Sermon #189 Luke Sermons
Title: His Nail Pierced Hands
Text: Luke 24:50-53
Subject: The Blessings of Our Savior’s Hands
Date: Sunday Evening — April 8, 2007
Tape # Z-24a
Readings: Bob Poncer and Merle Hart
You are all familiar with the work of the high priest in Israel on the Day of Atonement. Once every year, on that particular day, the high priest would lay aside his glorious apparel and put on a common white robe and linen trousers, identifying himself with the common people. He would take the lamb appointed for sacrifice and slay it. The high priest alone would go into the holy of holies with the blood of the lamb. There he would sprinkle the sacrificial blood upon the mercy-seat, which covered the ark of the covenant.
This atoning sacrifice God required once every year for propitiation, so that the sins of the nation might be covered. Then the high priest would put on his gorgeous garments again, the robes of fine linen, scarlet and blue, with the sweet-sounding bells and pomegranates. He would put on his glittering breastplate, and place the mitre on his head.
Then he would come out in that gorgeous apparel as God’s high priest, lift up his hands, and bless the people of God in words like these — “The Lord bless thee and keep thee: the Lord make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).
This elaborate ceremony was ordained of God to typify the work of Christ, that One who was to come, who would be both the true Sacrifice and the true High Priest over the household of faith. In our text tonight (Luke 24:50-53) we see that type beautifully fulfilled.
(Luke 24:50-53) “And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. (51) And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. (52) And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: (53) And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.”
Here we see the Lord Jesus Christ lifting up his hands as our glorious High Priest and blessing his people. Our Savior had for a while laid aside his robe of glory and splendor, and veiled himself in human flesh. He offered himself, body, soul, and spirit, as a propitiatory, sin-atoning sacrifice to God. — “By his own blood he entered once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:12). And now our great High Priest, just as he was ascending into heaven, lifted up his hands to bless his people — “And he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.” I want to preach to you about our Savior’s nail pierced hands.
Having spoiled the grave, our Lord proved his power over things that are under the earth. Tarrying for forty days among men after his resurrection, he claimed his power over the earth itself. Then he ascended up through the air to show that the dominion of the prince of the power of the air was broken. Finally, the Son of God entered again into the heaven of heavens, claiming his throne of total and universal sovereignty as our blessed God-man Mediator. From the lowest depths of the grave to the highest realms of glory, Jesus Christ reigns supreme over the vast domains, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Our Lord Jesus might have gone straight to heaven on the morning of his resurrection; but he had reasons for tarrying on the earth for forty days. Before I come to my main subject, I want to briefly point out some of the reasons why our Lord remained here for forty days after his resurrection. In the days of Noah the waters of God’s judgment overflowed the earth for forty days. Our Savior was in the wilderness for forty days, where he was tempted of the devil. And now the victorious Christ tarries for forty days of triumph in the very place where he had fought the battle and won the victory. But why did he tarry here for those forty days?
1. Those forty days were sufficient to prove to all mankind that he had truly risen from the dead. He came forth from the grave, not as some sort of phantom or ghost, but as a real man of flesh and bones.
2. During this time, our Lord removed every lingering doubt from the minds of his disciples. He said, “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” (v. 39).
3. Again, he tarried here those forty days, because those instructions he had given to his disciples before his death needed a few finishing touches. He had yet many things to tell them, which they could not have understood before his death and resurrection.
4. But, primarily, our Lord Jesus tarried here for forty days so that he might issue the commission his church must follow so long as the world stands.
He said to Peter, “Feed my sheep…Feed my lambs.” He commanded them all saying, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. He that believeth not shall be damned.” He would not make his departure from the world until his final orders had been given. He seems to be marshalling up his battalions, like a mighty Captain, setting them in their ranks and giving them their marching orders. Now his army is commanded to march forward into battle, and onward to victory, with this word of promise — “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”
Now, just as he was leaving his troops upon the earth, and going up to assume his throne, “He lifted up his hands and blessed them.” Can you picture the scene? There is the Son of God with his apostles and disciples gathered around him. They have come out of Jerusalem to the Mt. Olivet.
