12:9-13 Christ shows that works of mercy are lawful and proper to be done on the Lord's day. There are more ways of doing well upon sabbath days, than by the duties of worship: attending the sick, relieving the poor, helping those who need speedy relief, teaching the young to care for their souls; these are doing good: and these must be done from love and charity, with humility and self-denial, and shall be accepted, Ge 4:7. This, like other cures which Christ wrought, had a spiritual meaning. By nature our hands are withered, and we are unable of ourselves to do any thing that is good. Christ only, by the power of his grace, cures us; he heals the withered hand by putting life into the dead soul, works in us both to will and to do: for, with the command, there is a promise of grace given by the word.
Mt 12:9-21. The Healing of a Withered Hand on the Sabbath Day and Retirement of Jesus to Avoid Danger. ( = Mr 3:1-12; Lu 6:6-11).
Healing of a Withered Hand (Mt 12:9-14).
9. And when he was departed thence—but "on another sabbath" (Lu 6:6).
he went into their synagogue—"and taught." He had now, no doubt, arrived in Galilee; but this, it would appear, did not occur at Capernaum, for after it was over, He "withdrew Himelf," it is said "to the sea" (Mr 3:7), whereas Capernaum was at the sea.
And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered—disabled by paralysis (as in 1Ki 13:4). It was his right hand, as Luke (Lu 6:6) graphically notes.
And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him—Mark and Luke (Mr 3:2; Lu 6:7) say they "watched Him whether He would heal on the sabbath day." They were now come to the length of dogging His steps, to collect materials for a charge of impiety against Him. It is probable that it was to their thoughts rather than their words that Jesus addressed Himself in what follows.