Faith, Jesus

These 33-year-old hands

I’m looking at my hands in the shower as the water runs over them, filling up the liminal lines, smoothing the ridges, the whorls that make up the unique geography of my skin.

These 33-year-old hands.

I’m thinking that 33 is how old Jesus was when he died. It’s a sobering thought. Who he is, who I am. What he was prepared to die for, what I am prepared to die for. His ministry, my ministry. His relationship with Father, my relationship with Father. His body, my body. And our hands.

My hands;
they smooth out sheets…
spread peanut butter sandwiches…
stick Star Wars bandaids on knees…
tap-tap-tap on computer keys…
swipe hair from eyes…
stir soup…
grip steering wheel…
cup faces.

His hands;
they gestured in emphasis of teachings…
washed dusty feet…
brushed tears from eyes…
rubbed forehead and temples…
clasped tight under a murmuring mouth…
stroked the fetlock of a donkey…
turned tables over…
ripped bread in two…

His hands invited brute nails through flesh and bone.

I look at my own pale hands, veins blue, pinked at the creases, splayed like a street map; and imagine. Imagine something like roofing nails, or worse, the steel pegs driven into railway sleepers, imagine them pushing through this delicate place at the cup of my palm.

It’s unlikely I will ever know what that feels like, not to mention the spear to the side and the thorns at his brow.

God said to his people, Israel, “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” (Isaiah 49:16)

Later, as if in response, Jesus said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit,” and breathed his last. (Luke 23:46)

When Jesus appears to the disciples after his resurrection, he says, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself!” (Luke 24:38-39)

And before his ascension he, “lifted up his hands and blessed them.” (v. 50)

His 33-year-old hands turned pain to blessing, just as in the prophetic words of God to the Israelites – engraved palms and walls.

Hands are such an expressive, intimate part of our bodies and an emblem of our humanity.

I think that’s why, when I look at my hands and think of Jesus’ hands teaching, sharing, bleeding and then blessing, I see the tender price he paid and the beauty of that grace we now live under. And I am stirred to use these hands as Jesus did, to teach, share, bleed and bless.

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I am a writer, mother, wife and believer in a reality bigger than my own. I love exploring the small epiphanies of life. Nothing is humdrum. Every moment is charged with opportunity, each one mixing its ideas with the ink in my pen. You call it alchemy, I call it God.


  1. Maryann Keach says

    A beautiful piece to read, thank you once again! Maryann

  2. Maria Amore says

    So much love spoken via hands.
    Christ’s undying love for us, hands nailed to a cross.
    Our own hands soft when young and then creased, dry, cracked as we age, show how we have used those hands to work, create embrace, pray.
    Beautiful and thought provoking piece. Thank you again Claire.

    • That’s it, Maria. So much love 🙂
      I love the feel of my kiddies’ hand in mine, how it fits so snugly, their trust in me so evident as they reach out for me time and time again.
      Bless you lovely lady x

  3. Incredibly beautiful…you have a gift for imagery. Thank you for the reminder of Jesus’s divine humanity.

  4. I remember turning 33 and feeling like I hadn’t accomplished anything yet, and Jesus had saved the whole world! Your post is much more positive. Thanks.

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