· Behind them was Jerusalem, the city left desolate and awaiting destruction, and the place called Calvary, where forty-three days before he had suffered and bled as our Substitute.
· Just ahead were Bethany, the little village where he had performed the mighty miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead, and the home into which he had been often received as a welcome Guest, the home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.
· And just below them was the Garden of Gethsemane, where for our sakes he had wrestled with death and hell, sweating blood.
I don’t know what all took place that day. But I suppose that our Lord must have sung a hymn with his beloved disciples. I imagine that there were some final, personal words to each of the disciples. He must have assured Peter, comforted James, inspired John, and solaced Thomas. At any rate, he gave them his farewell message. Then, “He lifted up his hands, and blessed them.”
And while he was blessing them, he broke the law of gravity and began to rise! The disciples must have been astonished. He began to rise up to heaven, slowly, majestically, until he was almost out of sight. Then the astonished disciples saw a cloud between them and their Savior, and the Lord’s body was gone. “A cloud received him out of their sight.” Who knows what happened beyond that cloud? It was too glorious for human eyes to see, or for human ears to hear. But I expect that the angels began to sing, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in!” The keeper of the gate seems to enquire, “Who is the King of glory?” And one of the attending angels replied, “The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle…The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.” And now the ascended Christ sits as a King and a Priest upon his throne.
Come back to the text with me. I want to keep this one subject before your hearts, I want you to get a picture in your minds of those nail pierced hands — “He lifted up his hands and blessed them.”
Proposition: This is the thing that I want you to see — Every blessing of divine grace flows to us freely from the nail pierced hands of the Son of God.
1. The hands of our Lord were lifted up to bless.
2. Those hands, which bless us, are pierced hands.
3. Those nail pierced hands of our Lord now hold the scepter of total and sovereign dominion.
Lifted to Bless
Notice in the first place that — The hands of our Lord were lifted up to bless. — “He lifted up his hands and blessed them.” Standing there upon the Mount of Olives, anticipating that glory which lay immediately before him, our Lord Jesus wanted to bless his disciples. He had opened his ministry with a proclamation of grace; and now his last act upon the earth is a benediction of grace.
These uplifted hands are the hands of our Lord and Redeemer. He said to his troubled, fearful disciples, “Behold my hands.” When he had “showed them his hands,” their hearts were comforted and filled with joy.
· These are the hands of our sovereign Creator.
· These are the hands of our eternal Surety.
· These are the hands of our divine Savior.
· These hands blessed the little children.
· These hands stilled the tempest.
· These hands saved perishing Peter.
· These hands raised the widow’s son.
· These hands assured doubting Thomas.
· These hands comforted the troubled disciples.
Are you in need? Are you in trouble? Is your heart anxious, burdened, and pressed down with care? Listen to the Savior. He says, “Behold my hands!’ His hands are lifted up to bless.
This blessing was not at all unusual. The hands of our Lord were blessed hands. Throughout his earthly life, blessings flowed from them continually. During his earthly ministry, thousands received multiplied blessings from his hands. The four gospels are full of examples of blessings, which fell from the hands of Christ. The Lord Jesus went about doing good. His hands scattered blessings like a farmer scatters his seed.
When our Lord lifted up his hands to bless his disciples, as he was leaving them, he was just doing what he always had done. My friends, the richest blessing we ever get from the hands of Christ is no unusual thing. It is just a continuation of his old ways. If this day the Son of God lifts up his hands to bless you, as I hope he will, it will only be another link in the golden chain of his mercy. He has blessed us. He is blessing us. And he will continue to bless us. He is still the same.
