“Scars. A sign that you had been hurt. A sign that you had healed,” observed American novelist and poet, Benjamin Alire Sáenz.
On this day when we remember Jesus at our communion services, we often think about the betrayal. The denial. The mocking. The kangaroo court of a trial. And the terrible, excruciating death by crucifixion.
We may focus on His resurrection. His victory over death and the devil. And how His bodily resurrection foreshadows our own resurrection.
We remember also His appearances to the women at the tomb. Peter and John. And the rest of the apostles.
But what about the scars?
Scars from the brutal beating. Scars on His scalp from the thorny crown. Scars to His hands nailed to the cross. Scars where the soldier pierced His side.
When Jesus arose on Sunday, He came forth in a glorified state. But the scars remained. They were still there. Visible. Conspicuous. Obvious.
When Jesus first appeared to all the disciples, except for Thomas, John records that he showed them his nail-scarred hands and His riven side. The joy-filled disciples later shared the news with Thomas that Jesus was alive. However, he responded, “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 Thomas his nail-scarred hands. His reaction? “My Lord and My God!”
Jesus then offered this insight both to him and to us. “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 perspective. Yes, I “see” him on the cross. In agony. Suffering. Shedding his blood. But those scars….
The scars offer evidence that He lives. They fortify my faith. When I’m tempted to stray. Or inclined to doubt. Or enticed by the flesh. I need to remember the scars.
The scars tell the story. Not just in Jesus’ life, but in mine too. Life’s battles will leave us with scars. Physical scars. Mental scars. Emotional scars. Maybe even spiritual scars.
The scars, however, remind us not only about our hurts but also our healing.
“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).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman