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THE NAIL SCARRED HANDS

John 20

Adrian Rogers

 

Would you take your bibles this morning and open to John

the twentieth chapter. In a moment we will commence reading

in verse twenty four. John chapter twenty. It's good to

hear the pages flutter, get the bible there, open in your

lap. If you didn't bring a copy of the scripture with you

most likely there's one in the pew right before you. Find

John chapter twenty.

 

Now, I want to ask you a question. What is the only man

thing in heaven? What is the only man made thing in heaven?

I believe the only manmade thing in heaven are the scars in

the hands of Jesus, the wounds in his feet, those scars yet

visible above in beauty glorified.

 

Now, I want to talk to you today about the scars of Jesus.

When you go somewhere on a vacation so many times you bring

back a souvenir. Jesus visited this planet and he brought

back as a souvenir, not something cheap and not something

temporary, but something if I understand the bible that

will endure for all eternity and bought at a fearful price.

As a matter of fact, the prophet Zachariah pictures the

Lord Jesus as he's coming again and people behold him and

they say what are those wounds in your hand? And he said

those are the wounds that I received when I was wounded in

the house of my friends.

 

He still bears those emblems of his suffering and over

yonder in the book of Revelation the apostle John saw the

lamb upon the throne but he saw a lamb as though he had

been slain. I take it the wounds are still there, a lamb as

though he had been slain.

 

"The Nail Scarred Hand" is the title of my message. Back in

the early twenties, one of the Southern Baptist great song

writers B. B. McKinney, was in a revival meeting in Allen

Texas and the evangelist gave the invitation and he said to

the people want you give your heart to Jesus? Will you not

Place your hand in the nail scarred hand. That phrase stuck

in the mind of B.B. McKinney, brother Jim, and that night

in the middle of a thunderstorm he wrote the song that we

sing, place your hand in the nail scarred hand.

 

I want us to think today about the nail scarred Hand. I

want us to think today of the nail scarred hand and I begin

to read in verse twenty four, "But Thomas, one of the

twelve called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

And the other disciples therefore said unto him, we have

seen the Lord, but he said unto them, except thy see in his

hands the print of the nails and put my finger in the print

of the nails and thrust my hand into his side I will not

believe. And after eight days again his disciples were

within and Thomas with them, then came Jesus, the doors

being shut and stood in the midst and said, peace be unto

you. Then saith he to Thomas, reach hither thy finger, and

behold my hands and reach hither thy hand and thrust it

into my side and be not faithless but believing. And Thomas

answered and said unto him, my Lord and my God."

 

One of the great attestations to the deity of our Lord and

Savior, Jesus Christ: had Jesus not been Lord and God he

should have rebuked Thomas for unmitigated idolatry, but he

is Thomas' Lord, he is Thomas' God, he is my Lord and my

God.

 

One of the things that helps confirm that to our hearts are

those wounds in the hands of Jesus, those nail scarred

bands. Three things the nail scarred hands speak to me

about. First of all they tell me beyond the shadow of any

doubt that Jesus suffered, Jesus suffered. Now, suffering

and pain is a problem and very frankly folks, it's a

problem that is hard for Christians to answer. So many

times Christians have pain that seems almost unbearable or

they see a loved one, a child suffer and they say God,

please do something about it. Oh God, remove the pain and

he doesn't do it and as a matter of fact, it seems to go

the other way and doubt comes. We begin to ask ourselves,

"why doesn't God do something?" And our minds begin to

think maybe God doesn't have the power to do anything about

it. And we say oh no, if he's God, he's got to be all

powerful. Then our mind says well, maybe he has the power

but he just doesn't care He doesn't love us enough. Then we

say well, what kind of a God would that be, a God who

doesn't love us? And then we say well, maybe he doesn't

love and he doesn't have the power. Or maybe there's no God

at all and doubt begins to grow in our heart and in our

minds as we try to explain the problem. 

 

The problem of pain in a human being is a problem to you

let me give you another problem. Not why do humans suffer,

but why did God suffer and why does God suffer? Those

wounds, yet visible above in beauty glorified, those prints

in his hands tell us that God suffered and God continues to

suffer.

