A little boy, growing up in a village where his father was the local minister was outside playing. He was doing all of the things that a little boy does. He was climbing trees. He was swinging on the swing set and jumping out. He was rolling and playing with his dog. His mother called him for dinner and all of the family gathered at the table. His mother looked at him and said, “Young man, let me see your hands.”
There was some rubbing of his hands on his blue jeans before he held his hands up. His mother looked at them and asked, “How many times do I have to tell you that you must wash your hands before you eat? When your hands are dirty, they have germs all over them and you could get sick. After we say grace, I want you to march back to the bathroom and wash your hands.”
Everyone at the table bowed their heads and the father said grace. Then, the little boy got up and headed out of the kitchen. He stopped, then turned and looked at his mother and said, “Jesus and germs! Jesus and germs! That’s all I ever hear around here and I haven’t seen a one of them.”
Our hands can be an identifying characteristic. As you know, every one of us has a different set of fingerprints. (and that’s true apparently even of identical twins) We are all different, yet we can be identified by our hands. And the same was true for Jesus. On that first Easter, Peter and John gathered with the other disciples in that upper room to talk about the empty tomb and the possibility of the resurrection.
As they were talking, Jesus came and stood among them. They were frightened, but Jesus reassured them by showing them his hands and feet. How often had the disciples seen those hands of Jesus touch blind eyes so they could see?
How often had they seen his hands bless little children? How often had they seen him reach out hands and lift the cripple up and say, “Walk.”? They saw the hands of Jesus and they knew that he was resurrected from the dead.
The hands of Jesus remind us of his suffering – and they remind us of his love.
In the 1930s, there was particular a man who was an engineer.
He had built up a good business in London, but his main interest was lay preaching.
One day, in the course of his ‘day job’ he had to visit the railway works at Swindon where the great locomotives were built.
A young manager showed him round and after a tour of inspection, the two men walked to the gate of the factory. There they stood for a few minutes chatting, and then the visiting engineer thanked the young manager for showing him around.
Then he stretched out his hand to say goodbye. The young man also stretched out his hand.
Almost immediately the engineer dropped it – the younger man’s hand was such a cold, fishy sort of hand.
Quickly he realised his mistake for the other man looked embarrassed.
The young manager then explained that when he had become an apprentice he had met with an accident. A nail was driven through my hand, he said, and I’ve never been able to close it since then’
The engineer gently laid his hand on the young manager’s shoulder and said:
Nineteen hundred year ago there was a young carpenter in Nazareth. They drove a nail through his hand, and he too has never been able to close it since!