Being the Hands and Feet of Jesus?
“Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you. “Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:24-28).
“But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
“Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals…I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain …”Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation…” (Revelation 5:5-6, 9).
We hear and sing a lot of song lyrics that talk about being the hands and feet of Jesus. Several artists come to mind; Audio Adrenaline, Newsong, Matthew West, and Casting Crowns. Google the phrase and you’ll find this idea very prevalent in Christian music. And I bet we’ve even heard a few sermons and read a few books or blog posts that echo the sentiments of these song writers.
Let’s look at just one of these songs, one by Casting Crowns. Not only might it be the most popular of the songs that mention this idea of being the hands and feet of Jesus, but it poses the concept as a series of questions that are worthy of consideration:
But if we are the body
Why aren’t His arms reaching?
Why aren’t His hands healing?
Why aren’t His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren’t His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way
Although it’s trendy to speak in terms of being the hands and feet of Jesus, our focal Bible passages don’t make this seem very glamorous. Why? The hands and feet of Jesus were…
- dirty from touching the homeless and unhealthy, even lepers.
- pierced and wounded over people’s condition.
- bloody and permanently scarred for the sake of others.
- reaching out to the downtrodden and rejected.
- taking Him to places where people desperately needed Him.
And this is what we are called to if we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus, if we are to “deny [ourselves], take up [our] cross and follow [Him]” (Matthew 6:14).
Paul understood this and went to great lengths to show how much pain and suffering that was inflicted on him in the pursuit of living out his calling in following Christ. His description of his various persecutions and tribulations in 2 Corinthians 11:23-32 is very graphic yet reveals what is so often a part of being the hands and feet of Jesus; intense labor and incessant trial.
In Colossians we see the connection between following and serving Jesus and how being His hands and feet may not be glamorous…but it is necessary, joyful. and glorious:
“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me” (Colossians 1:24-29).
So maybe it is with good reason that Casting Crowns states this idea as a question: Why aren’t we being the hands and feet of Jesus?
Maybe because it is not easy, and it is not to be done for ourselves or by ourselves. It is a calling that demands our effort and His energy but, ultimately, it is for the sake of His glory and His Gospel, and by His power alone.
To be the hands and feet of Jesus we need the power of His hands and feet – the authority that’s inherent in what they have already done at Calvary and work they are doing in the life and ministry of His followers.
We can’t be Christ’s hands and feet without His.