 

Isaiah forty two, verse fourteen, God speaks of himself and

he says '" cry like a woman in travail." Now, we know that

God sings but have you ever thought of God crying? I cry

like a woman in travail, like a woman giving birth to a

baby with labor pains. God says in Isaiah chapter sixty

three and verse nine speaking of his people, in all of

their affliction he was afflicted. When God's people were

afflicted God himself was afflicted. God speaks in Jeremiah

chapter thirty one and verse twenty of that tribe of

Ephriumand he says is Ephrium, my dear son, is he a

pleasant child? For since I spake against him, I do

earnestly remember him still. Therefore my bowels are

troubled for him.

 

What does that mean? That's old English. It speaks at the

pit of the stomach. Any one of you who has a child that has

done wrong and gone wrong - and everybody who has raised a

child of maturity - has one time or another has been sick

in the pit of his stomach, he's hurt, he's hurt, and God

says "I hurt".

 

Now, when we have pain we normally don't chose it and

sometimes we can do absolutely nothing about it, but God

chose pain and if God wanted to he could do something about

his because he is God and he can do anything he well

pleases. And yet, God has chosen to suffer. It's obvious if

you think about it that God would suffer because of the

very thing that God has made of himself or God agrees to be

within his own eternal wisdom. God is a father. You can't

be a father or a mother without suffering. The story of the

prodigal son tells us that. The bible tells us that we can

grieve the Holy Spirit of God. Grieve is a love word.

Parents grieve over their children and the Holy Spirit

grieves over us. Your automobile can vex you, but your

children grieve you because grieve is a love word. And so,

we know of God as a father he suffers because of his

children when they do wrong. We know that Jesus is the head

and we are members of his body. Can the members of the body

suffer and the head not know it? As a matter of fact, when

any member of your body suffers it sends a message to the

head immediately. That pain is picked up in the brain and

were the old brain to register the pain your body would

feel no pain. Jesus is the head. When his church suffers be

suffers.

 

When the apostle Paul was on the road to Damascus his name

was then Saul. He was persecuting the church and Jesus

Christ met him and said to him, "Saul, Saul, why

persecutest thou me?" The point is obvious. Saul was

persecuting the church, but Jesus said you're persecuting

me.

 

I want to ask you another question. Can a bridegroom have a

bride that is unfaithful to him, flirtatious and

indifferent, can he not suffer? Jesus is the bridegroom and

the church is the bride. Is it not obvious that if we're

unfaithful and untrue to him, indifferent to him,

flirtatious with this world that his heart is broken? I

think I can say dear friend, that those wounds in the hands

of Jesus tell us one thing, that God...God has suffered,

and God does suffer.

 

Second thing, second thing, not only do those wounds tell

us that God has suffered and that God does suffer, but

those wounds also tell us that because he has suffered he

knows, he cares, he understands. When you hurt dear friend,

he hurts. The bible tells us we don't have a high priest

who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.

He was in all points tempted like as we are, Jesus in a

human body suffered and he knows exactly what you feel.

Those souvenirs that he's taken back to glory tell us "I

have been there." Jesus walked the dusty roads of Galilee.

Jesus wept at the graveside of Lazarus. The bible says when

he saw the crowds he was moved with compassion. The word

compassion is a composite word of two Latin words, "com"

meaning "with" and "patti" meaning "to suffer", "to feel".

He knows, he understands.

 

Those scars tell us that when we suffer, when we hurt, he

hears, he understands our pain. They, those scars are a

lasting image of his humanity and they tell us that the

pain of man has become the pain of God. They speak to us of

the greatness of his love. Whether you understand all about

pain or not those scars tell us dear friend, in your

affliction he loves you.

 

The Chinese, when they paint the word for love, they have a

very high form of love that they paint this way. They paint

an emblem for love and superimpose on it an emblem for

pain. I guess the best way that you could translate that

would be pain love. That's the highest kind of love that

they know, pain love. You see, God's love allows humanity

to suffer and then God's love suffers with humanity.

 

Now, why does God allows humanity to suffer? Why does God

allow anybody to have wounds that turn to scars? Well, if

you go way back to the book of Genesis right in the

beginning in the dawn of civilization after Adam and Eve

had fallen into sin, God came to the garden and God uh,

forgave the sin and God made it right but then God said to

Adam and Eve concerning the ground, "cursed is the ground

for thy sake, thorns and thistles would it bring forth to

thee." Now notice, God did not says that the ground was

cursed for their judgement. God said that the ground was

cursed for their sake because he loved then.

