When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.
The Last Sight
I was at my high school reunion. As I was registering someone behind me said, “Hi Tom.” I turned around, and I had no idea who it was. I must have gotten a wildly comical look on my face because my classmate said, “You don’t remember me, do you?” And I had to say, with great embarrassment, “I’m sorry, I’m not recognizing you.”
You see, I was remembering her the way she had looked when we graduated. But after a few decades, her appearance had changed, as had everyone else’s attending the reunion.
We remember people the way they looked the last time we saw them. Jesus knows this. So, he made sure the last time his disciples saw him, it was a sight to remember.
As Jesus was about to ascend into heaven, he lifted up his hands and blessed his disciples. What would the disciples have seen on those hands? Since Jesus had kept the nail scars on his hands for at least a week after his resurrection (cf. John 20:24-29), it seems reasonable that those scars were still there. Scars which reminded the disciples that Jesus had died and risen. And what had Jesus accomplished with his death and resurrection? Forgiveness. Forgiveness for those disciples, forgiveness for you and me. Did Jesus want his disciples to remember that? Does Jesus want you and me to remember that? Of course. So, it makes perfect sense that Jesus made his nail-scarred hands a key part of the last sight Jesus gave us of himself.
Picture this the next time your sins trouble you, the next time guilt rises in your heart. Picture those nail-scarred hands and remember that you are forgiven.
Wow! What a sight!
O Savior, when my conscience attacks me because of my sins, remind of me of your nail-scarred hands, that I might know for sure my sins are forgiven. Amen.