One summer between college semesters, I took a job for the Indianapolis Dept. of Transportation. I walked in to meet my new boss, a crusty war-horse in a wooden chair with those squeaky rolling casters on the legs. He said, “Come here, boy, and let me see your hands.” He grabbed my hands and started rubbing the inside of my fingers and palms. I knew what he was looking for. He wanted to see if there were any signs that I was accustomed to hard work. Were there calluses on my hands? Did my hands show the marks of effort and contact with forces that opposed being moved?
The same thing happened on the evening of the first Easter day. Jesus showed up in a closed room among people who knew him and had to prove who he was. They couldn’t believe it was him standing right in front of them.
How would he prove who he was? He said, “I am flesh and bone. Look at my hands and my feet. Here is the hard evidence of who I am – look at what I’ve done. His hands and his feet would convince them he was no imposter, no mere pretender. His hands showed evidence of the work they had done – healing, caressing, building, pointing to the goodness of God, and bearing pain for the sake of others. His feet showed how he walked the path of righteousness, fulfilling he law, doing the right things in love for people, and showing evidence of the pain inflicted upon him in his efforts to bring peace.
Look at his hands and feet. The marks of nails is evidence of a world opposed to the way of Peace.
At one point in Jesus’ ministry he said that a tree is known by its fruits. A tree is known by what it contributes for the good of others, not simply by its outer appearance. Poison ivy can look beautiful at times, but its fruits are not so good.
What if someone sees you wearing a cross around your neck, and asks, “Are you a Christian?”
What do you say? “Sure, can’t you see the cross I’m wearing? Wait, I’ll show you my nametag from church. Surely, that’s proof.”
And they ask, “Is that what it means to be a Christian? You belong to a club that meets every week?”
“Of course not. I believe Jesus rose from the dead and is alive today.”
“Really? Prove it. I’ve got to see it to believe it.”
Do the hands and feet of the church you belong to show the marks of working for the poor, and bearing the pain of others?
You are the Risen Christ who stands in the room trying to convince the world that He is truly alive. It’s important for the church to be recognized as the body of Jesus Christ. We are supposed to be the Light of the world – letting “our light shine before others that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.” Your actions of love for God and for your neighbors are the hard evidence that Christ is alive.
If people want to know if Christ is alive in your community, how would you prove it? Point to a book – the Bible? That’s proof? The only way they’d believe you is if they could see some evidence right in front of them. What shows up when you turn over your hands and take off your shoes?
Will you be able to say, “Look at my hands and my feet”?
Christ’s hands are the hands of service. Christ’s feet are feet that walk in the ways of righteousness. His hands and feet show the marks of bearing the pain of others.
Can you say, “Here is flesh and bone, it’s not an illusion. Here are the hands and feet of Jesus Christ”?