Billy Graham - The Hands of Jesus
Now I want you to turn with me to the 20th chapter of the book of John, the 20th chapter of the book of John beginning with the 24th verse. "But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 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.' 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.' 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.' And Thomas answered and said unto him, 'My Lord and my God.' Jesus said unto him, 'Thomas, because thou hast seen me, you believed; but blessed are they...'" Blessed are they in 1977. "Blessed are they that have not seen".
hey have not been able to touch my body. They have not been able to see the nail prints in my hands. They have not been able to see the place where I was pierced by the spear, but they believe anyway. There's a special blessing and a special reward for them because they have to come by sheer faith. You have seen and felt and touched, as well as believed. That has a message for us. But I don't want to go into that whole dialogue because time is very short and I don't want to be very long tonight. I want to take one little phrase out of that and use it tonight. The hands of Jesus. The 20th chapter and the 27th verse, "Behold, my hands". "Behold, my hands". Do you know how many times the word "hands" are used in the Bible or the word "hand" is used in the Bible? 1,433 times.
Now look at your hands. Take them out in front of you and look at them a moment. It's the most versatile part of all your body. We climb with our hands. We push with our hands. We pull with our hands. We throw with our hands. We catch with our hands. We can tear with our hands. We can thread with our hands. We can sew with our hands. We can chisel with our hands. We can saw with our hands. We can drive a nail with our hands. We can draw a picture on a canvas with our hands. We can play an instrument with our hands, as we heard these men from Ireland a moment ago. We can even walk on our hands, as I've seen some do. And of all the five senses, the eagle can see better, the dog can smell better, and the horses can sense better and hear better with their ears. But none of the animals have the hands that are capable of such diversification as the human hands.
Think of everyday usage that we make of hands. If you want assistance, you say, "Lend me a hand". If you want to experience you say, "I'm an old hand at that". If you want to express a wasted life, you say, "Well, he's empty handed". If you want somebody who's greatly involved, you'll say, "Well, he's got his hands full. He can't do it". And the wedding ceremony, at least most of the ceremonies I've gone to and certainly all that I've conducted; some point in the ceremony I ask them to join their right hands. And then when the church officers are ordained in many denominations, what do we do? We place our hands on them as they did in the scriptures. Julie Eisenhower wrote a wonderful little book, not a little book, it's a big book, on interesting people. It's one of the most interesting books I've ever read. And one of the interesting people she wrote about was my wife. And they serialized that chapter in a number of newspapers across the country. Maybe they did here, I don't know. But she has the most remarkable description of my wife's hands that I've ever read.
And I thought, "Well, she's captured not only Ruth's life and her spiritual dimension". And you know, Julie was in our home for several days and she never took a note. She must have a tremendous memory because everything in that chapter is almost to perfection about my wife. A little bit about me. She got that straight too. But in reading the four gospels, they constitute a picture book of Jesus' hands. And I want you to see the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ tonight. First, the creating hands. "All things were made by him and without him was not anything made that was made". Paul in Colossians said, "Who is the image of the invisible God? The firstborn of every creature for by him were all things created visible and invisible". All the mountains, all the seas, all the stars, all the planets, all the galaxies were made by him. Those hands flung those galaxies into space from flaming fingertips, whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities or powers, all things were created by him and for him. And without him was not anything made that was made.
Jesus says in this chapter, "Behold, my hands". He also said it in Luke 24, "Behold, my hands". The hands that created the world. The Lord Jesus Christ's hands. And then secondly, there's the healing hands. We've been talking about people in the city of Cincinnati and this area tonight, hurting. People that are in the hospitals that are sick. People that are dying right this minute. People that have been told today that they have terminal cancer. People today. The Dean of our college, where we live. One of the most wonderful men I've ever known, fell out of a tree today. He's dead tonight. We don't know whether he had a heart attack or what happened yet, or whether he broke his back or his neck when he fell. One of our neighbors and one of our friends. Our hands, the healing hands of the Lord Jesus Christ. And he uses your hands as you minister. The hands of a doctor, the hands of a nurse, the hands of a social worker, the hands of the clergyman, the hands of the psychiatrist or the psychologist to talk to you, to heal you, to help you. But there's the hands of Jesus to heal your heart, to heal your mind, to heal your soul, to heal your body. If he wills.
