When I envision the hands of God, my mind drifts back to a picture of His hands around planet Earth. After all, didn’t we used to sing, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands?” The hands of the Creator of the universe have to be large and powerful, right? I find comfort in that fact, because when I am having big problems, I want God to have hands that can move mountains for me and guide me through the challenges. Better yet, His hands can take my problems away. God’s hands can hold me safely against any problem.
If you look at a concordance under “hands,” you will find that most of the references use the phrase, “the right hand of God.” I know that is a symbol for power, but the thought hit me, “God can deal with Satan with one hand tied behind His back.” Nothing is outside His control. In the Old Testament, the people of God found strength not in their own ability, but when God moved His hands for them. It is when they forgot the strength and power of God that they had their problems. Sin is always based on near-sighted thinking that somehow my world and my way is all there is. After being clearly warned, Adam and Eve decided to take things into their own hands. Brokenness and confusion followed which is still impacting our world today.
Ironically, one of the most powerful moments in history happened when God’s hands were tiny. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, His hands were the small hands of a newborn babe. Although His hands were beautifully formed, Jesus could not control their movement. Jesus’ hands moved spasmodically, just like any newborn babe. I am sure there were moments when His arms flailed before Mary wrapped in those swaddling cloths. For just a moment, think of the hands of baby Jesus as He is laid in the manger. Those tiny hands were all that stood between us and Satan and all of his demons.
I love the Christmas Carol, “Silent Night.” I also love to picture the quietness of a small town that has fallen asleep after a difficult day. I love to picture the streets clear of people or animals with everyone snuggling in for the night. Although no one could see it with the naked eye, a spiritual battle had been escalated with Satan and all of his demons on one side and baby Jesus on the other. With all the arsenal of Heaven, God chose to extend His love into the world by becoming flesh and extending Jesus’ tiny hands.
The Birth of Christ is as an important part of the Christ Event as the Cross and the Resurrection. All of the Old Testament prophecies and events have been leading up to this moment. God has come to man to restore fellowship with God. That relationship which had been lost in the Garden of Eden was now about to be reconciled. Our defense was found in a baby who could not control His hands or feet and could not speak. God had never been more vulnerable.
Then Mary wrapped those divine hands in swaddling clothes. So that the baby would be safe and warm, she bound His hands and feet to His side. Completely defenseless, baby Jesus slept through His first night on earth with the peace of knowing that His Father was watching over Him. Here was truly the Bundle of Joy. It was an unlikely place for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords to spend His first night. However, it was all a part of the Divine Plan that had been laid before the creation of the world. There would never be any palaces or royal robes, but the manger and the swaddling clothes were a perfect symbol of how Jesus would redeem the world. Armed only with the love of God, Jesus would begin a quiet revolution that would provide mankind a way back to God. Jesus was wrapped in His first robe of glory.
Thirty-three years later, the Babe of Bethlehem would become the Crucified Christ. That day on Calvary, the Roman soldiers stretched out those Divine Hands and drove nails through them. The Blood of Jesus began to drip from His veins. Those nail-scarred Hands would become the reminder that Christ paid the price for our salvation. His innocent blood was the only Hope we had of ever being forgiven by God and reconciled to God. Love so deep that we can never completely fathom it. He faced the agony of the Cross for you…for me. Jesus allowed the soldiers to wet His lips so that He could be hear shouting, “It is finished!”
Once again, the hands of Jesus were tied by His side when Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus wrapped in His grave clothes. Once again, Myrrh was used as a gift to Jesus. This time, not to celebrate Life, but to overcome the smell of death. Joseph and Nicodemus laid Jesus in a new Tomb and had the grave stone rolled into place. The Roman soldiers sealed the Tomb with a warning to not move the stone for fear of death. It would seem that all hope was gone. The One who had promised a new Kingdom and eternal life now lie on a rock shelf with His hands and feet tied. He was unable to walk or speak. God had never been so vulnerable.
On Friday, they laid Him in the Tomb. On Saturday, it would appear that nothing happened, but Jesus was taking His final Sabbath on earth. His work was done. He had paid the price for our salvation. As Jesus rested, Satan must have been having a celebration. After all, Satan had thwarted God’s plan! He would be in charge now. All mankind was his without any hope of ever knowing God. Satan could wreak havoc on earth without any restraints. All he had to do was make sure Jesus stayed dead for four days. Jewish people believed firmly that a person was not dead dead until the fourth day. Jesus had even predicted throughout His earthly ministry that “on the third day, I will rise again.”
Friday passed without any evidence of Satan’s defeat. One day. Saturday passed without such quietness and silence that Satan’s confidence was growing by leaps and bounds. Two days. However, when the sun came up on that third day…that thirrrd day, the light revealed that the Tomb was Empty! Sin, death and the grave had been defeated and would never reign again. The Hands that Jesus would reveal to Thomas later in that day were still nail-scarred, but those scars were now living proof of the victory won for us on the Cross. Jesus had proven that He is the Resurrection and the Life.
This Christmas, you and I are celebrating the beginning of the Christ Event. It flows from Bethlehem to Calvary to the Garden Tomb and to the Power of the Resurrection. The story of Jesus is not as easy to tell to a world that has chosen to take things into their own hands. Sometimes, it seems overwhelming, but please remember that God’s Hands are strong enough to meet every challenge that we face. He is not overwhelmed by a culture and a world that does not welcome Him. He told us there would come a day when Truth would be exchanged for a lie. The Hand of the God in human flesh is more powerful that all that Satan can bring against us.
Christ’s Hands will lead us home. Praise God!