BEHOLD MY HANDS
John 20:25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
John 20:26 ¶ And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. 30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
The wounds of Christ Jesus are immediately associated with our transgressions. Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 11 He (God the Father), shall see of the travail of his (God the Son’s), soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge (or, ‘by the knowledge of him’), shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
And in order to impress this matter of substitution, (the innocent dying in the place of the guilty), God repeatedly commanded the guilty to identify with the innocent by placing his hand on the head of the sacrifice. Here are but a very few verses revealing this command: Leviticus 1:4 And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. 3:2 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of his offering, and kill it at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron’s sons the priests shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar round about. 8 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of his offering, and kill it before the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron’s sons shall sprinkle the blood thereof round about upon the altar. 13 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of it, and kill it before the tabernacle of the congregation: and the sons of Aaron shall sprinkle the blood thereof upon the altar round about.
Therefore this was the mindset of the Israelite, brought up in this environment. The disciples, and especially Thomas, are very good examples. Luke 24:36 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. 38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. 40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.
You can reread the attitude of Thomas in our text, listed above. He demanded contact with the physical body of the Lord Jesus for his belief. And our Lord was willing for him to do so. Stating that the result of this offer was so that Thomas would be not faithless, but believing. Therefore to Thomas, still under the Old Testament mindset, Christ says, Behold my Hands!
But wait! What about Mary Magdalene? To her he says, Touch me not! John 20:17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. 18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
The answer to this difference is seen in the Lord’s last statement to Thomas. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. Thomas, representing the mindset of the Old Testament believer, needed to identify the Lamb of God by seeing the wounds for his transgressions. But Mary, representing all New Testament believers already knew who he was! John 20:16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Therefore there was no need to touch him. But there was even a command for her not to touch him, relating to us New Testament believers!
Mary then pictures the New Testament believer who views the very person of the Lord Jesus differently! 2 Corinthians 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Also Mary, at first, by sight, supposed him to be the gardener, until he spoke. Therefore, we also know him by the sound of his word! John 10:3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
For we are those whom the Lord spoke of to Thomas as being blessed that have not seen, and yet have believed. And we, in this gospel age do not require, nor are we afforded, a physical glimpse of the Lord for our faith! 1 Peter 1:8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
And Mary was immediately sent forth on a mission to reveal the very words that the newly resurrected Lord had revealed to her. So then is the church in the gospel age! Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
And just how do we come to saving faith in the Lord Jesus as our sacrifice, accepted on our behalf to the Father? Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. And our Shepherd is the Word of God! He is God, the Word! John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Therefore we do not receive faith by seeing! But we receive faith by hearing! Yet the Harlot’s religion continues to set forth pictures and statues, with elaborate ceremonies by uniquely dressed characters in ornate buildings, to ‘inspire’ those whom they draw into their group. But what saith the scriptures concerning this? 2 Corinthians 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
And what witness do we have of this word by which we believe? We have the witness of those whose eyes did see Him, and whose hands did “handle” him! 1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
2 Peter 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. 19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
True salvation is sovereignly controlled by the Holy Spirit! And as He issues true, redeeming faith, he passes this salvation on through these who have previously received faith! Therefore it is said to proceed “from faith to faith.” Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
Therefore to hear these eye-witnesses, and those who have come to receive the saving faith through their word, is to hear the Lord Himself. Luke 10:16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me. For it is the same Holy Spirit, imparting his word through them. John 14:25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Some have wondered if Thomas took advantage of the invitation from our Lord to pierce his hand into his side, and poke his finger into the fresh wounds of his hands. But what saith the Lord Jesus to him in verse twenty-nine? Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me. NOT because thou hast touched me, but because thou hast seen! Therefore we can safely conclude that the glorious presence of the resurrected Lord had so effected Thomas that his ill-spoken determination was immediately overcome!
So how are we to receive him in our day? We can only ‘see’ him by the eye of faith! John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
2 Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
And it is to those who see by the eye of faith and keep looking unto Jesus, who shall not fail to be ready upon his next physical appearance. Hebrews 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without (any more provision for) sin unto (a full and eternal) salvation.
Matthew 24:42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Jude 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
“O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus;
Look full in his wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strongly dim;
In the light of his glory and grace.”
Helen H. Lemmel 1922
And as he returns in his Father’s glory, the sight of his entire image, not just beholding his hands, will immediately, in the twinkling of an eye, change all the believers into their eternal glory! Luke 9:26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.
Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
Pastor Gene Breed
December 28, 2018