But now Christ blessed his disciples in a somewhat different manner. He blessed them with a new authority. Before he had prayed for blessings upon them; but now he pronounces the blessing! His work of sacrifice was now done. The atonement was complete. And the blessings had been purchased. Before our Savior had looked up to heaven and asked for the blessings. But now, he looks down, as it were, from heaven and bestows the blessing, as one whose right and power it is to bless.
NOTE: No one except Christ has the right, authority, and power to bless us.
As he lifts up his hands, he seems to be saying, “Look here, my children, all blessings are in these hands.” These are the hands of our Daysman, the God-man Mediator.
Another thing that strikes me is the fact that — The blessing of our Lord’s hands was a full and complete blessing. Did you notice what our Savior said as he blessed them? Luke does not tell us that he said a word. He seems to have simply looked the blessing upon them. I can almost picture him. He stretched his arms upward and opened his hands wide, and waved them over the people. In that gesture he seems to be saying, “Look, my ransomed flock, all that I have is for you. All is yours. All that you need now, and all that you ever shall need is in these hands.”
Once more, the blessing of our Lord’s hands was a special, peculiar blessing. — “He lifted up his hands and blessed them.” There are common blessings of providential mercy, which our Lord bestows upon men indiscriminately. But this was a special blessing. It was not for the world, but for them. Yes, there are special blessings reserved for the Lord’s chosen ones. He is especially, particularly gracious to his own elect. Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. He laid down his life for his sheep. Here he blessed his redeemed ones. He could not and would not withhold one blessing from those for whom he had poured out his life’s blood. As our High Priest he had been discriminating in his prayer, and he is also discriminating in his blessing (John 17:9, 20).
(John 17:9) “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.”
(John 17:20) “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;”
Are we now blessed in Christ? If so, it is because we always were blessed in him (Ephesians 1:3-14). And we shall yet be blessed by those dear hands. There is no power in heaven, in earth, or in hell which can reverse the blessings of our Lord. He who has ascended up to heaven left us a legacy of blessings from his hands.
· Those hands will bless us while we live.
· Those hands will bless us when we die.
· Those hands will bless us in the judgment.
Those hands shall wave away his enemies into everlasting fire. And those hands shall beckon us to glory, saying, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Christ lifted up his hands to bless us, and we are blessed indeed!
Nail Pierced Hands
Look again at hose hands of our Lord, and notice in the second place that those hands, which bless us, are nail pierced hands.
Can you, with your mind’s eye, see him rising up into heaven? I do not know what the disciples saw last. Probably each one saw some distinguishing feature in the glorified Christ, which they best remembered. But I am sure that they all beheld those distinguishing marks in his hands. Those hands bore the marks of the Crucified One. We cannot mistake him. This is the One who was nailed to the tree. What do these nail pierced hands tell us?
Those nail pierced hands identify our Lord. They tell us who he is. As the disciples beheld those blessed hands, with the nail holes still in them, they knew that it was indeed their Lord. And, dear friends, when we see our Redeemer in glory, we shall know him by the prints of the nails in his hands. Yes, even in glory, our Lord bears the marks of his crucifixion. He appears in glory as “a Lamb that had been slain.”
For another thing, those nail pierced hands show us plainly the price of that blessing which Christ bestows. They tell us what he has done. Oh, he blesses us freely and bountifully; but who can tell what those blessings of grace have cost him?
There’s ne’er a gift His hand bestows,
But cost His heart a groan!
Yes, you are truly blessed, my brother; but every blessing you enjoy so freely is given to you by the nail pierced hands of your Redeemer. Had he not been nailed to that tree to die in your place, you could never have been saved. “The chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.” We get everything through those nail pierced hands of our Lord.
· Righteousness is in those pierced hands.
· Redemption is in those pierced hands.
· Pardon is in those pierced hands.
· Peace is in those pierced hands.
With the touch of his nail pierced hand of the Son of God heals the sin-sick soul. Sinner, you cannot get any good thing, except through those nail pierced hands.
· Those hands are the ladder which Jacob saw reaching from earth to heaven and from heaven to earth.