 

Ladies and gentleman, the cruelest thing that God could do

for falling humanity would be to allow them to continue to

live in a painless world. They'd never know anything was

wrong. You see, you need to be grateful for the pain. Pain

is a gift to tell you that something is wrong. Let me give

you a statement...quote, "if I have the right and the power

to eliminate pain, I would not use that right nor exercise

that power." Who said that? Well, God didn't say that but

he could have said that, and he would have said that and

I'll tell you why. Because God does have the power and God

does have the right and God has not done it and God is

infinite love. God has the power to remove pain and God has

the right to do it but he's not done it. Why? I'll tell Dr.

Paul Brand, an imminent hand surgeon and man who worked for

over twenty years with lepers and a lepertorium, said "I

would not eliminate pain because he said pain is too

valuable."

 

This is what he said about pain. He said "pain's value is

too great. Rather than eliminating pain I would lend all my

energies to doing all I can to help when that pain turns to

suffering." When that pain turns to suffering. Really, this

pain is proof of God's love. You see, pain has a protecting

purpose first of all. Dr. Brand told us that lepers lose

the ability to feel, they lose the ability to sense things

and, and so therefore there are so many things happen to

damage them because they do not have their protecting power

and propensities of pain.

 

When we run or jog - I bought some jogging shoes yesterday

and I read a little article about getting a good fit and

this thing said that first of all when you start you, you

put primarily the weight on then after you run awhile it

sort of moves out to the lateral side of the foot and then

he goes on to say that if you've been on a, a long hike

after a while when you start out heel to toe then before

long you're going to be walking flatfooted, like this, why?

Because you're body is constantly adjusting when this

muscle gets tired or worn it moves to this one and then

that one. You don't have to think about it, that's

automatic because there's censors in your feet that tell

you that, but a leper never feels that and he'll just wear

his feet off, just wear them out. He can't feel that. He'll

bee smoking a cigarette and it will burn right on down,

burn him and he will never feel it because he does not have

the gift of pain.

 

You turn your ankle, have you ever turned your ankle and

gone down just like that? I was with Joyce one time, we

were walking down a mountain side and all of the sudden

Joyce was flat on the ground. I mean, she was, she was

flat. I couldn't imagine what on earth had happened to her.

But she stepped on a little pebble and she turned her

ankle. Later on I read about that and I discovered what had

happened. There is a defense mechanism in your body when

your body senses that strain on the ankle immediately then

- just like that - faster than any computer can work - a

message is sent to the brain and back again and tells the

thigh and tells the calf, "take the weight off" and you go

down. You look silly, hey, but it's better than what could

happen, isn't it? It's better than putting a break or a

severe strain there and stretching the ligament. No wonder

the Psalmist said, we are fearfully and wonderfully made,

and God allows pain there for a protecting purpose.

 

Not only is there the protecting purpose of pain, friend,

there's the unifying purpose of pain. Pain has a way of

unifying the body. You see, if members of your body could

not feel pain you would not know they were members of your

body. I was reading where wolves sometimes, in the frozen

North, running across the tundra will get frost bite and

one will go numb. Do you know what they do? They turn on it

off, they don't treat it as a part of their own body

because feel pain. They think of it as something different

than a their own body. You see, Dr. Paul Brand went on to

say, "I can tell the health of a body in many ways by it's

ability to sense pain."

 

That's what the apostle Paul was talking about in the new

testament when he was talking about the church which is his

body and he said in First Corinthians chapter twenty, verse

twenty six, whether one member suffered, all the members

suffer with him, that is, in a human body when one part of

you hurts all of you hurts. You just can't say when you uh,

hit your thumb you don't say "my thumb hurts." You say "I

hurt." I mean, you hurt all over. You see, that's one of

the ways to know that the body is healthily, when one

member suffers every member suffers with him.

 

I've used this silly illustration before, but have you ever

hit your thumb with a hammer? I think of all the pain known

to man, that's right up in the top ten, don't you? To hit

your thumb with a hammer - and I don't know you very well -

but I think I know what happened when you hit your thumb

with a hammer. I think the very first thing you did was

grab it like that. I think the second thing you did was pop

it in your mouth and suck on it and I think the third thing

you did was do a little dance like this, isn't that right?

Sure. Now, you know why you did that? No, you don't know

why and I don't know why either. I mean, what do your knees

have to do with your thumb? I don't know but that dance

sure makes it feel better and, and when you do that little

dance it's just a way of saying that when one member

suffers every member suffers with him.

