Chapter 145

 

“Behold My Hands”

 

“And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them. And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.”                             Luke 24:36-53

 

Several women, who were disciples of our Lord, got up early in the morning and came to the tomb where the Lord Jesus had been buried. They were bringing spices they had prepared for the body of their beloved Master. But when they arrived at the tomb, “they found the stone rolled away,” and saw that the Lord’s body was gone. Then two angels appeared to them and said, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.” Immediately, they ran back into the city with the good news of the Lord’s resurrection. But when they told the apostles what they had seen and heard, “their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not” (v. 11).

 

            That same day two of the disciples left Jerusalem to go to Emmaus. As they walked along the Emmaus road, they discussed the events of the past three days. There hearts were heavy. Their minds were filled with confusion as they tried to understand the meaning of our Lord’s message to them in John 13-16, the prayer in John 17, and the significance of the Lord’s Supper he had taught them to observe. They were not able to comprehend why he had been crucified as a common criminal. Though he had clearly told them, the Spirit of God had not given them understanding; and they were terribly confused.

 

            As they walked along the way discussing these things, the Lord Jesus drew near and walked with them. But they did not recognize him. In verse 17 he asked them, “What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?” Then Cleopas explained to him why they were so perplexed (vv. 18-24). Then the Savior explained the Scriptures to them, telling them how that all the law and prophets spoke of him (vv. 25-27). When they got to Emmaus, the Lord went in to have supper with them. As he prayed at the table, their eyes were opened and they recognized him. Then he vanished out of their sight. The two disciples then looked at each other, and said, “Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures?” (v. 32).

 

Peace Commanded

 

Immediately, these two men went back to Jerusalem and found the apostles and their brethren and told them all they had seen and heard. As they talked, suddenly, the Lord Jesus appeared in their midst, and said, “Peace be unto you” (v. 36).

 

            What a gracious Savior Christ is! “How truly blessed is it,” wrote Robert Hawker, “to behold, the gracious attention of the Lord Jesus, in thus affording such repeated testimonies of the reality of his resurrection to his disciples, both when separate, and when collected together.” Here he is, standing in the midst of his disciples, who just three days earlier had all shamefully forsaken him. One had denied him three times. All of them had been backsliders and cowards. Yet, when our Lord stood in the midst of these men, there was not a word of rebuke, not a tinge of anger, not even an indication of disapproval. Calmly, lovingly, graciously, our Lord said, “Peace be unto you!

 

            It is as though the Lord, freshly risen from the grave, had said, “Your sins are all forgiven. My blood has washed them all away. I will not charge you with sin.” Truly, the love of Christ is a love that surpasses all knowledge. It is his glory to pass over our iniquities, pardon our sins, and hide our transgressions. He “delighteth in mercy.” In his infinite heart there is an infinite willingness to forgive sin. He is more willing to forgive than we are to seek forgiveness.

 

            Our all-glorious, ever-gracious Christ says to his fallen, sinful people, “Peace be unto you.” Where is the sinner who needs to fear such a Savior? In the hand of Christ there is mercy enough and to spare. He says, “Fury is not in me” (Isaiah 27:4). Christ is willing to save. Christ is willing to forgive. Christ is willing to restore the fallen. We who are so freely forgiven ought to love our dear Savior and willingly render to him the obedience of our hearts. And surely we, who have been so freely forgiven, will freely forgive our brethren. Those who follow the Prince of Peace will be peaceable themselves, gentle, kind, charitable, and forgiving. Forgiven sinners are forgiving sinners.

 

            Yet, as the Lord Jesus stood in the midst of his disciples, they were terrified. Even then they did not believe. Still, he was gracious. He tenderly condescended to minister to their weakness and infirmity. He said, “Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts?” (v. 38) He might justly have scolded them and said, “Where is your faith? Why do you refuse to believe me, even when I stand before you?” But that is not his way. Instead of dealing harshly with his children, our Savior gently stretched out his arms, and said, “Behold my hands.” If we can by faith behold the hands of our Savior, His hands will remove our doubts, assure our hearts, and give us peace.