· Those nail pierced hands hold the keys of life.
· Those nail pierced hands open the gates of heaven.
· Those nail pierced hands are the only Refuge for your soul.
It is a great blessing just to look at those nail pierced hands. We would care nothing about merely seeing those hands with the mortal eye of this flesh out of curiosity. But, oh, what a blessing to look upon the nail pierced hands of my Redeemer with the eye of faith! Looking upon those nail pierced hands —
· I am made to weep and mourn because of my sin. It was my sin that pierced him.
· I know that he has carried all my sins away.
· I know that my salvation is finished.
· I know that I shall never perish! (John 10:28).
Oh, may God now enable you to look upon the nail pierced hands of his well-beloved Son! There is life for a look at the Crucified One!
By lifting up those nail pierced hands to bless his disciples, our Lord epitomized the gospel. Those hands were pierced in crucifixion, so that they might be lifted up in salvation. There is the sinner’s Substitute going up to heaven with those nail pierced hands; and as he goes he scatters the blessing of grace upon us. Sinner, the blessings of salvation can come to you only through the nail pierced hands of our Substitute. Fall down before him and ask him to stretch over you those nail pierced hands.
Third, I want you to see that the nail pierced hands of our Lord now hold the scepter of total and sovereign dominion. They are the hands of him who alone is the Sovereign of the universe. We look back to Calvary and see those hands pierced in our redemption. We look back at Mt. Olivet and see those nail pierced hands lifted up to bless us. Now, we look up to heaven and see that those nail pierced hands, which bless us, rule the world (John 17:1-2; Psalm 68:17-18).
(John 17:1-2) “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: (2) As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.”
(Romans 14:9) “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.”
(Psalms 68:17-18) “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place. (18) Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.”
The nail pierced hands of Christ hold the scepter of universal providence. “All thing were made by him; and he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16-17).
He’s got the whole world in His hands,
He’s got the whole wide world in His hands!
· All men are in his hands.
· All the demons of hell are in his hands.
· All events are in his hands.
King Jesus has power and control over all things, so that he might give eternal life to all those for whom his hands were pierced.
Those nail pierced hands, which bless us, rule all things for the church he redeemed with his own precious blood (Revelation 1:16; Ephesians 1:19-23).
(Revelation 1:16) “And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.”
(Ephesians 1:19-23) “And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, (20) Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, (21) Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: (22) And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, (23) Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”
Our Lord says, “I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.” And in those nail-prints the Son of God reads all the names of all his people.
· Those hands protect us.
· Those hands provide for us.
· Those hands preserve us.
· Those hands will present us faultless, unblameable, and unreproveable before the Divine Majesty in heaven.
In the resurrection morning we shall see the nail pierced hands of our Redeemer. What a glorious sight that will be!
Illustration: When Rachel held the hands of Jacob, they must have appeared most precious to her. They bore the marks of his fourteen years of loving toil for her. And when we see the nail-prints in the hands of our Lord, we shall see the marks of his loving toil by which he redeemed us.
Those nail pierced hands of our Lord hold the scepter of righteous judgment.
· Those hands will slay all his enemies.
· Those hands will be held up as our only plea and our only defense in that great day.
Illustration: Rowland Hill’s Dream
Now what is to come of all this? What shall we do? Have you seen Christ? Have you seen those hands pierced to redeem, lifted up to bless, exalted to save? — “Him hath God exalted with his own right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and the forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31).
· Those nail pierced hands are able to save.
· Those nail pierced hands are full of forgiveness.
· Those nail pierced hands should compel us to worship him.
· Those nail pierced hands should cause us to consecrate ourselves to the glory of our Savior.
· Those nail pierced hands should fill us with comfort and joy.
· Those nail pierced hands should inspire us with patience.
Those blessed hands, those nail pierced hands will accomplish God’s eternal purpose in all things. — “The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hands.” May it please the Lord now to lift up his nail pierced hands to bless you.
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