Give Me Your Hand
In my daily Bible reading, I’ve been noticing how much is mentioned about the hands of our Lord. Again and again, the Gospels relate how He reached out to people in their need and hurt and sorrow. And when He touched them, they were never the same again.
His hands healed the sick
After He began His earthly ministry, great multitudes thronged about Him wherever He went. Those who were sick, blind, and lame — even those marked for death with the curse of leprosy — came to Him seeking to be healed and made whole.
When the hands of Jesus touched them, pain and suffering ceased, diseases and infirmities were cured, and lives shattered and ruined by sickness were restored.
His hands fed the multitude
It was the hands of Jesus that fed the multitudes who followed Him out into the desert place to hear His words. When evening came, Christ’s disciples urged Him to send the people away. But Jesus saw their hunger and weariness and, in compassion, desired to minister to them.
Taking a few small loaves and fishes — barely enough for one small boy’s lunch — the Lord blessed the food. Then His hands began to break and divide the bread and fish into portions which He gave to His disciples to serve.
We’re told that 5,000 men were fed that day, not counting the women and children. And when everybody had eaten all they wanted, there were twelve baskets full of leftovers! The hands of Jesus not only provided enough…but plenty to spare.
His hands blessed the children
Loving children as I do, my heart is touched to read the biblical account of how the hands of Jesus blessed and comforted the little children. He specifically told His disciples not to prevent them from coming to Him. And in my mind’s eye, I can see the Lord sitting down and opening His arms to them. As they eagerly jostled about, perhaps He lifted a toddler into His lap, shook hands with an older lad, touched the cheek of a shy little girl. And as His gentle hands patted little shoulders and smoothed tousled hair, the Lord blessed these little ones. Somehow I think they probably never forgot that day when the hands of Jesus touched them.
The hands of the Master
No doubt the hands of Jesus were strong and powerful. Growing up around Joseph’s carpenter shop, He probably learned to hold and use various tools to shape and assemble wood into useful items. His hands knew how to work.
It was those strong hands that later would grasp a whip as an indignant Jesus drove the callous money changers out of the holy halls of the Temple. Those hands were instruments of righteousness and justice.
It was those hands that reached out to lift and save impetuous Peter who, after walking on the water toward Jesus, took his eyes off the Lord and began to sink.
There are so many other references to the hands of Jesus that we could talk about. But the single most important mention of Christ’s hands is when they were nailed to the cross.
A very dear, life-long friend gave me a beautiful wall plaque, which I have hanging in my kitchen. It says:
I asked Jesus, “How much do You love me?”
“This much,” He answered, and He stretched out His arms and died.
Greater love hath no man than this, said Jesus, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).
And who is Jesus’ friend? The deeply spiritual and very religious? The learned and respectable? The proud traditionalists?
No, our Lord said that He was called a friend of…sinners! (Luke 7:34).
The Apostle Paul reminds us that Christ died for the ungodly… in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6,8).
It is strangely and beautifully significant that the first person to benefit from Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary was a thief on the cross next to His! Think of it — the first person to whom the Lord stretched out His nail-pierced hands was someone totally unworthy of His love.
Some time ago my husband, Jack, and I were guests at a Christian fellowship dinner in another city. During the meal I got acquainted and talked with a dear little mother who sat next to me. After a while, with tears streaming down her cheeks, she leaned over and whispered the sad story of a wayward daughter who had run away from home, mounted up many debts, and fallen to the very depths of sin, even into a life of prostitution.
“I pray for her every day,” she said, “and every time I hear from her I beg her to come home. My husband doesn’t make a lot of money, so I got a job to help pay off the debts our daughter made. I’m doing everything I know how to do to help her. Please pray with me.”
When I reached out to take hold of this precious mother’s hands to comfort her, they were rough and calloused, scarred by long hours of hard work, week after month after year. Those hands were scarred by love…by a mother’s selfless sacrifice and desperate desire to reach and save her wayward daughter.
As I held those hands and prayed, I was reminded of Christ’s nail-scarred hands that also were pierced for that lost daughter…and for every lost sinner in the whole world. They were scarred for me…and for you!
Just as the hands of our Lord ministered to men and women, boys and girls, wherever He went during His time on earth, so we today can feel the touch of His hands in our daily lives. His power is still available to us today.
In our times of pain and suffering, He is still the Great Physician who lays His hands upon us and restores our bodies. Whether our healing comes through medication, the skill of a surgeon, or by the power of faith alone, we know that He is the source of all healing.
When we are hungry and experiencing a lack of supply — when we’re empty physically, emotionally, and spiritually — Christ’s hands will bless and multiply the smallest things we have to offer Him and make it sufficient to meet our need…with plenty to spare.
When we’ve tried and failed — when like Peter, we’re sinking into the depths of trials and tribulations, with no hope in sight — He will come to us, walking on the waters of our stormy sea. His hand will save us, lift us up, and lead us safely to the solid rock!
My challenge to you
Let us be challenged to reach out in His love into every man’s world with a helping hand. Let us emulate our Lord’s great example and use the resurrection power that flows through us to minister to the needs of those around us.
Never forget that for many people in the world, their first glimpse of Christ may be in you…the only hands that will touch them in love, that will comfort, lift, and bless them, may be your hands.
Reach out whenever you can, wherever you can, to whomever you can. However unlovely or unworthy the person you find may be, remember that Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient…and that He loves that individual just as much as He loves you.
Do not be afraid to stretch forth your hand to anybody. For you minister, not in your own strength and ability, but in His love. So when you reach out, it will not be just your hand that touches them, but the hand of God through you!
I love the beautiful gospel chorus that cries out
Oh, to be His hand extended,
Reaching out to the oppressed,
Let me touch Him, let me touch Jesus,
So that others may know and be blessed.
Look around you today and find someone who is hurting or needy, someone who is in trouble. Ask God to guide you to someone who needs Jesus.
When you find them, don’t hesitate or delay. Go to them with a smile filled with the light of His love and simply say…
“Give me your hand.”