Then he turned to his critics and asked, “Does the law permit 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. Mark 3:4 (NLT)
Jesus asked this question of his his enemies in the synagogue when he saw a man there who had a deformed hand. "Is this a day to save life or destroy it?" They refused to answer the question.
Perhaps this may surprise us a bit as they generally seemed to be very vocal about their opinion but when you think about it, what could they say? In their heart of hearts they knew the right answer. The Sabbath, as well as any other day, was a day to save life, not destroy it. The Sabbath was more than a day of rest. It was a blessed day, a holy day, from the very beginning.
To answer the question truthfully would shake their world. It would challege all that they stood for but if they were to lie, if they were to say this was a day to destroy life...
They had a choice to speak the truth, regardless of the consequences and they refused. They would neither lie nor speak the truth so they refused to answer the question.
I am imagining the man standing there, silently watching what was going on. I can see the half-hopeful look on his face when he looked up at Jesus' words. Was it possible that he did not have to remain the way he was? Could he be made whole? Then just as suddenly his face fell as he contemplated what Jesus' critics, the "religious people" would say.
What would Jesus do? Would he turn away, take his seat with the self-proclaimed "righteous" people and forget about him or would Jesus heal him?
What joy must have filled his heart when Jesus said, "Hold out your hand." (v.5) The joy was not merely due to the healing but also due to the fact that Jesus had noticed him, had compassion on him and loved him enough to take a risk for him. Jesus did what was right and good regardless of the consequences.
Today will you "save life" or "destroy it" through your words and actions? Will you do what God says regardless of the opinions of others, despite the consequences due to the displeasure of others? We must! If we follow Christ we must... no matter what the cost.
Scripture quotation taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.