“I have some great stories that in many ways are the result of pain in my life” says John Harvey, a preacher from Palm City, Florida.
One day John was sitting with his kids when one of them asked about a set of scars on his legs. “Right around my right kneecap,” John says, “there is this interesting series of little scars that form a triangle, My kids wanted to know what they were from. So I was able to tell them how I played third base in a baseball game instead of catching. There was a play at the base where a runner slid into my leg as I tried to apply the tag. The scars on my knee form the exact imprint of where the spikes from his cleats went into my leg.”
Then Harvey makes this powerful point:
“Every scar tells a story.”
As I reflect on John Harvey’s point about the scars common to our human experience, I’m reminded of the Savior’s scars that He received on that Friday so long ago.
Yes, there was betrayal. Denial. Mocking. A joke of a trial. And of course, we think about the terrible death by crucifixion.
But think about the scars. The scars that came by a brutal beating. Jesus’ back was beaten. Bloodied. Scourged. When the flesh hung like ribbons.
The crown of thorns was pushed down into his head. Undoubtably blood came forth. And his scalp was scared.
And think of the side where the soldier’s spear pieced him. He was already dead but his side was punctured for good measure. Blood and water came forth. Some medical experts claim he died of a broken heart. I don’t know. But I know his side was scarred.
And what about his hands? His hands were nailed to the cross. When I think of that Friday when Jesus died, I think about the nail scarred hands.
Yet, isn’t it interesting that when Jesus arose on Sunday, He came forth in a glorified state. The scars remained. They were still there. Visible. Conspicuous. And ready to tell a story!
When he appeared to the disciples on Sunday, John records that he showed them his hands and his side. And the scripture says they were glad when the saw the Lord. But Thomas was not at that meeting.
He didn’t believe the disciples report. He said, “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” (Jn 20:25).
The next Sunday, Thomas had his opportunity. Jesus appeared. Again! And Jesus said, “be not unbelieving, but believing” as he showed his nail scarred hands to Thomas. And his reaction? “MY Lord and My God!”
Jesus then said something really important, not just to Thomas. But to you and I. “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
What a difference it makes when we “see the scars”! How it changes our lives! Our focus! Our faith! Yes, I “see” him on the cross. In agony. Suffering. Shedding his blood.
When I look at my scars, physical scars, emotional scars, or even spiritual scars, I know that Jesus understands how I feel. He knows my hurt. He feels my pain. He empathizes with my “Friday of suffering”
But then on Sunday, I get a better look at His scars. Again. I see that He lives. I see what he endured. I see that even in His gloried state, God allowed him to retain the scars to fortify my faith. When I’m tempted to stray. Or inclined to doubt. Or enticed by the flesh. I need to see His scars.
And the really Good News? Jesus can heal my scars! “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
The scars tell the story. And they make a difference in my life. And yours.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman