Why Did Jesus Heal the Man with Withered Hand on Sabbath?



Parallels Between New Testament and Old Testament

Withered Hand of King Jeroboam

Jesus Healing the Withered Hand Reminds Us of Two Things


Jesus healed many people while He was on earth, but the healings which were recorded mostly appear to have special significance..


In Matthew 12:10-13, it was recorded that Jesus healed a man with withered hand in the Synagogue on a Sabbath day. What significance does it have?



Parallels Between New Testament and Old Testament


In the New Testament, we find that many incidents remind us of what happened in the Old Testament. For example, Zechariah and Elizabeth having a child at senior age reminds us of Abraham and Sarah, John the Baptist reminds us of Elijah, and Herod killing babies under two years of age reminds us of Pharaoh killing babies around Moses' birth.


When Jesus healed the man with withered hand, does it remind us of anything that happened in the past?


It may not be immediately obvious to the current readers, but people who have been taught Biblical history, especially the Israelites, must be able to recall the following incident.

And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up (withered), so that he could not pull it in again to him. 1 Kings 13:4

Withered Hand of King Jeroboam


Jeroboam is the first king of the divided northern kingdom of Israel. After he became king, he was afraid that when the ten tribes in his kingdom go back to Jerusalem to worship the Lord, they may reunite with the southern kingdom of Judah and turn against him. He therefore made two golden calves and led his Northern Kingdom to worship in another altar in Samaria. (1 Kings 12:26-28)


When the idol altar was built and people were preparing to worship, an unknown prophet came out and cried against the altar (their idol worship). King Jeroboam therefore put forth his hand against the prophet. When he did so, his hand withered.



Jesus Healing the Withered Hand Reminds Us of Two Things


First, it reminds us of the prophecy given by this unknown prophet. He prophesied that a child will be born in the house of David, and idols will be destroyed. This prophecy came true in Jesus' time.

O altar, altar, thus says the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Jesus by name; and upon you shall He offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon you, and men's bones shall be burnt upon you. 1 Kings 13:2

Second, it shows us that the Northern Kingdom of Israel will be healed and their sins forgiven. We have shown in the above section that the northern kingdom of Israel was rejected because of its idol worship. When Jesus healed the man with withered hand, it is actually a prophecy showing that the sins of Israel will be forgiven, and its people will be accepted by God again.


We can see that the two incidents correspond to each other. First, king Jeroboam's hand withered at the altar, and the man with withered hand was also healed at the altar (Synagogue). Second, Jeroboam's hand withered on the day of worship, and the man with withered hand was also healed on the day of worship (Sabbath).