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His Hands

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Isaac Newton said, "In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God's existence 

We use our hands for the most wonderful activities: art, music, writing, touching, even for communication.

Just as painters throughout history have attempted to visualize the face of Jesus Christ, I find myself lately when I look upon a newborn child trying to visualize his hands.

I imagine them through the various stages of his life. When God's Son entered the world in the form of a human body, what were his hands like?

I can hardly conceive of God taking on the form of an infant, but our faith declares that he once had the tiny, jerky hands of a newborn.

G. K. Chesterton expressed the paradox this way, 'The hands that had made the sun and stars were too small to reach the huge heads of the cattle." And too small to change his own clothes or put food in his mouth.

Like every baby, he had miniature fingernails and wrinkles around the knuckles, and soft skin that had never known abrasion or roughness. God's Son experienced what each of us has as an infant, helplessness, and the loving care of a mother.

I can easily imagine the adolescent hands of Jesus, who learned the trade in his father's shop. His skin must have developed many calluses and tender spots, just as mine had done, and still do at times, even now.

Then came the hands of Christ the physician. The Bible tells us strength flowed from them when he healed people.

He preferred to perform miracles not in great numbers or all at once, but rather one by one, touching each person as he healed them.

When Jesus touched eyes that had dried out, they suddenly admitted light and color again.

Once, a woman who suffered with a hemorrhage, knowing that by Jewish law she would make him unclean, touched him.

He touched those with leprosy—people no one else would touch.

In small and personal ways, his hands set right what had been disrupted in Creation.

The most important scene in Jesus' life—the one we memorialize during Passion Week—also involved his hands.

Then those hands that had done so much good were taken, one at a time, and pierced through with a thick spike. My mind balks at visualizing it.

Can you imagine the damage the nail did as it sliced through one layer of tissue at a time, to expose the intricacies of nerves and blood vessels and tiny bones and tendons and muscles that are inside the hands and feet?

Roman executioners drove their spikes through the wrist, right through the carpal tunnel that houses finger-controlling tendons and the median nerve.

It is impossible to force a spike there without maiming the hand into a claw shape. And Jesus had no anesthetic as his hands were marred and destroyed.

Later, his weight hung from them, tearing more tissue, releasing more blood.

Has there ever been a more helpless image than that of the Son of God hanging paralyzed from a tree?

The disciples, who had hoped he was the Messiah, cowered in the darkness or drifted away.

That is not the last glimpse in the New Testament of Jesus' hands.

He appeared again, in a closed room, just as one of his disciples was disputing the unlikely story he thought his friends had concocted.

We can just imagine what he was saying, people do not rise from the dead, they must have seen a ghost, or an illusion.

At that moment, Jesus appeared and held up those unmistakable hands. The scars gave proof that they belonged to him, the same one who had died on the cross.

Although the body had changed in certain ways, the scars remained. Jesus invited Thomas to come and trace them with his own fingers.

Thomas responded simply, in John 20:28, "My Lord and my God!"

Our Hope.

Romans 6:5,

5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

“We are buried with him by baptism into death”—just as we are identified with Christ in His death, likewise are we identified with Christ in His resurrection.

My friend, there are only two places for your sins: either they were on Christ when He died for you over nineteen hundred  years ago—because you have trusted Him as your Savior—or they are on you today, and judgment is ahead for you.

There is no third place for them.

“We are buried with him by baptism [identification] into [His] death.”

6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

When Paul says your “old man” is crucified with Him, he does not mean your father; he means your old nature is crucified with Him. “That the body of sin might be destroyed”—the word destroyed is katargeo, meaning, “To make of none effect, to be paralyzed or canceled or nullified”—“that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

Paul is not saying that the old nature is eradicated. He is saying that since the old man was crucified, the body of sin has been put out of business, so that from now on we should not be in bondage to sin.

7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 

8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:

9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.



11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

“Reckon” does not mean I “reckon” or “suppose,” as some of us may use it.

Rather, we are to count on the fact that we are dead unto sin and alive unto God. We are to reckon (count on it) that our old nature lay in Joseph’s tomb over two thousand years ago, but when Christ came back from the dead, we came back from the dead in Him.

And that is something we can count on.

 

 

Throughout all of history, people of faith have clung to the belief that there is a God who understands the human dilemma. That the pains we endure on Earth are not meaningless, that our prayers are heard. In Passion, we focus on the supreme event when God demonstrated for all time that he knows our pain.

For a reminder of his time here, Jesus chose scars in each hand. That is why I believe God hears and understands our pain, and even absorbs it into himself—because he kept those scars as a lasting image of wounded humanity. He knows what life on earth is like, because he has been here. His hands prove it.

Thank you Jesus.

Praise the Lord.

 

 

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