By Richie Thetford
Jesus said in John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Before we can live the Christian life we must first know how great this love is that Jesus described. Once we fully understand the love, devotion, and sacrifice that God’s Son has for us, then we can understand the true meaning of Christianity.
No greater love has ever been shown and no greater love will ever be shown than the love that Jesus showed to us, sinful men (Rom. 3:23). He died on the cross so that we can have forgiveness of sins through his blood. Jesus came to this earth without blemish to show us love and compassion, and die a sinless death. Why did he do it? So that you and I might have life eternal with him.
Hands Without Blemish
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only be-gotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Seeing that man was full of sin, God sent his only Son, a Son without blemish to fulfill all prophecy and redeem man from sin. God did this because he loved man (Rom. 5:8). When Jesus came to this earth he knew the wonderfulness of heaven, a place without tears, pain, or sadness. Jesus said that his kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36) and that he would prepare a place for us (John 14:1-3).
Jesus was sent to the earth by God to save man. While on earth, he was moved with compassion on the multitudes as sheep that had no shepherd (Matt 9:35-36). Jesus rejoices over each individual who will recognize him as being the Christ and as a result will seek repentance and follow him (Matt. 18:11-14).
Hands Full Of Love
While on earth Jesus’ hands were full of love as he taught how we should forgive. He taught that we should be willing to forgive our brother as often as he asks (Matt. 18:21-22), and said that when we do so our heavenly Father will also forgive us (Mark 11:25-26). Christ showed us the ultimate example of forgiveness while dying on the cross. In all his pain and suffering he was still able to say, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
His hands were full of love as he healed the sick, made the lame to walk, and gave sight to the blind (Matt. 4:24; 12:15; 14:14; 11:54). He further showed us his great love as he fed the hungry and raised Lazarus from the dead (Matt. 14:15-20; John 11:14-45).
Hands Scarred For Man
Though Jesus lived a sinless, compassionate, caring life, most men still hated him. We learn from the Scriptures that he was delivered to die because of envy (Matt. 27:17-18). A mock trial was given to God’s only Son (Matt. 27:27-31). Then Jesus’ hands were scarred for man as he was crucified, enduring the pain and agony, because he loved us (Matt. 27:46-50). Jesus died, his heart broken, as he bore the sin of all mankind. Yet today, many people willingly sin and trample under foot God’s Son after receiving the knowledge of the truth that Christ delivered to us. The Hebrew writer says, “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins…. Of how much sorer punishment, sup-pose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Heb. 10:26, 29).
After Jesus arose from the grave he later appeared be-fore his disciples. Initially, Thomas was not there (John 20:20, 24). When the other disciples told Thomas that they had seen the Lord, he said, “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 20:25). Eight days later Thomas did see Jesus and was able to see and feel his hands and side, and believing said, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Jesus told Thomas that he had seen and believed but, “blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29). John tells us that the things written were written so that all “might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:31). We need to have faith in Jesus Christ and believe in him even though we have not actually seen him. Do we have a devoted love for God’s Son? Do we have a love that will cause us to lay down our life for him as he did for us?
The Christian life is a life of service, duty, and devotion to our almighty God. He gave his only Son, a Son without blemish, to die for us and he did so that we might have eternal life, which we can obtain if we will obey him (Heb 5:9). Let us not be guilty of taking for granted the love of Jesus as he suffered pain and anguish on that cruel cross for you and me. May we always keep in remembrance the love that Jesus showed us (John 15:13), as we believe in, even though we have not seen, the scars on Jesus’ hands
The following story written by one of our sisters in Christ, Ellen Kyle, reflects the love of Christ as he died for you and me.
“What Happened to Your Hands?”
“What happened to your hands?” the little girl asked of the man who was standing there.
“How did you get those scars? Did it hurt? I’m sorry, I don’t mean to stare.”
The kind man smiled, then He sat down and placed her on his knee.
“You ask me about the scars on my hands love gave them to me.”
“You see, I once lived in a perfect home, a palace so very fine.
A beautiful place where no tears or pain or sadness would ever be mine.
But people are just like little lost sheep who don’t know the way to go,
They needed someone to give of himself, it’s the only way they could know.
So I left my home and came to earth to save man from his sin.
I loved them so much and I was the one who could help them the victory win.
I told them about forgiveness, showed love for all mankind.
I healed the sick, made the lame to walk and gave sight back to the blind.
I fed the hungry, ten lepers cleansed, I calmed the angry wave,
I brought a man named Lazarus, back out of his grave.
I lived a life that was sinless, I showed them it could be done,
If they would only trust and believe in me, God’s only Son.”
“I bet they were glad to see you,” she said. “I bet they were happy you came!”
“Some of them were,” he smiled, then said, “But most of them cursed my name.”
“They tried to change my words of love, to trap me in a lie.
Because of hatred, envy and hearts of stone, they wanted me to die.
They held a trial and accused me, not a word in defense I said,
Even those who called me friend, ran away filled with dread.
They beat me till blood ran down my back, placed a crown of thorns on my head.”
“Oh how badly that must have hurt,” the little girl quietly said.
“I stumbled as I carried my cross up the hill, my date with death, to meet.
I hung there in pain for hours with nails in my hands and feet.
All the sin of the world was upon me as I hung there on that day,
It was such an appalling sight my own father had to turn away.”
“Why did you let them do it?” she asked as a tear fell from her eye.
“Because I loved the lost so much that for them I was willing to die.”
I said, “Lord please forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
The little girl asked him, quite amazed, “You died for the evil ones too?”
“You were so kind and they were so cruel I really don’t understand why.”
She shook her head tried to blink back the tears and then she started to cry.
“When they put those nails in your hands,” she asked, “was that the most painful part?”
“No” He said, “what hurt the most was the pain of my broken heart.”
When the man had finished speaking, she looked again at his hands,
As she saw Him now, through eyes full of love, she began to understand.
No greater love would ever be shown to a world filled with sinful man,
Than the love that the little girl saw that day, in the scars on Jesus’ hands.
Guardian of Truth XLI: 9 p. 8-9
April May 1, 1997