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The One Thing You Cannot Do

June 9, 2019

“Stretch out your hand.” Mark 3:5

Jesus went into a synagogue and there was a man there with a withered hand. It was dysfunctional. Jesus had the man stand up in front of everyone. It must have been embarrassing for the fellow.

Then Jesus said to him, “Stretch out your hand” (3:5). Try to put yourself in this man’s shoes: “Don’t you see, Jesus? That is the one thing that I cannot do!”

What is this man going to do? He could protest, “Lord, you’re asking me to do something that I cannot do.” Or he could take offense and ask Jesus, “Are you mocking me by telling me to stretch out my hand, when it’s perfectly obvious that I cannot do it? I’m out of here!” And then he could turn around and walk out of the synagogue.

Mark records very simply: “[Jesus] said to the man ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out…” (3:5). The Son of God is looking him in the eye, saying, “I’m calling you to do it!” And the man stretched out his hand, and in his action, a miracle of God’s grace was revealed.

Imagine this guy on his national tour giving his testimony afterwards. What do you think he was going on about for the rest of his life? Do you think he stood up in all the other synagogues and said, “Let me tell you the story about the great day when I stretched out my hand!” No! He got up and he said something like this: “Let me tell you about how Jesus Christ healed me.”

Do you have a testimony like this?


The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.



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