One Comment to “Take God’s Hand”

  1. Donald McMahon
    April 29, 2019

    “Take God’s Hand” (John 20:19–31)(4.28.19)
    John 20:19–31 (NIV84) Jesus Appears to His Disciples
    19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
    21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
    Jesus Appears to Thomas
    24 Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
    But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
    26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
    28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
    29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
    30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
    The word of God for the people of God.
    Title: Take God’s Hand
    Why did the Apostle John write his gospel account? So that you may believe. It was not a trick question. He explicitly stated in the last verse of this chapter. But not just you! Blessed are those, all those, who have not seen and yet have believed. By believing you may have life in his name; eternal life with your Lord.
    John 1:12–13 (NIV84)
    12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
    When I visualize this scene in the locked upper room, I see Jesus taking Thomas’ hand in his one hand while directing it towards the Jesus’ other pierced hand. Here Thomas, see where the hole is? Then Jesus guides Thomas’ hand towards the Savior’s scarred side. The combination of seeing with our eyes and touching with our hands, our fingers, compels belief.
    Thomas proclaims Jesus, “My Lord and my God!” Yes, Jesus, the Son of God, is very God of God. It is the desire of Jesus’ heart for us to take his hand; to see his wounds; to know those wounds are for us; and, to believe; to have faith; and, to be saved.
    If you have ever tried to lift a person, even a child, that has gone completely limp, you know that it so much harder than when they cooperate. A thing as simple as shaking someone’s hand is difficult if they offer a limp hand. When you catch someone by the hand who is falling, you expect a firm and cooperative hand in return.
    You all probably know the story of Jesus walking on water. All the disciples are frightened, thinking they have seen a ghost. Peter calls out, “Lord, if it is you, call me out onto the water.” Jesus says, “Come.” Peter is walking on the water when he looks away from Jesus at the wind and waves. Peter starts to sink. “Save me Lord, Peter exclaims.” Matthew 14:31 (NIV84) 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
    Do you think that when Jesus reached for Peter, Peter didn’t reach for Jesus? Of course he did. Peter wanted to be saved. He grasped at Jesus with every bit of strength that he had because his very life depended on it. And, so does yours, mine, and every person on earth. We would all sink into the depths and blackness of the deep and darkness if not for desperately clinging to the hand of God.
    Over and over again in the Gospels, Jesus is in the business of making human contact. The sense of touch is central to what it means to be a human being. And, Jesus goes out of his way to touch human lives.
    In Matthew 9, a ruler comes to Jesus and says, “My daughter has just died. 18 But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” 25 After the crowd had been put outside, he [Jesus] went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up.
    Matthew 8:14–15 (NIV84) Jesus Heals Many
    14 When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. 15 He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.
    WHEN Jesus ARRIVED IN BETHSAIDA, some men brought a blind man to Him and begged Him to touch the man. He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. Then He wiped some spit on his eyes, laid His hands on him, and asked if he saw anything.
    Jesus healed the man of leprosy when he touched him. In Luke 6:19 we read, And all the people were trying to touch Him, for power was coming from Him and healing them all. When Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter cut off a man’s ear. Jesus touched his ear and healed him. Parents would even bring their healthy children to Jesus. Mark 10:16 (NIV84) And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.
    In Jesus’ last words on the cross, he places himself into the Father’s hands. Luke 23:46 (NIV84) 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. Later, Jesus ascended into heaven, and he is forever seated at the right hand of the Father.
    Obviously, “the hand of God” is a figure of speech; and, one of great significance. Over and over again, variations of this figure of speech reveal God to us. Now, you will need to apply yourself to focus as we explore the depth and breadth of what God reveals about himself through what is called anthropomorphism. I will only give one or two scriptures of many for each instance:
    God creates by his hand
    Psalm 19:1 (NIV84)
    1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
    God holds the world in his hand
    Psalm 95:4 (NIV84)
    4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,
    and the mountain peaks belong to him.
    Job 12:10 (NIV84)
    10 In his hand is the life of every creature
    and the breath of all mankind.
    God’s creatures are fed from his hand
    Psalm 145:16 (NIV84)
    16 You open your hand
    and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
    God’s hand symbolises his power
    Daniel 4:35 (NIV84)
    35 All the peoples of the earth
    are regarded as nothing.
    He does as he pleases
    with the powers of heaven
    and the peoples of the earth.
    No one can hold back his hand
    or say to him: “What have you done?”
    God executes judgment by the power of his hand
    Deuteronomy 32:41 (NIV84)
    41 when I sharpen my flashing sword
    and my hand grasps it in judgment,
    I will take vengeance on my adversaries
    and repay those who hate me.
    Jeremiah 25:15–17 (NIV84) The Cup of God’s Wrath
    15 This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from my hand this cup filled with the wine of my wrath and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it. 16 When they drink it, they will stagger and go mad because of the sword I will send among them.”
    17 So I took the cup from the Lord’s hand and made all the nations to whom he sent me drink it:
    God’s powerful hand is used on behalf of his people
    Psalm 138:7 (NIV84)
    7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
    you preserve my life;
    you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes,
    with your right hand you save me.
    God’s hand ensures success for his people
    Isaiah 41:10 (NIV84)
    10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
    I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
    God’s powerful hand is invincible
    Jesus says in John 10:29 (NIV84)
    29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
    God’s hand protects his people
    Isaiah 41:13 (NIV84)
    13 For I am the Lord, your God,
    who takes hold of your right hand
    and says to you, Do not fear;
    I will help you.
    God’s hand fulfils his purposes
    Acts 11:21 (NIV84)
    21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
    God requires submission under his hand
    1 Peter 5:6 (NIV84)
    6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
    The works of God’s hand must be acknowledged
    Psalm 143:5 (NIV84)
    5 I remember the days of long ago;
    I meditate on all your works
    and consider what your hands have done.
    Think about the implications of God allowing the Messiah’s hands to be pierced. The Almighty specifically chose this means of Jesus laying down His life and paying the penalty for all sin. If Jesus had come to die in our day, his hands would not be pierced.
    We read in John 3:35 (NIV84) The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. God has demonstrated the extent of His love for us. He has allowed the beloved Son and the very hand of God to be pierced.
    While Jesus sits at the right hand of God the Father, he has a constant reminder of his finished work. He always bears and wears the wounds that he suffered for our sake. As he Advocates for us, he rubs his hands together and says, Father, remember, the price has been paid. The Accuser rails against us, Jesus holds up his hands, showing that we are forgiven.
    Look, their names are written on my hands.
    Isaiah 49:15–16 (NIV84)
    15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
    and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
    Though she may forget,
    I [your God] will not forget you!
    16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
    What is our proper response? Jesus enters the locked compartments of our lives where we are hiding in fear. Jesus wants to displace our fears and anxieties with peace and joy. He give us new life, abundant life.
    Jesus takes our hands in his hands. Feel where the nails were. You know you are forgiven. Feel the scarred side where he was pierced with the Roman soldier’s spear; where the blood and water flowed. The price has been paid. Jesus breathes on us and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” We cannot help but to declare, “My Lord and my God!”
    Take my life, and let it be
    consecrated, Lord, to thee.
    Take my moments and my days;
    let them flow in ceaseless praise.
    Take my hands, and let them move
    at the impulse of thy love.
    Take my feet, and let them be
    swift and beautiful for thee.
    Your Savior sacrificed his life in order to extend his pierced hands to you. Won’t you take the hand of God? See, touch, believe.
    Amen and amen. Let us pray.


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