My wife and I had been undertaking a little spring cleaning. Included among the myriad of items on that list was the pressure washing of our garage floor. She and I were busy cleaning the floor when my son brought me a new high pressure tip he had recently acquired. He cautioned me to be careful, as it affected its purpose by forcing water through a particularly narrow slot, in the process creating an extremely powerful rotating jet of water.
I assured him that I understood. And promptly proved that I had no idea what I was talking about when, within thirty minutes, I had nearly amputated my left thumb by carelessly attempting to hold a piece of metal while I sprayed it. The stream of high pressure water literally sliced a gash a full inch long across my left thumb, cutting through multiple layers of skin in the process. It was only by God’s grace that I survived the episode intact, albeit with a nasty cut on my left thumb.
Now, this all transpired some three or four days before I saw my grandson. So it was that, by the time he and I got together, I had large, red, partially scabbed over wound on my thumb. As we were eating, and as I reached down to get a French Fry, he took notice of my wound, and made a simple observation: “Granddaddy, is that ketchup on your hand?!”
It was immediately obvious to me that, busily dousing every French Fry he selected in ketchup, my grandson had naturally made the assumption that the red wound on my hand must also be ketchup. I proceeded to explain to him what was on my hand, and how it had come to be there.
This whole episode immediately brought to mind the now famous painting by American artist Lars Justinen, who created a sensitive symbol of Christ's sacrifice in his world famous oil painting titled “What Happened to Your Hand?”
Now, I’m glad my grandson takes note of any perceived wound to my hand. It simply proves that he loves me and is concerned for my well-being. But I will be far happier when he reaches the age of accountability and becomes concerned over the nail-scarred wounds in the hands and feet of God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
While I am comforted by the knowledge of his having taken note of my own wounds, I will be all the more comforted to know that he has taken note of Christ’s wounds. Why? Because his knowledge of my wounds ultimately has little consequence; whereas, by consequence, his knowledge of Christ’s wounds will have eternal consequence!
The 53rd chapter of the Old Testament Prophecy of Isaiah says it all. Pay particular attention to verses 5 and 6…
1Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.
9He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
That, my friends, is the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a nutshell. For truly, “by His wounds, we are healed”!
According to these websites:
“This beautiful picture is as reminder of God's love that beckons us to witness the innocent discovery of God's greatest Gift in the sacrifice of his son.”
“Lars Justinen was born near Seattle, Washington in 1955, the son of a naturalist father and high school art teacher. Lars’ first paintings were used to raise money for missionaries overseas. Over the years he has painted thousands of paintings for publications and galleries. Lars’ philosophy of art begins with the Book of Genesis - "Man was made in God's image," he observes, "and the first thing we learn in the Scriptures is that 'In the beginning God created.' To create a painting is, in many ways, a spiritual undertaking, because we mirror God's creative power. It is also a fulfilling and joyous process. I believe it is important to remember that all talent, energy, and opportunities come from God, not from us." Today Lars, his wife Kim, and their two children live in a remote fishing village in the Pacific Northwest where they enjoy country living and creative pursuits.”
NOTE: It seems obvious that Justinen was heavily influenced by another painter of a previous generation: Harry Anderson, who also painted a picture titled: "What happened to Your Hand?".
According to this website: “In 1945 Harry Anderson did his first painting of Jesus, “What Happened to Your Hand?". This painting depicting Jesus with modern-day children was decried as blasphemous by some adults, but was eventually printed in the publishing program after the editor's daughter longingly wished that she too could sit on Jesus' lap like the girl in the painting. This was the very first painting of Jesus done showing Him in a modern-day setting. These limited edition prints are signed and numbered by Harry Anderson. Lithographed on acid free paper suitable for matting and framing.”
Note that Anderson’s painting, “What Happened to Your Hand?” was intentionally included in the 1980 Academy Award winning film, Coal Miner’s Daughter, as part of the background in a scene in which Loretta Lynn and her husband, Doolittle, are with their small children.