What does Mark 3:1 mean?The Bible is clear that Christianity is not a departure from Judaism—it is a fulfillment of it (Hebrews 9:23–24). Later in history, these two faiths will be considered completely separate religions. This makes it easy for modern readers to forget that Jesus is still a practicing Jew. He teaches on the seashore, in the mountains, and in packed homes, but like any good Jewish man He still returns to the synagogue on the Sabbath. Christianity is God's intended outcome for Judaism, and it is within the context of Judaism that Jesus lives and teaches the gospel.
Healing a man with a withered hand marks the third time Jesus has done something controversial on a Sabbath (Mark 1:21–26, 29–31; 2:23–28). Luke 6:6 says that this is a separate Sabbath from the one in which the disciples picked heads of grain from a field (Mark 2:23–28; Luke 6:1–5). This time, Jesus acts for the express purpose of confronting the Pharisees' uncharitable beliefs. The healing itself is almost lost in the bickering of Jesus' critics.
Although we are not told what town He is in, many assume Jesus is still in Capernaum. "Synagogue" is from the Greek root word sunagoge which means "a gathering or assembly." In reference to a religious center, this is a place where Jews gather to read Scripture and discuss what the passages mean.
Luke 6:6 specifies that the man's right hand is withered. The prevailing culture assumed—if not demanded—that people favor the use of their right hands. In a society dependent on agriculture and other labor-based employment, this would make it difficult for the man to work. The word "withered" is from the Greek root xeros, which means "to be dried and shrunken." The tense of the verb in Greek suggests that the man's hand had suffered an injury—this was not a condition into which he was born.