"Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy
walls are continually before me." ISA 49:16.
The Lord asks in the verse before our text if it is possible for a
father or mother to forget. ISA 49:15 asks, "Can a woman forget
her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the
son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee."
The Lord is showing the beauty of the engravings upon the palms
of His hands that have been there from eternity. He will never
forget! Even though a woman may forget the baby at her breast,
"yet will I not forget."
The Lord Jesus Christ expresses the impossibility of forgetting His
dear bride, whatever she is guilty of or wherever she may have
strayed. We may have forsaken the Lord as the lost sheep. I
have not found a place in the Bible where the Lord Jesus went out
to seek the lost goat. He went to seek and to save His lost
sheep, which are those within the fold. They are not goats or
swine, but sheep who have strayed away and become lost because
they have forsaken the Lord.
This gospel teaches us one of the most blessed assurances
Christ's church has for its eternal security. If it depended upon
us following the Lord, then we could fall away, but it is not
possible because He has engraved us upon the palms of His
hands for eternity.
When Jesus departed from this world to return to His Father, He
left His disciples with the assurance of our text. LUK 24:50-51
tells us, "And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted
up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he
blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into
heaven." First, He blessed them; then as He was being parted
from them He "lifted up his hands." They saw themselves
engraved upon His palms. They saw the scars. They saw the
wounds of the cross. He placed their eternal security before their
physical eyes as He left.
Christ's disciples were filled with amazement and doubt at the
news of His resurrection. When they heard that He had risen from
the grave, their hearts were filled with anxiety, fear, and unbelief.
Peter's faith made him so strong that he could boldly say in LUK
22:33, "Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to
death." But we know the history! Peter cursed and swore and
denied his Lord. "And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And
Peter went out, and wept bitterly," LUK 22:61-62. That was the
last time Peter saw the Lord before He was crucified, and Peter
was left for three days to mourn in bitterness over his sin.
Peter's sin in denying his Lord very well qualified him to
understand the words of ISA 49:14; "But Zion said, The LORD hath
forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me." His Lord was in
the grave and he had turned his back upon Him, cursing,
swearing, and denying that he knew Him. Look at the bitterness
in his soul. When he heard that the Lord Jesus had come out of
the grave, he was so filled with anxiety that he could not believe
Yet Peter, in his pride, presumption, and the agony of his soul
over his sin, was engraved in the palms of Jesus' hands and not
forgotten. The blessed, tenderhearted Savior remembered Peter's
agony. The angel gave a specific command to tell Peter that the
Lord was risen. We read in MAR 16:7, "But go your way, tell his
disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there
shall ye see him, as he said unto you." Peter was not forgotten,
though he had forgotten his Lord.
As the disciples were gathered together, "Jesus himself stood in
the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you," LUK
24:36. They were frightened and filled with doubt. They believed
not for joy when Jesus showed them that their names were
engraved in His hands, which He used to bring them out of their
distress and to give them security for eternity. LUK 24:38-40
tells us, "And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why
do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet,
that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh
and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken,
he shewed them his hands and his feet."
He showed them. He told them to put their fingers in the holes
of His hands and thrust their hands in His side. Jesus showed His
disciples those scars in His hands and feet to strengthen their
faith when they had thought they would never see Him again.
Those scars in our Saviour's hands are His pledge to His church
that He will not forget one of us. A woman may forget her
suckling child, "yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven
thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before
It was those crucified hands that Jesus lifted up before His disciples to see once more while He was "carried up
into heaven." Just before He departed, Jesus promised His
disciples that He would send them the Holy Spirit because they
would never again see with their physical eyes those crucified
hands. But the Holy Spirit, by faith, reveals unto us those
precious things of Christ, in which we have security.