel of Mark shares with us unique encounter between Jesus and a man with a withered hand. Very quickly in this passage, we are made aware of the fact that there was a group or crowd that were watching to see if Jesus would heal this man on the Sabbath. Healing on the Sabbath was an issue, but this fact only helps us to know that there are many issues that must be faced when living a faithful life as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Mark calls our attention to the fact that people are watching. The world is watching to see what we will say, what we will do. We should not worry about who is looking or allow others to shape our actions. Our call is to first find ourselves courageously faithful in order that together with others we might be collectively powerful.
A charge to keep I have, A god to glorify, A never dying soul to save, and fit it for the sky. To serve the present age, My calling to fulfill; O may it all my powers engage To do my Master’s will! (A Charge to Keep I Have.” Hymn, Charles Wesley)