In the time of Jesus a physical deformity was considered to be a punishment from God for the sins of the person, or possibly the sins of his parents. The Pharisees in our first reading were carefully watching Jesus for two reasons. First, they wanted to see if he would heal this crippled man, which would be a violation of the prohibition on performing work on the sabbath. The second reason was even more problematic.
On a certain sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught,
and there was a man there whose right hand was withered.
The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely
to see if he would cure on the sabbath
so that they might discover a reason to accuse him.
But he realized their intentions
and said to the man with the withered hand,
“Come up and stand before us.”
And he rose and stood there.
Then Jesus said to them,
“I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath
rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?”
Looking around at them all, he then said to him,
“Stretch out your hand.”
He did so and his hand was restored.
But they became enraged
and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.
The enraged Pharisees were less troubled by the fact that Jesus healed on the sabbath than they were with the fact that Jesus was able to cure him. The healing showed that not only did Jesus have the power to heal, but also revealed that he had the ability to cleanse the sins of this unfortunate man that led to his deformity. In the minds of the Pharisees the only remitter of sins was God himself. That is why they were enraged. Jesus could do things that only God could do.
Because of our faith we know and believe that Jesus is the Lord. How amazing to know that the Pharisees in his time feared and hated him because he revealed his true nature in signs that they understood only too well.