HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
February 19, 2007, Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

Guilty hands made clean

Rev. Robert Hellmann, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Montrose

Hands. They serve you well as one of the most important parts of your body.

But what will your hands be doing shortly before you die?

Perhaps you will hold out your hands to God, spread your fingers wide, and say, “Look, God, I have kept your commandments, all 10 of them. I have made myself holy enough to enter heaven.”

Or, will you make a fist and shake it angrily at the God you refuse to believe in or worship?

Will your hands be nervously twitching while you try to ignore the whole idea that you have an appointment with God, and it’s just about your turn to see Him?

Will your hands be trembling because you are filled with uneasiness, fear, and guilt over the sins that you have piled up during your lifetime?

Take a look at your hands. Think of the things that you have used your hands to do in your lifetime. Recall the lust, anger, evil desires, and evil thoughts in your heart that led you to do sinful deeds with your hands.

Know that your hands are stained with sin, reflecting a heart that is full of sin and is guilty before God.

Now, look at another pair of hands. A bowl of water is brought to a man, who washes his hands and declares that he is innocent of “this man’s blood.” (Matthew 27:24) The man is Pontius Pilate.

He tried – but failed – to shift to others his guilt for crucifying Jesus. Neither can we evade or avoid the guilt of our sins.

Look at still another pair of hands. These are the strong hands of a young man who worked hard. Yet, these are gentle hands that held babies and little children.

They are loving hands that reached out to others to comfort, to heal, to lift up. These hands fed the 5,000, healed the sick, raised the dead, and blessed the crowds.

These are the innocent and holy hands of Jesus. These are the hands of a man, yes, but also the hands of God.

In Jesus, all the fullness of God lives. (Colossians 2:9) The eternal Son of God came down from heaven and became a man for us.

The hands of Jesus were nailed to the cross for us. There, Jesus suffered and died for us. By his innocent sufferings and death, Jesus made full payment to God for all the sins of our hands and our hearts.

Look to the hands of Jesus. His hands lift us up out of guilt-filled and troubled lives.

His hands comfort and encourage us with forgiveness.

His hands assure us of eternal life even as we await our appointment with God.

On Ash Wednesday, and in this Lenten season, fold your hands in prayer. Worship Jesus, the Savior meant for all people.

Guilty hands – ours. Innocent and suffering hands – Jesus.

Hands made clean by the blood of Jesus – ours.

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