January 06, 2021

Front and Center

Mark 3:1-6

Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”

—  Mark 3:3

When you don’t use a muscle for some time, it weakens. Something had happened to this man’s hand so that he could not use it, and it had become virtually useless to him. For all practical purposes, the man’s hand had died.

One Sabbath day, however, while the people of the town were in the synagogue (their place of worship), Jesus called this man to stand up in front of everyone. This was an invitation to be at the center of the crowd’s attention. Jesus wanted to make sure that everyone could see what would happen.

Some of the people there were looking to cause trouble for Jesus. They had stubborn hearts, and that made him distressed. So Jesus used a resurrection word, inviting the man to “arise” in front of the whole crowd. And then, with all eyes on the man’s dead hand, it was suddenly and completely restored to life.

In this story Jesus shows that the purpose of the Sabbath, the law, and the Messiah is to bring life to what is dead. That’s what is on display, for everyone to see, at the center of this story.

Jesus is not just doing nice things; he is demonstrating and announcing the new life he is bringing. On this day in which the church of Jesus celebrates Epiphany, let us rejoice in the ways he restores all the parts of our lives that we may have thought were dead.

Lord, I confess that I am helpless and cannot change without your restoring power. Restore my life and help me to praise you for coming to triumph over death for our sake. Amen.

About the author — Douglas MacLeod

Rev. Douglas MacLeod is a church pastor in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has served as a pastor for over 36 years with five congregations in Michigan and Iowa. He and Cathy, his wife of 40+ years, are grateful for their three children and four grandchildren.

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