When I was a high school freshman, my first article was published. The piece, “The Hands Tell the Story,” was printed in our school’s literary publication. I thought of it now that I’ve developed a trigger finger, which has made me pay more attention to my hands. This has also led me to reflect on Jesus’s hands. True, the whole world is “the work of his hands” as God, and even now Jesus has “the whole world in his hands.” But I want to focus on the hands he took on when he became a human being, his flesh-and-blood hands.
In the womb of a young Jewish girl, the hands of Jesus took shape, and there he probably sucked his thumb. When he finally emerged in Bethlehem, this almighty God had a baby’s delicate hands with their shell-like fingernails. As Jesus grew, he patted his mother’s cheek and felt her kisses on his palms. Maybe she and Joseph blew on them to make him laugh. Jesus petted lambs, learned to clap, and hugged his mother and father.
As he helped in Joseph’s workshop, splinters pierced his youthful skin. After he took over the carpentry business, his hands grew strong and skilled. They also became calloused, and maybe more than once a hammer hit his finger.
After Jesus began his public ministry, he used his hands to heal. He didn’t hesitate to touch a pitiful leper when everyone else kept their distance, to lay his hands on a crippled woman and straighten her, to smear the eyes of a blind man with mud, to touch the tongue of a deaf and mute man, and to reattach the severed ear of a soldier who came to arrest him. When Peter was drowning, Jesus stretched out his hand to save him.
No wonder a song is entitled “Put Your Hand in the Hand of the Man Who Stills the Water.” Elvis and Johnny Cash have sung this song. See another version below.
Jesus served people with his hands. He took Peter’s mother-in-law by the hand to lift her and her fever vanished. Most astounding, he took the hand of a little girl and brought her back to life. He washed his friends’ feet and later prepared them a bread and fish breakfast on a shore.
The hands of Jesus His hands showed divine power in calming storms at sea and were effective in chasing greedy merchants out of the Temple. But they could also be gentle, as when he picked up children, sat them on his lap, and blessed them. Writing on the ground with his finger dispersed the crowd eager to stone the woman caught in adultery.
At the Last Supper, Jesus held bread and wine and made them the gift of himself, something he continues to do today through the hands of a priest. The next day, those sacred hands carried a rough piece of wood to Calvary. There they were pierced with nails, and the scars they left became his means of identification.
Now the hands of Jesus are glorified along with the rest of his body, as ours too will be someday as long as we hold fast to his hand. Remember, God said, “I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:16)—like someone who bears a tattoo of their beloved’s name.
• How can you have a helping hand today? How can you be like Jesus?