Think of the leper crying, "Unclean, unclean, unclean"! The lepers no one could go near them. Social outcasts, little bells that would ring in those days, keep away, keep away. I'm a leper. Unclean, unclean. Jesus walked right up to them and put his hand right on the lepper. Can you imagine what that meant to that leper? I imagine years had gone by since a human hand had touched him, and Jesus touched him, and he was healed. The leprosy was gone. The healing touch of the hand of Jesus. Remember when he went to Peter's home. Peter's mother-in-law was sick, nigh unto death. Jesus went in and took her by the hand. She got up and began to wait on the tables. The healing touch of Jesus. The man born blind. Jesus calls him to get a little dust from the earth, collects the saliva and puts it in the dust and makes a little salve and puts it on his eyes with his hands and he's healed.
The touch of the hand of the Lord Jesus Christ in healing. Has he come into your heart to heal your hurt? The hurt between you and your wife. The hurt between you and your son. The hurt between you and your brother. The hurt between you and your neighbor. The hurt of poverty out of a job. The hurt of bad health. Whatever it is, let Jesus touch you tonight. He loves you. He wants to help, but he can't help if you keep the door closed. You have to open the door. You see standing there knocking with his hand, as we'll see in a moment. And then thirdly, we've been talking about earlier this evening, the hand of compassion. He said, "I have compassion on the multitude because they've now been with me three days and have nothing to eat".
So, he said, feed them. The hungry people of the world. He has compassion on them. He has compassion on you tonight in your need, and your hurt, in your place and your suffering. And as He looked out over the city of Jerusalem. He had compassion on that great and magnificent city. He knew that judgment was in store for the city. And it says that he had compassion on them. And he looks over Cincinnati tonight. He looks over Kentucky and Indiana and Ohio, these three great States and he has compassion. And then fourthly, there's the hand of blessing. "Verily. I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, He shall not enter therein". And he took up the little children and the scripture says he blessed them. I see little children here tonight. You may have gray hair and you may have a bald head, but in God's sight, you're a little child.
And Jesus wants to take you in his arms and love you and bless you, and change you and make you a new person and make your home a new place. And give you hope and purpose and meaning for life. If you'll let him, but you have to open the door. But you have to become as a little child. You can't come to Jesus with your shoulders reared back and with a lot of pride. You have to get rid of all that pride and say, "Lord, I'm a sinner. You died for me on the cross, and I'm coming to that cross. And I want your blessing. I want forgiveness of my sins". Has that happened to you? And then fourthly, there's the suffering hands of Jesus. And this is the thing we will be most impressed with when we see him in heaven, because you see when we get to heaven, we're going to find that his hands suffered when they drove those nails in.
And then when they picked him up and hung him between heaven and earth and the terrible jolt that tore his hands and the wound was so great that Thomas could put his own hands in those holes and Jesus will wear those scars for eternity. And when I look at the cross, I see at least three things. I see sin. The most sinful place in the history of the world is the cross. Jesus became the most sinful man that ever lived. You know why? The scripture says he became sin for us. He had never known sin. All of a sudden, he not only had the sins of the people of that generation, but he had the sins of all mankind, every person that will ever live. He had the sins on him. He became guilty of every single sin. Think of a person that had never sinned. And all of a sudden, every sin he's guilty of. His suffering was 10,000 times worse than that of the average man who would be crucified. He was suffering spiritually. When he cried "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me"?
The suffering hands of Jesus. I see sin, but I also see something else on the cross. I see the love of God. I can't describe it. There's no way to describe God's love. It's too deep. It's too high. It's too broad. It's too great. The New Testament writers had to invent a new word to describe the love of God. There was no word for love in the whole Greek language that could describe the supernatural love of God. So, they invented agape. And if he bore our sins on the cross, then God can still be just and still be the justifier. Because if God had just come along and forgiven you without somebody paying the price, He would have been a liar and his moral universe would have blown up and exploded like an atomic bomb. Somebody had to pay the price. Either you or some sinless person that would be acceptable to God. And that person was the Lord Jesus Christ.
