Verses 1-4 Every time Jesus enters a synagogue, where Jews worship, He is watched and rebuked by the religious leaders, in this case, the Pharisees (see verse 6). According to Jewish law, no one is to do anything on the sabbath — including healing — because God has declared it a day of rest. Here comes Jesus, calling to a man with a withered hand.
When He commanded the man to get up and come forward, the man HAD to come forward, because Jesus said it. Again, when Jesus says something, it must be done. When Jesus speaks to you through these scriptures, you must do what He commands.
Then He questions the leaders. Of course, they can’t override their rules and regulations in order to help someone in need. They can’t even see the need. How long has the man with the withered hand attended their synagogue? And no one has asked God to work through them to heal him, because you can’t heal someone on the sabbath. It’s against the rules. They completely miss the heart of God in the command to observe the sabbath. It is never to override the need to set someone free.
Verse 5 — It grieves Jesus when our hearts are hard toward Him, when He doesn’t fit our idea of who He is, when He doesn’t play by our rules. “Grieved” means distressed, filled with sorrow. He isn’t a weepy Jesus, but once again, the Jews show that they do not recognize God in the flesh, standing before them. How far they are from their God, and they don’t even know it! He is angry, but not in a human way. His is passionate indignation.
Then He says to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” The man had to stretch it out. Jesus commanded him to do it. The normal hand didn’t need to be stretched out, but it was impossible to stretch out the withered one. But of course, nothing is too difficult for God. So the man stretched out the withered hand, and the hand was healed. He had to stretch it out in order for it to be healed, and he had to stretch it out because Jesus commanded him to do so. Do you see it? You take a little mustard seed of faith, lift it up to Jesus, and then watch Him do exactly what He has said He will do!
Verse 6 — Now the Pharisees conspire to kill Jesus. He is ruining their religious system, and they are both threatened by Him and jealous of Him.
Verse 7-12 — Jesus withdraws, but not in surrender or fear. He simply goes to a place where people will receive Him. He is surrounded by crowds, because He has healed many — again, this really means “all.” Because of the crowding, He asks for a boat. Other gospels tell us He preached from there. Everyone with afflictions, everyone possessed by an evil spirit, wants to touch Him so they can be healed. You don’t have to wait for Him to touch you You can reach out right now and touch Jesus, and He will heal you. Get close to Him. There are no crowds to push to the side. There were no crowds in my bedroom, on September 1, 2001.
The demons know who Jesus is. The common people know who Jesus is. The Pharisees and other Jewish leaders do not know Him, though they ought to know Him. They study Him all the time in the Old Testament.
Jesus tells the evil spirits not to tell anyone who He is, but they SHOUT it anyway, as they fall down before Him. Why doesn’t Jesus want to be known to everyone as the Son of God? His time has not yet come. When He rises from the tomb three days after being laid there, everyone will know.
Verse 13-19 — An important point. You do not make a decision to receive Jesus. He chooses you. What happened after He chose them? He sent them out to preach and GAVE THEM AUTHORITY to cast out demons. Matthew 10:7-8 is a more complete description of what He told them to do. He is the One who gives us authority — we do not take it upon ourselves to heal, cast out, cleanse and raise from the dead. We do it under His authority and command.
NOTE: The Zebedee brothers are called “Sons of Thunder” because of the incident recorded in Luke 9:54.
Verse 20-21 — Back in Capernaum, crowds surround Jesus and the disciples. There is no room even to eat a meal! Everyone wanted to be set free! But what is the response of His family? They think He has lost His mind.
Verse 22-29 — The scribes are equally blind about Jesus. They say He is possessed by the devil (Beelzebul) and that it is by the devil’s power that Jesus casts out demons.
They have just committed the unpardonable sin — that is, they attribute what God is doing to the devil. They call the Holy Spirit unholy. Jesus explains in Matthew 12:31 that any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people (if they repent and turn to Him), but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. It is an eternal sin, as He says in Mark 3:29.
Of course, it makes no sense that the devil would want to cast his own demons out of people. The devil’s house would be divided against itself. It is absurd. How can Satan cast out Satan? Why would Satan want to do that? I tell you that Satan is finished. It happened on a tree in Calvary. But he’s still around, afflicting those who do not know Jesus, and lying to those who DO know Jesus. Don’t believe a word he says. Believe Jesus.
Verse 30-35 — Outside are the mother and brothers of Jesus, who think He has lost His mind. They want Him to come with them. Jesus says His true mothers and brothers are before Him already! His true mothers and sisters and brothers, His true family, are those who do God’s will. Many claim they are part of the family of God and that Jesus is their Savior, but they disobey God. They are not part of His family at all.