The door is bolted. The excitement that had been growing in hearts for three years had been crushed with shocking disaster. Fear replaced all hope. It has been said that we can live about 40 days without food, three days without water, and eight minutes without air. But we cannot live one second without hope. Into the gloom of that locked room of disciples steps Jesus – alive from the dead! Luke records: they were startled and terror-stricken that they were beginning to think that they saw a ghost . . . they were still disbelieving for sheer joy and still wondering about it (Luke 24:37, Williams Translation). Jesus comforts their fears and shows them his hands and feet. Hope and joy will forever be theirs.
Thomas missed the resurrection. Unless I see and feel . . . I won't believe (John 20:25). A week later Jesus appears again in that room, and Thomas is there. Jesus quotes Thomas' own words to him and says: Put your finger here, and look at my hands . . . (John 20:27). Thomas looks at the hands of Jesus and whispers, My Lord and my God! (John 20:28). Just seeing those hands, Thomas will never be the same.
On the road to Emmaus, two disciples walking home meet a stranger and invite him for a meal and an overnight stay. At the table, as Jesus breaks the bread, their eyes are opened and they recognize the nail prints in His hands. They run back to Jerusalem in joy, telling the greatest news “Extra” ever! Hope comes to stay looking at His hands.
For about 20 years Jesus worked in a small town carpenter's shop. His rough, calloused, strong hands were driven by excellence, patience, and skill. Jesus grew in His craft as He spent hours watching the hands of His father. He must have been just as attentive to detail when He gazed on the pruner's hands cutting the grape vine. Teaching of shepherds who tended and guarded sheep, Jesus remembered their stained, caring hands (John 10:1-10).
Our Lord saw life through the eyes of skilled laborers and common people. His stories were of farmers with weeds and wheat, of fishermen with nets, and a wife sweeping the house for a lost coin. He spoke of goats, seeds, builders, lamps, fruit trees, and unfinished towers – all of these needed surrendered hands linked to them. All man, this Carpenter. More man than any other who has ever lived. All men and women are self-butchered by sin. Each act slices away the humanity that God intended to give Him glory. Jesus, sinless, is our total Man from Heaven, the Alpha and Omega.
Hear the wind and waves on the water as Jesus walks upright and controlled through the swells and haze. At His command Come! Peter walks on water. Then Peter starts to sink. Swallowing water Peter gurgles, Lord, save me! (Matthew 14:29,30) The hand of Jesus is there, locking on Peter's stretched hand, then pulling him with a gush of water strongly upright. Arm in arm they walk to the boat.
See Jesus bolding a child on His lap. His hands are hugging and gentle as He affirms the eternal worth of a child in the Kingdom. Much later a man is cooking fish and toasting bread on a charcoal grill buy the shore at daylight. Out in the water is a boat with tired, wet and cold men; they have fished all night in vain. The cook yells to the men, Cast your net on the other side! They obey and are overwhelmed with a net full to breaking with fish. John says excitedly, It's the Lord. Bring some of those fish . . . come and have breakfast, says the Christ, the Man who cooks a meal for His friends (John 21:6-12).
The hands of Jesus were active doing God's will. See the crowd's faces as Jesus touches the leper, and white skin comes alive. Those fingers of love touch the faces and eyes of blind men and they see! In His pre-incarnate existence, see the hands of Jesus creating the world, scooping out the basins of the seven seas, and throwing seed-stars that multiplied into galaxies at His word, spreading beyond our sight and numbering (Colossians 1; Hebrews 1).
How could the Hands of the Creator end up like this? The Carpenter from Galilee is outside Jerusalem hanging on a tree. His carpenter's hands are nailed to a wooden cross, as He dies with our sins. God then raised Him from the dead. The “God with us” is alive forever. “Well done,” Savior, Victor, King of Kings!
See Him through the ages. Hands that wrote the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai. See fingers scrawling words of judgment on a wall at Belshazzer's feast. Rejoice as His hands closed the lions' mouths before His servant Daniel. See Him join three young men of faith and courage, punished in a fiery furnace. Divine hands air-conditioned every inch they occupied. The Eternal Carpenter works still, building us a house in heaven. He is now at work building His church. Also, like any carpenter, Jesus is good at repairing things: broken hearts and lives. His hands mean new hope.
It's not over. His hand on you removes the limits — for of Him and through Him and to Him are all things (Romans 11:36). We are parts of His body . . . Christ lives in me(Ephesians 5:30; Galatians 2:20). You are Jesus' hands on earth. Let Him do His miracle work through you this year!