 

Our Sovereign

 

Try to picture the Lord Jesus Christ standing before his trembling, terrified, unbelieving disciples. Try to picture him standing before your own troubled heart. He says, “Behold my hands.” These are the hands that made the world. They are the hands of our Sovereign God and Savior.

 

“For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker” (Psalms 95:3-6).

 

            He who is our Savior has the whole world in his hands. Why should we be afraid? What is the cause for our unbelief? Is anything too hard for the Lord? We only fear when we look to our hands. “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! Who hast set thy glory above the heavens…When I consider the heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained: what is man, that thou visitest him?” (Psalm 8:1-3). Behold the hands of Christ, our sovereign Lord. These are the hands that made the world (Psalm 19:1-6).

 

            The most absurd, foolish philosophy in the world is the philosophy of evolution. Learned idiots tell us that all the rare beauty, wonder, and precise order of heaven and earth simply evolved by chance. Yet, the same men, with all their science, technology, and art combined cannot even figure out a way to make a wiggling worm or a pesky gnat! An observation Thomas Watson made over 300 years ago is worth remembering, “To create requires infinite power. All the world cannot make a fly.”

 

            Jesus Christ is not a creature of God. He is God the Creator. His are the hands that made the world; and his are the hands that rule the world (John 1:1-3; 3:35).

 

“Behold the Man upon the throne

Who rules in heaven, earth, and hell:

That Man is Christ, our Savior God,

His throne should all our fears dispel.

 

The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.” The Lord Jesus Christ, our God and Savior, sovereignly rules all things. As Stephen Charnock wrote, “To be God and sovereign are inseparable.” Everything is absolutely dependent upon and controlled by the will and power of God. The beginning and the end of all things is God. Our Savior’s sovereign control of all things as God should control our hearts and give us peace, contentment and joy in all things.

 

            The hands of our Savior, who made all things and rules all things with total sovereignty, are the hands that rule all things for the eternal good of our souls (Romans 8:28). “If God be for us, who can be against us?

 

“Since all the downward tracks of time

God’s watchful eye surveys,

Oh, who so wise to choose our lot,

And regulate our days?

 

Good, when He gives, supremely good!

Nor less when He denies:

Even crosses from His sovereign hand

Are blessings in disguise.

 

Since none can doubt His matchless love,

Immeasurably kind,

To His unerring, gracious will

Be every wish resigned.”

 

Our Surety

 

Behold, my hands.” These are the hands of our sovereign God; and these are the hands of our covenant Surety and Good Shepherd. He said…

 

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28).

 

            This is every believer’s security, satisfaction, and assurance before God. — We are in his hands! God the Father put us in his hands as our covenant Surety before the world began. And as our Surety and our Good Shepherd the Lord Jesus assumed total responsibility for our souls from everlasting. The shepherd alone is responsible for the sheep (John 6:37-40). The Lion of the tribe of Judah said, from old eternity, “I will be Surety for them” (Genesis 43:9); and God the Father laid upon him all responsibility for our souls.

 

Our Substitute

 

“Behold my hands.” Can you see them? These are the hands of our blessed Substitute.

 

“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet” (Psalms 22:14-16).

 

            In a sense we all ought to be like Thomas. The other disciple said, “We have seen the Lord!” But Thomas said, “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). Each one must see Christ for himself. By faith we see in his hands the wounds of our Substitute (Isaiah 53:4-6). Do you see those wounds in his hands? Can you hear them speaking to your heart?

 

“Behold His hands, and hear them speak,

‘I freely all forgive,

These wounds were for your ransom made,

I died that you might live!’”

 

As I behold the wounds in the hands of my glorious Substitute, I am convinced that the justice of God is fully satisfied (Galatians 3:13), my sins are completely removed from me (Hebrews 9:26), the Son of God loves me (1 John 3:16), and I shall never perish (1 John 2:1-2).

 

“Five bleeding wounds he bears,

Received on Calvary,

They pour effectual prayers,

They strongly plead for me.

Forgive him, O forgive they cry,

Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”

 

Our Security

 

Are you terrified by your own weakness, insufficiency, and sin? Does Satan sometimes whisper in your ear, “You are sinking, you will prove a hypocrite at last, you will soon be mine”? Are you afraid? The Savior says, “Behold My Hands!” These are the hands of our security. We see this beautifully illustrated in Matthew 14:25-31.