 

Pain has a unifying force and by the way, if the ability to

feel pain is a mark of health we ought to think about that

as a church, his body. What about the elderly? What about

the poor? What about those who are shut in? What about the

battered child? What about that person with a broken home?

Do we hurt when they hurt? What about that brother who has

been broken and fallen in sin? When one member suffers

every member suffers with him. I'm telling you dear friend,

there's a protecting purpose in pain. I'm telling you

there's a unifying purpose in pain.

 

There's another purpose in pain. Dear friend, there's a

correcting purpose in pain. Pain corrects. You put your

hand on a hot stove there's a message that says "it's hot

down here", it goes to your head, your head says "move your

hand" and you move it like that, you don't have to think

about it, it goes just like that, but that corrects it. You

see, dear friend, why does, why does God allow us to live

in a world that is cursed with pain? Because what we call a

curse is a blessing. The worst thing God could do, I say it

again, the worst thing God could do to sinful and fallen

humanity would be for them to live in a world uncursed by

pain. Because it is the pain that tells us something is

wrong that needs to be corrected and you can put it down

big and plain and straight, pain will never be removed

until the last vestige of sin is eradicated and then pain

will be removed because pain is God's message to fallen,

broken humanity that something is desperately wrong.

 

But you say but why do the little children suffer? That's

just how wrong it is, dear friend. Sin is so indiscreet.

Suffering is so indiscriminate. That's the unfair thing

about sin, but God has warned us that something is

tragically wrong with his universe.

 

But what does it say to us when we see those wounds in the

hands of Jesus? Those nail pierced hands. They tell us that

he has suffered, but not only do they tell us that he has

suffered, friend, they tell us that has willingly,

voluntarily identified himself with our humanity that he

might take that load, that he might bear that load, that he

might share that load with us.

 

The third thing those wounds tell us, not only has he

suffered and therefore not only does he understand how we

feel, not only can he be touched with the feeling of our

infirmity, but they also tell us that he has overcome, that

he has conquered. I remind you that those were scars after

the resurrection, those were not raw and bleeding wounds,

those were wounds that had been healed. The bible says in

Isaiah chapter fifty three and verse five speaking of

Jesus, "he was wounded for our transgressions, he was

bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace

was upon him and with his stripes we are healed." Dear

friend, there's victory in those wounds. He's saying it is

done, it is paid for and this is but a souvenir, this is

but an eternal reminder that your sin debt has been paid at

Calvary. You see, such love, again I remind you friend, he

didn't have to suffer this way, but he chose to.

 

I think you can understand. Those of you who have children,

let's suppose that you have a child who is away in school

and that child right now is in deep trouble. Now, you're

happy right now, you're looking forward to going to lunch

with some friends but now, let's suppose that your child is

on drugs, living in filth, you don't know it. Let's suppose

that your child is lying right now in the emergency room of

some hospital with his body broken and twisted. You're

sitting here in church relaxing. Now, if you could choose,

would you choose not to know and remain happy or would you

choose to know and begin to suffer. You'd say, "I want to

know." You mean you would want, voluntarily want to know,

you would want to begin to suffer? Sure you would. You

would say, "if my child is hurting I want to know so I can

hurt too." If my child is in trouble I need to know, I want

to come there, I want to invade that suffering, I want to

do what I can do.

 

I'm so glad God describes himself as a father, aren't you?

And I'm so glad that the bible says when my father and my

mother cast me off then when the Lord takes me up. He has

love dear friend. There are sometimes parents who say, "I

don't care what he does, I'm finished with him." I can't

imagine a parent like that. I don't want to make an idle

boast, but I want to tell you dear friend, I don't believe

there is anything any of my children could ever do or ever

be that would cause me to forsake one of my children. I

couldn't do it, it'd be impossible, so far as I know the

way that God has built me, but dear friend, the love that I

have for my children is but a miniscule example of the

great love of God who, when we are afflicted, he took our

affliction, and him who knew no sin, God hath made to be

sin for us that we might be righteousness of God in him.

 

One young man had wronged his father so many times, and the

father had been so patient and so loving, finally a friend

came to him and said, "if that were my son I'll tell you

what I would do"... and proceeded to say what he would do.

This father with a broken heart said, "I can understand

that" and he said "if he were your son that's what I would

do," but he said "he's not your son, he's my son and

there's a difference."

