Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
The hands of the grieving ladies had been busy. They wrung their hands helplessly as their Lord, the Lord of life, suffered and died. And after watching their Lord be put through a farce of a trial, after watching Him be crucified, after watching Him die, after watching the soldiers pierce His side, after watching Him being removed from the cross, after watching Him be placed in the tomb and then sealed inside, the ladies prepared spices to anoint the body of their deceased, beloved Lord. Nothing would ever be the same for them, they thought. And they were right, though they could never have imagined the way the Lord would change everything. Their crucified, dead, and buried Lord had risen from the dead, and in doing so He destroyed the power of death forever.
Mary Magdalene touched the Lord with her hands, but that wasn’t good enough. Our Lord appeared to the disciples, hidden for fear in the upper room, as we will hear next week. He showed them His hands, and they believed. That same evening He appeared to two unnamed disciples on the road to Emmaus. He taught them what His life, His work, His death, and His resurrection meant, and then His hands proved to them who He was by breaking bread before them, just as He had done at the feeding of the 5,000, just as He had done when He instituted the Sacrament of the Altar. He then showed His hands and feet and side to Thomas, proving to him that Jesus is His risen Lord and God.
But He had spent His whole ministry proving Himself to be their God. When parents brought children to Jesus so the He might touch them, He was insistent: “The Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” And no one would know that better than the Son of God, for He brought the Kingdom with Him. When the blind, the lame, the deaf, and the leprous came to Jesus, He placed His hands on them and healed them. When He came upon the dead—the daughter of Jairus, the son of the widow of Nain, and even His friend Lazarus—even before He rose from the dead Himself, He brought these dead back to life. He proved Himself to be the Son of God, the King of Kings, the Lord of Life.
That’s all very well and good for the people who actually got to see Jesus with their eyes, who were touched by His hands, who walked with Him, who were healed by Him. But what about us, Lord? What about the people who walk as yet by faith and not by sight? Are we to wallow in despair because we cannot see His hands upon us? No. Our Lord does not leave us to walk in uncertainty. We may not see Him with our eyes, but He still touches us today. Just as He picked up the little children in His arms and blessed them, He does that today when the pastor takes a child in His arms and washes that child “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” And more than just blessing these children in His arms, He has raised them from the dead, and even more profoundly than raising Lazarus, for these baptized children will not face the eternal death their sins deserved. His holy, wounded hands lay His own body and pour His own blood into your mouth by the hands of His chosen servants who stand in His stead.
We have spent the past 40 days looking at our Lord’s hands and how they serve us. Today, those hands invite you to come to Him in this place for rest. His hands heal your soul by pouring his blood into you as the medicine of salvation. His hands provide for your needs of body and soul. His hands are folded in prayer over you, that you would be united to Him. His hands protect you from the strokes of Satan and your own sinful flesh. His hands have set you apart, consecrating you for service. His hands have bled into the cup you will come forward to receive. And His hands have proved that He is your good and gracious God, your Lord of life, and your Life in the midst of death. Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! In the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always. Amen.
Sermon Topics: Hands of Jesus Lent series