On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him.
It was the Sabbath, a day to be kept holy (Exodus 20:8).
The people had gathered faithfully, sitting around a pulpit where they would be lead in prayer, in reading, and the teaching of Scripture.
Here, Jesus was standing in the midst of such an assembly not simply teaching the Bible but living its truth and shining its light.
That Sabbath day, there was a man with a deformed or withered hand.
Jesus would go on to heal the man’s hand, literally healing his body on a day intended for bodily rest and man’s good (Mark 2:27).
The Lord had compassion on that man, had mercy on him and lovingly healed him.
This healing was beautiful, right, holy and just, as everything Jesus did in his lifetime was.
But in that same Synagogue there was also an ugliness, and that ugliness was displayed by the “believers”, the scribes and Pharisees.
Ugly religion doesn’t seek to love and heal those around them, ugly religion seeks to accuse others and show how they are wrong and inferior.
Follow in the Master’s footsteps today by being merciful and compassionate instead of trying to display your own glory through your ugly religion. Rather, display Jesus’ glory by walking as he walked.
Remember the words of James: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:27 ESV)