It was Sunday night, Jesus had risen from the dead and that evening he appeared to all the disciples except Thomas who had missed Christ’s appearance. The disciples had told Thomas that Christ had come into their midst, but Thomas said V25 “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.” It was 8 days after that and the disciples had gathered again, and the doors were shut when suddenly Jesus was there and he said V26 “Peace be unto you.” Thomas was there, and Jesus spoke words that would change Thomas forever: V27 “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.”
“Behold my hands” Behold, pay attention, perceive with your eyes, look. The word behold is used to emphasize something that is very important. He commanded Thomas to look at his hands. Thomas could have looked his eyes away, he didn’t need to put his finger into his hands, but as he looked upon the pierced hands of the Son of God, it changed this doubter forever.
Little hands: Look at the hands of Jesus Christ, at the reality of biblical truth, and perhaps if you are not saved, the words “behold my hands” will change your life. We will stand in the upper room and look at Jesus hands and see with your mind’s eye how these hands of Jesus came to be so scarred. Remember firstly that these hands used to be little hands, because 33 years previous Jesus was born. A little baby with little hands. But those hands which Jesus was showing to Thomas, grew by natural gradual process in the normal way and please note that this Jesus is the creator of all things. John 1:3 “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Those little hands are the hands of the creator, but the eternal Son of God once had little hands when Jesus was born of Mary, “unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)
Working Hands: But also remember that his hands were working hands. Joseph, the husband of Mary, was a carpenter and sons in those days always learned their father’s trade, so Jesus was a carpenter. The bible plainly tells us this in Mark 6:3 “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Judah, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.” Jesus was a tradesman. His hands were a workman’s hands. He worked with wood up until he was 30 years old. In Jesus’ day you couldn’t be a tradesman if you couldn’t do the work. Joseph taught Jesus the trade, and he could do it and that is all that counts.
Healing Hands: Jesus hands were healing hands. Matt 8:2-3 “And behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me lean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” He touched and healed the leper Matt 8:14-15 “And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever. And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them” he healed Peter’s mother-in-law from her fever. Matt 9:25 “But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.” Jairus daughter had died but Jesus took her by the hand and the little maid arose. His hands healed, he raised the dead with those hands.
Authoritative Hands: They were authoritative hands. John 2:15 “And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;” he drove the desecrators of the temple out.
Gentle, Helping Hands: They were gentle, helping hands. They broke bread to feed and help people, those gentle hands lifted a little child and set it in the midst of his disciples and said “except you be converted and become as little children you shall not enter into the kingdom of God.” Mothers brought their children to Jesus to have Jesus lay his hands upon the children. Matt 19:13-15 “Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them and departed thence.” Jesus hands were strong but they were also gentle. Children know the gentle hands.
Outstretched Hands: Jesus had outstretched hands Matt 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” These open outstretched hands invited people to come. Those outstretched beseeching hands inviting sinners to come to rest. They are still outstretched to sinners today. If you are labouring or heavy laden, if you are burdened come to Christ.
Bound Hands: But one day they were bound hands. Those hands that healed and helped, one day they were bound. John 19:1 “Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him” Jesus was bound when he was scourged. Scourging was a terrible introduction to crucifixion. No wonder Isaiah said that his visage was marred more than any man.
Pierced Hands: They were pierced hands. Outside the city wall of Jerusalem in front of the crowds of Jews and by the Roman solders, the hands of the creator and sustainer of all things, the Son of God, his hands were nailed to a cross where they were pierced. Those hands that had worked with wood were now nailed to a cross of wood. Those hands that had healed were now hurt, those hands that were strong were now submitted to death. Those hands that were gentle and helping now suffered violence, those hands that were outstretched to sinners were now curled around nails. His mother standing there, that is her boy, that is how she looked upon him. Those hands she knew when he was small. How many times had she lifted him up.. she was there when those hands were pierced and he was surrounded by those religious rulers with their heartlessness.
Why were Jesus hands pierced? Isaiah 53:5-7 “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” … that is why his hands were pierced, they were pierced for sinners. Sinner, believe those hands were pierced for you.
They are amazing hands, saving hands. He comes into the room where Thomas is and tells Thomas to “behold my hands” and its amazing because he was crucified and he was dead, and now Thomas looks at them and says “my Lord and my God.” Thomas’ doubts were gone.
Behold my hands. Sinner don’t ever take for granted that Jesus was crucified. If you look at his hands in your mind’s eye and then look at your own hands, ask yourself a question: which hands am I going to trust to keep me safe for all eternity. Your own hands have already failed you. You need to put your hand into his hands. His hands are outstretched to sinners still.. hold his hand, that implies trust. Trust in him, turn from your sin, because someday those hands that were bound and pierced, someday you will see those hands in the flesh holding the sceptre of the universe, when Jesus comes as king of Kings and Lord of Lords as judge of all the earth. He is coming to judge this world in righteousness, and you will wish you had put your hands in his long beforehand.
Believer, do you love those hands of Christ? of course you do. by the eye of faith, in those hands you see your pardon. If ever you doubt God’s love for you, you look at those hands and read Isaiah 49:15-16 “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands…...” A woman can forget her child but far greater is God’s love for you. The hands of Jesus, the Son of God who is God,, the creator and sustainer of all things are indelibly scarred for sinners.
The above notes were made by myself from the sermon by Paul Dowling of Whiteabbey Congregational (Reformed) at Sermon Audio