April 11, 2020

The Hands of Jesus by Carol Harrison

We planned to have an Easter program during our Family Night at church and invite many guests to attend, but the virus cancelled our event. Long before we knew of the spread of COVID-19 and all the restrictions our lives would now include, I wrote some monologues about people who experienced the touch of Jesus during his earthly ministry. Our plans changed but the message remains unchanged. Jesus ministry, death, and resurrection offer His touch throughout history including during this time of isolation, sheltering-at-home, and social distancing.

During Jesus' ministry on earth he interacted with individuals and crowds. He taught and did miracles. There are instances recorded in the Bible of how his handsphysically touched people.

 In Matthew 8:1-4 Jesus touched a man with leprosy, the untouchable, the outcast, and healed him. Once he received the healing touch from the hands of Jesus, he could rejoin his community, his family, his church without the social distancing, and give up the isolation he had needed to endure.

In John 9 Jesus healed a man who had been blind from birth. No one paid a lot of attention to him while he was blind and begging at the side of the road. He had no social status, no job, nothing to call his own, and remained at the fringes of society. Yet Jesus chose to spit on the ground and make mud that he placed on the blind man's eyes. The blind man received the attention of the rulers and the crowds after he washed at the pool of Siloam and received sight. But Jesus noticed and touched him while he still remained isolated. The man did not know who Jesus was but he confirmed to others in John 9:25 "One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!"

Jesus had compassion on the crowds and loved the children. In John 6:1-4 we read about the little boy who gave his lunch to Jesus. I can imagine him thinking something like this, I'm just a kid, a hungry boy with a lunch of five loaves and two little fish. I'm here listening to this Jesus along with thousands of others but no one pays attention to a kid. Everyone is hungry just like me. No one else seems to have any food with them so I gave my lunch to Jesus. He took it in his hands and prayed. There was enough food for all of us with leftovers too. I'm just a kid but He took my lunch in His hands and fed everyone. 

In Mark 5:21-24 it was one of the synagogue rulers, Jairus, that sought out Jesus. He pleaded with Jesus to come and heal his twelve-year old daughter who was on the verge of death. By the time Jesus arrived at his home, the girl had died. Yet Jairus witnessed the hands of Jesus touch her and raise her from death.

Peter, one of the disciples, followed Jesus during those years of ministry. He listened to His teachings, saw the miracles, and spent time with the Son of God. In Matthew 14 Jesus, during the middle of the night,  walks on the water toward the boat with the disciples had taken to cross the lake. Fear gripped this band of followers. Impetuous Peter figures if this is really Jesus, he could just go to Jesus if asked to do so. I imagine Peter recounting that night. Jesus told me to come, so I did. I climbed out of that boat and started walking on the water to Jesus. Then I took my eyes off him. Boy those waves were big and the wind whipped them around me. I was afraid and I started to sink but Jesus reached out His hands and pulled me up. His hands rescued me. 

The hands of Jesus did so much more. They bore the nails Roman soldiers drove into them as they hung him on the cross. They bled for us - for our sins, our wrong words, actions, and thoughts. He willingly offered himself as the sinless Lamb of God because of God's great love for us. Yet the cross was not
the end but the way for Him to offer the ultimate, once-for-all sacrifice.The grave could not hold him. Hallelujah He arose. Jesus is alive.

Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, came to earth to pay the penalty for all of us. Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this; While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 6: 23 reminds us that His death and resurrection are God's gift to us. "For the wages of sin in death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Jesus had compassion on the crowds, on the individuals, and called all to come to Him to find rest, to find healing, and to find forgiveness during His time of ministry. Today Jesus still calls us to come to Him, to follow Him, to take His hand, and allow Him to touch us right where we are. He longs to forgive, to heal, to guide and direct, to comfort us in times of trouble and isolation, and to give us victory in our everyday lives.

Matthew 11:28-30 says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

 His hands touched the outcast, the children, those on the fringes of society, the synagogue rulers and their families, the loyal followers, and He had compassion on the crowds. The hands of Jesus bled for us when he took our place and became our sacrifice. He waits for us to come. As we remember the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus what do we need victory over, forgiveness in, and healing of our minds and bodies? Coming to Jesus and celebrating the meaning of Easter is never restricted by viruses.

Carol Harrison loves to share stories, from her home in Saskatoon, of everyday life and of the fingerprints of God in our everyday lives.


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