On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord (John 20:19-20).
Because the Lord's Supper is so precious to us, we sometimes make our participation in this meal of grace much more difficult than it should be. It is, after all, a very simple meal. Over the last two thousand years, this holy meal has taken place in the simplest and most unholy of places. Bread and wine can be shared almost anywhere. However, when believers meet with each other in Jesus' name, the bread and wine are so much more. They are beyond bread and wine. They are for us, the body and blood of Jesus. This is true whether we as believers share this meal in a beautiful sanctuary on a special day, in a prison cell under arrest, in a refugee camp displaced without a home, in a jungle far from civilization, or in a darkened room hidden from hostile eyes.
The Father has given us a simple way of remembering the significance of this Supper. Most of us are blessed to have a hand. Most of us have two. We seldom think of all the complex things that our hands do for us almost automatically. We don't have to think about all the many movements they make or the sensory readings they incorporate to do a myriad of jobs for us each day. For us, hands are simple gifts we often take for granted. But those among us who have no hands never forget all that hands can do. They remember even more profoundly the gift received from Jesus' hands.
When any of us thinks about Jesus' hands, suddenly hands don't seem so common. Take a moment and remember Jesus' hands. Hands that touched a leper. Hands that took dirt and spit, made it into mud, and lovingly healed the eyes of a blind man. Hands that took a dead little girl by her hand and raised her from the dead. Hands that broke five loaves and fed a multitude. Hands that washed the feet of unworthy disciples who were about to betray, deny, and forsake him. Hands that opened their fingers to receive nails that would pierce his flesh and hang him on a cross. Remember? Remember!
Our "normal" hands have five fingers. Each finger can be a reminder of the most amazing truth that Jesus makes real for us in his passion and resurrection — truth that Paul emphasizes in 1 Corinthians 15:
- Jesus died for our sins.
- Jesus was buried.
- Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day.
- Jesus appeared to his disciples alive in bodily form after his resurrection.
- Jesus ensures that our lives, when lived for him, are not lived in vain.
As we share in the Lord's Supper today, let's not keep our eyes closed so tightly that we forget to look at what is so common to us: our hands. Let's have our hands remind us of heaven's greatest grace. As we share in the Table, let's have our hands lead us back to the depth of Jesus' love made real in the Savior's hands.
Jesus became human flesh like us. His body was pierced and abused till it died. Thankfully, the Father's love was stronger than death. He would not allow the body of Jesus that was buried to be held in death by the power of hell. The Father broke death's grip on the Son because the Son loosened his grip on life for us. He opened his hands to receive the nails. His hands are now scarred so we can receive his love, mercy, grace, and victory... given now into our hands... with this simple meal of bread and wine.
Prayer for the Bread:
O Father of mercy and grace, thank you for my hands. Thank you that I can receive this gift of grace I see in Jesus' hands. The scars he wears now in his resurrected body are the reminder to me of your love made so real in the gift of this bread. I remember, dear Lord, what it cost you. I thank you, Jesus, for your sacrifice of love. I look forward to the day when the fingers of your nailed scarred hands wipe every tear from my eyes. Thank you for the grace I find in your hands. Amen.
Prayer for the Cup:
I ask, dear Father, that the Holy Spirit will fill my heart with a sense of Jesus' presence as I remember the blood he shed because of the nails. I touch the palms of my own hands as I receive this gift to remind me of his precious sacrifice and his name that I hold more precious than any other name given to humankind. In the precious name of Jesus, I thank you and remember. Amen.