The third thing I see in the suffering hands is that it's the only way of salvation. Neither is there salvation in any other, except through the name of Jesus. You can't be saved by your works. You can't buy your way. It's not for sale, but Christ offers it to you from the cross. It was the blood that was shed. Without the shedding of blood, there's no forgiveness the scripture says. And he shed his blood on that cross for you. It's the only way. The blood has to be there. Remember the night in Egypt, in the Old Testament, when the death angel passed over and those Jewish people had to have the blood sprinkled on the doorpost in order to be saved. The blood had to be there. And so, the blood has to be there for God to see. And He sees the blood of Christ that was shed for you. And He passes over when judgment comes.
And then there's another thing about the hands of Jesus. What kind of hands? The healing hands, the suffering hands, the nail scarred hands, but then his knocking hand. In Revelation 3:20, the scripture says "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come into him and will sup with him and he with me". Knocking at the door of the church, knocking at the door of your family, knocking at your door. Why doesn't he just push the door open and come in and save me? He never interferes with your will. You have a will of your own. That's the way he made you. He made you in his image. You can reject him. You can go to your grave rejecting Christ and there's nothing God can do about it. He will do everything in His power to warn you. He'll do everything in His power to bring incidents across your path to stop you. But He won't trespass on your will. That's something you have to decide.
You have to say, I will receive him as my Savior and my Lord. And so your will is involved. You have to invite him. If you don't invite him in, he won't come in. He'll not push the door open. What motivates a person to open the door? Well, I was talking to a person, just before I came to Cincinnati, about Jesus Christ. We met on the plane. He told me that he'd been converted a few months earlier. And I said, "How were you converted"? "Well," he said, "we had a child, our only child. She was killed in an automobile wreck". And he said, "I knew that I'd been resisting God for a long time". And he said, "As I stood there and watched that little casket go down into the grave, I said, 'Lord Jesus, come in.' And you know, I began to realize that God had to take my little child to get me into the kingdom of heaven". And he said, "I often wondered at the love of God". He said, "Even in my tears, I knew".
What motivates you? A railroad engineer fell out of the train and it went across his leg and he lost his leg. And he said, "I was there cut the darkness. Nobody knew I'd fallen. I lay there bleeding. And I felt Jesus knocking in my heart's door". And he said, "I let him in". He's knocking at your heart's door. Can you hear Him? And as you get older, you can barely hear it, because your heart gets harder and harder and harder. He that hardens his heart being often reproved. That means being often with knocking on your door and you don't do anything about it. God will still speak, but you can't, you can't hear anymore. The Bible teaches that there's a place beyond which you cross over a line. I'm not quite sure where it is and when it is, but it's there. That's the reason he says, "Harden not your heart".
Listen to the knock. And then sixthly, there's the outstretched hands of the Lord Jesus, stretching his hands for you and saying, Jim, Bill, Susie, Mary, I love you. I died for you. Come let me put my arm around you. Let me be your brother. Let me be your husband, your wife. Let me be all that you need in your soul and your heart and your mind because you see, it's not just to save you from sin and save you for eternity. But it's to save you right now. To walk with you. He'll free you tonight. If you'll let him. Those outstretched hands like the master violinist, He will touch you and bring beautiful music out of your life because he's the master. And he's knocking on your heart's door tonight with those wonderful hands of his, that created the universe. Will you open the door and let him in?
You have to open. You may be a member of the church. You may be Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, or you may not have any church affiliation. You may not have any religion. I don't know all. You may be a deacon in the church. You may be singing in the choir, but you know Jesus is knocking at your heart's door. You want to make sure of your relationship to him tonight. You come. I'm going to ask you to get up out of your seat right now, hundreds of you and come and stand here in front and say, by coming, I want Christ into my heart. I want to open the door and let him in. If you're with friends or relatives, they'll wait. If you've come in a bus, they'll wait. And after you've all come, I'm going to say a word to all of you, and have a prayer with you, and give you some literature. And you can go back and join your friends. If you come from that top balcony it takes nearly two minutes, so start right now quickly. Many of you, hundreds of you, you come and let Christ come into your heart and make you a new person right now, many people are already on the way you get up and come with them.
You that are watching by television can already see that hundreds of people are coming here in this beautiful Coliseum in Cincinnati. They're coming to receive Christ. They're opening their hearts' door to let him in. You can do the same wherever you are. Receive Christ as your Lord and Savior right now. Open the door and let him in. Let his hand touch you. He'll forgive you, change you and make you a new person. God help you to make that decision, and be sure and go to church on the Lord's day.