March 22, 2015: Hands of Lent

Let us pray: Dear Savior, today as we spend a little time remembering Your passion, teach all of us that our time truly is in Your hands! And what glorious, uplifting, kind, and loving hands they are! Amen


TEXT: Luke 23: 46: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

Dearly Beloved By Our Hands-On Savior:

The human hand, as we understand, it portrays a vital role throughout Scripture. Already in Genesis, when God Himself creates Adam from the dust of our ground, even He is described with hands. “The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground.” God’s “hands” are not directly mentioned there, but they are understood. Just as the potter uses his hands to create the clay into something special, so God is our potter and we are the living vessels of His grace—according to St. Paul. So, these words of Christ don’t surprise us. As Jesus suffered His horrible death in our place on the cross, how better to finish His victory over Satan than to give His eternal soul to the loving hands of His Father in heaven: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

We sing hymn # 140 vs. 1 and 6: “Jesus I Will Ponder Now”

God wants us to use our entire being to praise Him for His great love extended to us in Christ. We are to rejoice over His willingness to do the humanly impossible: to be born as a humble human, to take on our sins and carry our sorrows that result from it, and to offer Himself, in the form of Christ, up as a complete sacrifice in order to make us right with God. Usually, we think this involves using our mouths, our brains, our emotions. But it also encompasses the use of our hands! Think of that glorious passage from Psalm 47: “Clap your hands, all you nations, shout to God with the voice of triumph!” Do your hands sing God’s praises? Do you use your hands to honor Him throughout the day? When Proverbs 10:4 says: “Lazy hands make a man poor” it isn’t just referring to financial poverty, it is also talking about spiritual poverty. And never forget: Christ’s bloody hands contained such poverty on the cross as He suffered and died for us. All this to make us rich eternally.

We sing hymn # 151 vs. 1 & 7 “Christ the Life of All the Living”

Lent is our yearly time to ascend Mt. Calvary to see what all our anger, selfishness, and pride have wrought. All our sins, from the most insignificant to the most horrific caused the death of God’s Son. As Isaiah says: “It was only because of His wounds that we could ever be healed of them.” This is why people “give up” something for Lent. That giving up is a graphic reminder that it’s really about giving up our sins, giving them all over to Christ to carry. Only His back is strong enough to bear them.

For the past 5 weeks we’ve been doing just that, giving up our sins, this Lenten season. Our mid-week services help us to make that journey up Mt. Calvary. And every one of you needs to make that journey, too. King David, an authority on carrying the burden of sin and being inwardly crushed by it, reminds us how vital it is to go to Calvary in order to have it removed. In Psalm 24 David asks this rhetorical question: “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place?” And then, in view of Christ’s suffering David answers it: “He who has clean hands and a pure heart.” And both clean hands and a pure heart are made possible because Christ’s hands have placed His forgiveness and His life into ours through faith!

We sing Hymn # 153 vs. 1 & 2 “Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted”

Uplifted hands is the ultimate sign of peace. Think about it. If police want someone to give themselves up, they yell: “Hands up!” Those raised hands cannot grasp a weapon any longer. Likewise, when you see someone you know and want to happily acknowledge them, you raise your hand and wave. It is a greeting of friendship.

Go back again to the Old Testament. In Exodus 17 we are treated to just how the Israelites defeated the Amalekites. We’re told: “As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up…and Joshua overcame the Amalekites.” Peace comes through strength not weakness. These heathen people had tried to destroy God’s people. They only way to achieve lasting peace was to break them in battle. And Moses’ hands played the ultimate role in this.

You all need to remember that at the end of each church service. When the pastor lifts up his hands to you and pronounces the benediction, God is extending His peace and the power of it to each of you. It’s a reminder that on Calvary, God’s Son splayed out His hands to you and that they were full of grace and truth! Yes, even on the cross Christ was strong! No one took His life, He willingly gave up it for us. In Him was the ultimate in peace through strength!

We sing Hymn # 158 vs. 1-4 “Glory Be To Jesus”

Before we conclude our little examination of these Hands of Lent, we need to ponder one more reference to hands. Psalm 31: 15 states: “My times are in your hands.” Yes, every aspect of our lives, every millisecond we draw breath is not dependent upon us at all. It all depends on Jesus Christ, our Savior. And since we know that His hands were strong enough to conquer death, we have absolutely no reason to fear the future or to run from it like those cowardly disciples in Gethsemane. So, next time you feel overwhelmed by a problem or situation far beyond your control, remember Christ’s words: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” If it was good enough for Jesus, it will be good enough for us, too. Amen