“I’m sorry, sir. There is nothing I can do. My hands are tied.”
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard that in my life. You’re on the phone with the credit card company. You’re talking to the billing department at the hospital. You’re trying to convince the person on the other end of the phone to help you fix the problem.
“I’m sorry, sir. My hands are tied.”
We say those words when we feel like there’s nothing we can do—or as an excuse when we don’t want to do anything about the problem. “There’s nothing I can do. My boss won’t let me. I have no way of accessing the files. Company policy won’t let me. My hands are tied.”
During the season of Lent, we follow Jesus on his road to the cross. Recently, I was reading about Jesus’ arrest in John chapter 18, and a little detail jumped out at me.
It says that they “bound” Jesus (v. 12).
They literally tied his hands—probably with leather straps or maybe even iron chains. A detachment of soldiers surrounded him and marched him back into the city of Jerusalem. The disciples ran away. I mean, there was nothing he could do for them now.
His hands were tied.
How quickly they forgot! Just moments before the soldiers bound Jesus’ hands, Peter tried to defend Jesus and cut off a man’s ear. Jesus immediately reached out his hand, touched the man’s ear, and healed him.
The disciples saw him do it. Jesus’ enemies saw him do it. The soldiers saw him do it. How could any of them have thought that some leather straps or even iron shackles could hold Jesus? He could have snapped those chains. He could have melted them. He could have simply made them disappear.
Though they bound Jesus, his hands were never tied. That mob in the Garden of Gethsemane didn’t catch Jesus off guard. They didn’t take him by force. He went willingly. He could have stopped them anywhere along the way. He could have called on his legions of angels to come and rescue him.
But he didn’t. He allowed them to tie his hands. He allowed them to beat and whip and mock him. He allowed himself to be nailed to a cross because he loved you so much.
Jesus willingly went to the cross to suffer the punishment for all the times you and I deliberately and defiantly disobey him.
Sometimes we act as if our hands were tied. We rationalize our bad behavior. “I couldn’t help it,” we say. “I had no choice.”
We always have a choice.
Nobody ties you up and forces you to sin. The devil doesn’t make you do it. You choose to sin.
Thankfully, Jesus chose to die for you. He went willingly. Nobody forced him to go. Though they bound him, his hands weren’t really tied.
And because he did that for you, you can be sure that he always will forgive you. No matter how badly you mess up, you can turn to him and admit what you’ve done. You can’t commit a sin too big for Jesus to forgive.
He will never tell you, “I’m sorry. There is nothing I can do. My hands are tied.”
Author: Andrew Schroer
Volume 110, Number 03
Issue: March 2023
- Jesus’ hands are never tied - 2023/02/27
- Bacon-wrapped lies - 2022/01/30
- Having all the facts - 2021/11/30