"When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them."—Luke 24:50
Nothing but blessings had ever come from the hands Jesus lifted up. Those were the hands that multiplied the little loaves and fed over 5,000 hungry people. Those were the hands that touched blind eyes, lepers, a coffin where a dead young man lay, and more. He continually "handed" out blessings and never made a charge for his services as a physician.
Now at his ascension those hands are again outspread as if to empty out countless blessings. It is as if he said, "I am keeping nothing for myself. All I have is given to you! I give you my life, my peace, my love." It was a fitting summary of his whole life!
A closer look shows that those hands were pierced hands; the scars are there! Those were the hands that were nailed to the cross, the hands that bled for us. They tell of the price that had to be paid before the blessings could flow. So the raised hands are the Gospel "in a nutshell." The path to blessing was marked with pain.
Those hands now hold the steering wheel of the universe! No one can reverse his decision to bless.
Way back in the 1960s, I was privileged to serve as the field leader for three "Summer Workshop in Ministries" teams. When one of them left after their four weeks of ministry, they gave me a gift: it was a sculpture of the painting entitled "The Praying Hands" by Albrecht Durer.
When Durer was a poor struggling artist, he was almost compelled to give up his studies and his painting because he had to go out and earn a living instead. However, a friend of his, who was also an aspiring artist in similar straits offered to take a job of hard manual labor to support them both so that Durer could pursue his career.
When success came to Durer, the hands of his friend had become so twisted and stiff that he had to give up all hope of ever becoming an artist himself. One day, seeing those hands folded in prayer, Durer thought, "I can never give back the lost skill of those hands, but I can paint them as they are to show my love and gratitude for a noble and unselfish character." That was the inspiration for the famous painting which all the world admires, "The Praying Hands" by Albrecht Durer.
Jesus' hands bled for us. In gratitude, may our hands be used for his glory. We sing,
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of your love.
May it be so now and forever!