 

            When Peter was walking to the Savior across the calm waters of the early morning, all was well. He felt so good. But when he saw the storm approaching, he was terrified and began to sink. Then he cried, “Lord, save me…And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him.”

 

            On the sea of life many storms arise. The waves are high. The wind is strong. The clouds are heavy. We sometimes think we will surely fail, and that our vessel will be wrecked. But just when we think we are sinking, the Lord Jesus stretches forth his hand and catches us! Then all is well. Did he not say, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee…I will strengthen thee; yes, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness”? Child of God, you are safe and secure in his hands all the time. He will keep you from falling.

 

“When the storms of life are raging, Stand by me;

When the world is tossing me, Like a ship upon the sea,

Thou who rulest wind and water, Stand by me.

 

In the midst of tribulation, Stand by me;

When the hosts of hell assail, And my strength begins to fail,

Thou who never lost a battle, Stand by me.

 

When I’m growing old and feeble, Stand by me;

When my life becomes a burden, And I’m nearing chilly Jordan,

O Thou “Lily of the Valley”, Stand by me.”

 

Our Solace

 

Is your heart troubled and your mind perplexed? Listen our Savior’s gentle reproof. — “Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold My Hands.” These are the hands of our solace. These are the hands of blessing and consolation. We read in verse 50, “And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.” He says to you and me, “Let not your hearts be troubled; ye believe in God; believe also in me.”

 

            Behold the Savior’s hands, and see how he blesses his children (Mark 10:13-16). — “Blessed is the man whom thou choosest and causest to approach unto thee” (Psalm 65:4). — “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” (Romans 4:8).

 

            Here is a sweet word of solace for God’s children. The hands that chasten us are the hands that bless us and make us whole. — “Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty; for he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole” (Job 5:16-17).

 

            Here is a word of solace for God’s servants. Every true servant of God is in the hands of Christ. — “He had in his right hand seven stars…The seven stars are the angels (pastors) of the seven churches” (Revelation 1:16, 20).

 

Our Salvation

 

Child of God, our Savior stretches out his arms to us and says, “Behold my hands.” These are the hands of our Sovereign, the hands of our Surety, the hands of our Substitute, the hands of our security, and the hands of our solace.

 

            And there is a word here for those who are yet the children of wrath. Sinner, by the preaching of the gospel, the Son of God stretches out his arms to you, and says, “Behold My Hands.” They are the hands of our Salvation! — Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear” (Isaiah 59:1). Trust your soul to the hands of Christ. He is able to save to the uttermost them that come to God by him. Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by him.

 

            The Lord Jesus Christ stands before our poor, needy souls in the gospel as one full of tenderness, with mercy in his hands, and love in his heart. Believe him. Oh, believe him! He is the great Savior of great sinners. He is a great Forgiver. Trust him, and you will find your transgressions put away and your sins pardoned forever. There’s mercy in his hands and grace in his command. He stretches out his hands to poor, needy sinners, and says, “Come unto me!

 

            The Son of God says, “Behold my hands.” Trust and be not afraid. But, let all refuse to trust him tremble. These are the hands of him who shall execute judgment in the last day. And it is written, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

 

            As the high priest was typical of our Lord Jesus in all other things, he typified our Savior when he lifted up his hands to bless them, with the blessing commanded by God upon them (Numbers 6:22-27). So our Savior, the true Nazarite having fulfilled his vow, the true High Priest of Israel, and the true sin-atoning Sacrifice, commands the blessing of God upon his people. Our great High Priest ascended to heaven as he was blessing his people, as if to tell us that his blessing is forever perpetual. And, as in the case of Manoah (Judges 13:20), our all-glorious Christ ascended in the fragrance of his own incense.

 

            Behold his hands, and worship him. Behold his hands, and walk before him with great joy, praising and blessing God. Your pierced hands, O blessed Savior, are the instruments of new creation, the source of all blessings, the symbol of redemption, forgiveness, grace, and salvation, the display of your infinite love for us. Let us, now and forever, behold your hands with gratitude, confident faith, and joy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

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