 

Dear friend, I want to tell you that the stories of Jesus

tell us that God so loved us, he was wounded for our

transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquity. That's

what the cross is all about. People don't understand that.

Phil Donahue doesn't understand it. Phil Donahue was

discussing his disenchantment with Christianity. This is

what be said and I quote, "how could an all knowing, all

loving God allow his son to be murdered on a cross in order

to redeem my sin? If God the father is so all loving, why

didn't he come down and go to Calvary?" Hahah, friend, that

is exactly what he did, he did come down and go to Calvary.

 

Second Corinthians chapter five, verse nineteen, "to it God

was in Christ reconciling the son, the world unto himself".

Do you know how God the father suffered when God the son

suffered? When our first child was born my pastor said

congratulations Adrian, then he said Adrian, you're going

to learn something. He said you're going to learn something

of the love of God and he said something that I have found

to be very true. He said before you have children of your

own you think of the great love that Jesus had when he died

for us, but after you have children of your own you think

of the a great love that the father had when he sent his

son, when be sent his son. Oh, that God was in Christ

reconciling the world unto his own.

 

My dear friend, those wounds yet visible above in beauty

glorified, those nail pierced hands that he takes as an

emblem of his humanity and a souvenir for from his visit to

planet earth, they tell us number one, that God has

suffered. They tell us number two, that because God has

suffered he understands and we can cast all of our care

upon him, for he cares for us and they tell us number

three, that he has conquered, he has overcome, he is a lamb

sitting upon the throne, a lamb as though he had been slain

and yet he has overcome. This resurrection appearance was

on the other side of bloody Golgotha when Jesus asked

Thomas to thrust his finger into the print in his hand.

 

Let me just conclude this message by saying this to you

this morning...dear friend, if you follow Jesus, are you

listening, if you follow Jesus you too are going to have

some scars, that's alright, that's alright. Let me give you

some scriptures. Colossians chapter one, verse twenty four,

who now rejoice in my sufferings for you and fill up that

which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh

for his bodies sake which is the church. Paul said 1, I

suffer. Paul said in Philippians chapter three, verse ten,

oh, that I may know him and the fellowship of his

suffering. If you serve Jesus very much you're going to

have some scars. Paul had scars. Do you know what Paul

said? Paul said in the book of Galatians, I bear in my body

the scars of Jesus, the marks of the Lord Jesus Christ. He

literally meant the brand marks. Now, this was literal

because he'd been beat, whipped and stoned, he had scars

all over his body, but Paul used an interesting word. He

said I bear in my body the stigmata of Christ. Now, what he

meant by that was the same word that we get our word, it's

the word we get our word stigma from. I bear the shame,

these marks, the stigma of Christ. I want to bring a

message on that pretty soon. The Marks of Christ.

 

Let me tell you what Paul did with those marks. He used

them to preach with and to authenticate the gospel. Are you

listening to me? If you suffer and those wounds heal that

may be your greatest testimony for Jesus Christ. The thing

that convinced Thomas were the scars. And your scars may be

the message that will convince some unbeliever today that

you cared enough and yet you've overcome and God will use

it. Listen friend, bring your wounds to Jesus, use your

scars for Jesus, bring your wounds for Jesus, use your

scars for Jesus.

 

One last thing, would you imagine Jesus right now upon his

throne, just close your eyes, imagine him on the throne,

see him in beauty glorified, see those ruby red scars in

his hand. Are you suffering today? In the pain, anguish,

doubt, confusion, he's reaching out that hand to you. He's

saying my child, I know how you feel. Cast your care upon

me, I care for you. I'm touched with the feeling of your

infirmity and I want to tell you if you're suffering here

today that you can place your hand right now, do it right

now in the nail scarred hand, just do it.

 

There's somebody here today lost, you're not certain that

you're saved, you don't know that you're right with God,

you don't know that you're right with God, you need to be

saved, you want to be saved, place your hand in that nail

scarred hand. Do it right now. Say Lord Jesus, come into my

heart and save me, forgive my sin and make me your child

and he will, and don't you take some sedative to block out

the pain. It's not a sedative you need, it's the savior

that you need.

 

Father I pray that many today will come to Christ. Holy

Spirit of God, bring conviction and help people to be

saved. For we pray in His dear name, the name of Jesus

Amen.