Posted by: rcottrill | December 12, 2014

The Nail-scarred Hand

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Words: Baylus Benjamin McKinney (b. July 22, 1886; d. Sept. 7, 1952)
Music: Baylus Benjamin McKinney

Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (Baylus McKinney)

Graphic Benjamin McKinneyNote: B. B. McKinney was an American singer, song writer, teacher, and music editor. Of his many compositions, he wrote the present gospel song in 1924. He was killed in his sixty-sixth year, in an automobile accident, when returning home from a Music Conference in North Carolina. In Gospel Song Writers Biography, published in 1971, he is described this way:

“The radiant and gentle life of B. B. McKinney exemplified his Christianity as he lived and walked among men. As one of our foremost and very meaningful song writers and singers, he was always so modest, never wanting any credit for his ability, but just ever trying to use the talent God had given him” (p. 50).

As to the origin of the present song, Mr. McKinney was teaching at Southwestern Seminary at the time, and came to Allen, Texas (fifty miles from Fort Worth) for a Sunday School Conference. In an evening session the speaker gave a strong evangelistic appeal, urging his listeners, “Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand. B. B. McKinney says he was gripped by the words, and jotted them down.

He had planned to head back to Fort Worth after that evening session, but was prevented from doing so by a severe storm. He stayed overnight in a home, and the storm raged on, even endangering the little town. The musician wrote the song during the storm, and sang it at the conference the next day.

The hands of the Lord are mentioned quite a number of times. In a psalm of David’s that has a secondary application to Christ, we read, “They pierced my hands and my feet” (Ps. 22:16). Then, in the Gospels we read the Jesus using His hands to bless (Mk. 10:16) and to heal (Lk. 4:40).

When He was arrested, the Lord Jesus was cruelly struck by the hands of others (Jn. 19:3). And when Pilate, against his better judgment, condemned Him to be crucified, the weak Roman ruler washed his hands as a sign that he was no longer responsible for what was done to the Saviour (Matt. 27:24)–which, of course, he still was!

After Christ’s resurrection, His glorified body still bore the marks of the nails driven into His hands. He showed His hands to the disciples, as a means of confirming who He was (Lk. 24:39-40; Jn. 20:20). However, Thomas was absent during this initial meeting, and refused to believe that Christ had indeed risen from the dead.

“The other disciples therefore said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ So he said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.’ And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, ‘Peace to you!’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.’ And Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’” (Jn. 20:25-29).

It appears that the marks of His supreme sacrifice will still be evident in heaven. John, in a vision of the glories of that future days says, “I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain” (Rev. 5:6), clearly a reference to Christ, the Lamb of God.

The marks of Calvary that our living Saviour bears are, of course, an evidence that our debt of sin has been paid. But they are something else. They are an evidence of His compassion and sacrificial love for us. To place our hand in the hand of the Lord is to place the things that fret and trouble us there. It’s to trust His care and to appropriate His grace and mercy.

1) Have you failed in your plan of your storm-tossed life?
Place you hand in the nail-scarred hand;
Are you weary and worn from its toil and strife?
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand.

Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand,
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand;
He will keep to the end, He’s your dearest Friend,
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand.

2) Are you walking alone through the shadows dim?
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand;
Christ will comfort your heart, put your trust in Him.
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand.

4) Is your soul burdened down with its load of sin?
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand;
Throw your heart open wide, let the Saviour in.
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand.

1) Who is there in your circle (family, friend, acquaintance) who needs to place himself/herself in the hands of Christ today?

2) What do you think will be our response to viewing the hands of Christ in heaven?



  1. Reblogged this on Seeking God Daily and commented:
    Growing up, there is another hymn that stayed rather close to my heart. Especially in times when my fairh waned. Much like doubting Thomas, this hymn showed me the truth time and time again when I was scared to believe.

    Sometimes, even now, I think of this hymn when I’m feeling doubtful or afraid. For there is no one greater or unwaning than my Savior who has seen me through.

    • Thanks very much for your touching testimony, and for reblogging my article. It’s a fortunate thing that the Lord’s assessment of us doesn’t depend upon our feelings of the moment, which may be negative for a variety of reasons–not all of them accurate. “If our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things” (I Jn. 3:20, NKJV). Amen to that! God bless.


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