Summary: We focus on the hands of Christ, the mystery of his divinity, yet humanity and humility as he suffers for us.
One of the most complicated pieces of machinery in the world is the human hand. Take a look at your hand for a moment. We take it for granted because it’s there every day, it usually does the things that we want it to do. Your hand is one of the most delicate, yet complex parts of your body. There are six different muscle groups in your hand, and over 65 different muscles. 27 bones are in there. 35 joints. Nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, all working together in complete harmony, so that you can do things like open up a hymnal, or hold a cup of coffee without even thinking. It’s too complicated for scientists to perfectly reproduce with machines. The human hand – it’s just one of the many examples that show you how wise our creator is, that he would be able to make such a thing.
If you compare your hands to the person sitting next to you, you’ll notice some slight differences, but generally, they’re the same. Except for one set of hands. There is one set of hands that is more complex, more complicated than yours, or all the others. Who has the most powerful hands in the world, and, yet, for awhile, had the weakest hands in the world? Who has the cleanest hands in the world, and yet, for awhile, had the dirtiest hands in the world? Who has the healthiest hands in the world, and yet, for a moment, had the sickest, the most injured hands in the world? Who has the most joyful, the happiest hands in the world, and yet, for a moment, had the saddest hands in the world? Who would this be?
Of course, I am talking about Jesus Christ, our Savior, whose hands were mighty, and yet humble at the same time. Powerful, yet weak. Clean, yet dirty. Healthy, yet sick. Joyful, yet sad. Today, we see a side of Christ that we don’t always picture in our minds. How do you picture Jesus in your mind? Normally, we think of him as happy, smiling, laughing, calm, cool, collected, comforting, healing. But not today. Today Jesus is the opposite of all those adjectives. In Mark chapter 14, Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane, not happy, not calm, but deeply distressed and troubled. He confides in his closest friends and tells them that his soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. He was about to suffer and die for the sins of the world, and the prospect of doing this was making his whole body shudder with horror.
Have you ever felt horror, or intense sorrow, or deep distress in your soul? What do you do with your hands when you feel that way? Maybe you squeeze them together until your knuckles turn white. Maybe you fold them. Maybe you shove them into your pockets because they’re sweaty and shaking and you don’t want anyone to see.
Jesus was overwhelmed with sorrow. He felt horrified. And so he fell to the ground, put his hands together, and prayed to his heavenly Father. “Abba Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Jesus knew how horrible it would be, to grab with his hands the cup of suffering and drink it down. All the sins of the world, all the filth and selfishness and rebellion of the world would be in that cup, and all the eternal punishment that came with it. For Jesus, to take his hands, those clean, perfect hands of God, and to even touch that cup, let alone to drink it – that cup of filthy sin and terrible suffering – it was a horrible thing for him to consider.
If only there was any other way! But Jesus knew there would be no other way. This is how it must be. But Jesus didn’t shake his fist at the sky. He submitted to the will of his Heavenly Father, hands folded in prayer. What a strange picture we see in the Garden of Gethsemane, to see the most powerful man in the world, fallen on his face, wringing his hands, pleading with God.
Isn’t this the same Jesus who used his hands to still storms, and cast out demons, and heal diseases, and feed thousands, and even raise people from the dead? Isn’t this the most powerful man in the world? We do catch a glimpse of his power at his arrest. In John 18, we are told how Judas and a detachment of soldiers and officials from the chief priests and Pharisees came to arrest Jesus, carrying torches and lanterns and weapons. Jesus went out to meet them and asked them who they were looking for. “Jesus of Nazareth” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said, and when Jesus said that, they drew back and fell to the ground. Here we catch a glimpse of Jesus’ power, don’t we?