The Greatest Generation: Brave Hearts and Strong Hands – Part 3

By Barbara Yandell
Barbara is the SVM2 USA National Lead Facilitator and has discipled and mobilized countless young people to embrace their calling to “go.”

The Ordination of the Pierced Hands

The leadership of church of Jesus Christ passes from generation to generation by what is sometimes called apostolic succession. Student Volunteer Movement statesman Samuel Zwemer, the “Apostle to Islam,” pioneer missionary to the Muslim world, and author and shepherd of the next generation of students believed in this. Zwemer taught that true apostolic succession is “the Ordination of the Pierced Hands.”

Christ illustrated its meaning in John 20:19-23:

On the evening of the first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and he said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you. And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgive; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Apostolic succession was inaugurated by our Lord Himself..

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20)

The apostle Paul spoke of the same thing as he passed the leadership of the church to his young friend Timothy.

And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Jesus Christ. (2 Timothy 2:2-3)

And what was that apostolic succession as witnessed in Paul’s life? That of the pierced hands.

Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is lacking regarding the afflictions of Christ Jesus, for the sake of his body, which is the church. (Col 1:24)

Paul knew that as important as his life’s work was, apostolic calling the great commission must be passed on and received by the next generation.

What is still lacking? Was Jesus’ passion not enough? Bearing this crucified, risen savior among the nations not yet reached is how we fill up in our flesh what is lacking. How then can we take up that ordination, the commission of our Lord?

  1. Christ came to his friends still bearing those wounds. He initiates. It is his pleasure and intent to come, call and commission.
  2. He came to the fellowship, the team, the gathering of believers. An individual is called and commissioned to the body of Christ, a team, a church, and a movement. That was one of the unique strengths of the earlier student volunteer movement.
  3. The commission was accompanied by an extraordinary endowment of the Holy Spirit. The challenges of evangelization among billions of Muslims and other peoples cannot be done by the human strategies and powers. Receive the Holy Spirit and all he gives: conviction of sin, confirmation, assurance of forgiveness and salvation, power to overcome the devil, daily divine guidance and discernment for ministry, comfort and companionship wherever your commission takes you.

The words of the great hymn Crown Him With Many Crowns unveils the majesty and power of these pierced hands and side to which we have been ordained:

Crown Him the Lord of Love
Behold His hands and side
Rich wounds yet visible above in beauty glorified
No angel in the sky can fully bear that sight,
But downward bends his wondering eye at mysteries so bright.

The completion of the great commission, the consummation of the bride of Christ and the bridegroom is being passed to you. Why not commission your generation with the” Ordination of the Pierced Hands?” Student Volunteer Movement 2 can help you with such a powerful assembly in an evening of Abandoned Devotion for your area or campus.

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