And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. (Luke 24:40 NASB)
One day when I was visiting with my parents, the subject of scars came up. My Dad began showing various physical scars he had on his body and telling the story behind each one. One scar on his leg was from an accident at school when he was a young child. He recalled being alone until his mother could be contacted. (That was way before cell phones!) Another scar was from an automobile accident (way before seat belts). Though the physical pain of most of his scars is no longer felt, the memories of how he received those scars are fresh in his mind.
I’ve wondered before why scars must remain. I understand the science and that scars are a result of damage to tissue. But why? Bruises fade. Scrapes on elbows and knees fade. So why do scars remain?
After the resurrection of Jesus, He began to appear to His disciples. One thing Jesus did to prove to them He was the resurrected Christ was to show them His scars. They had seen Him crucified. They knew He had died. To now see Jesus alive and standing in front of them could have seemed like a dream to them. But, oh, the scars! There was no denying His death had been real. And there was no denying He was alive once they touched His scars.
What if God had removed the scars from Jesus’ body when He raised His Son from the dead? Would Satan have tried to confuse the eyewitnesses, to make them believe it wasn’t really Christ, the crucified Messiah, standing in front of them? But the scars were proof. Proof of God’s plan of salvation. Proof that He was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world to pay the penalty for our sins.
But He was pierced for our offenses,
He was crushed for our wrongdoings;
The punishment for our well-being was laid upon Him,
And by His wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5 NASB)
The nail-pierced hands and feet, along with the wound in His side, are scars that tell the story of salvation. One day we will see those scars for ourselves.
But what about other kinds of scars? The ones people can’t see. Part of living in this fallen world is that we experience all kinds of hurts, trials, trauma and abuse. We can’t show those scars. We can’t prove the hurt really happened. And because there is not a visible scar to show the depth of our hurt, our enemy will try to whisper even more lies to us. Confusion and anxiety compound the hurt. One minute we may feel we have healed only to have an unkind word spoken to us, or a fleeting image crossing our mind, and that wound is reopened.
We need to remember that along with the physical scars, Christ also experienced emotional wounds in His human body. Jesus wept because He was in pain. We read often that Jesus was moved with compassion. His heart ached for people. How about when Peter denied Him? Imagine the total loneliness Christ felt when one of His closest companions totally turned his back on Him.
And then that moment on the cross. The moment when Jesus called out to His Father and received no answer. Ultimate rejection and pain must have filled His heart, intensifying the excruciating physical pain He was enduring. He did it all for us. He has the scars to prove it.
When we are feeling hurt and alone, we need to remember the scars of Christ. The seen and unseen. He knows exactly how we feel. He gets us and fully understands the pain behind our scars. He can see the scars that others cannot see. Most of all, He provides healing like no earthly remedy can offer.
Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant and praise is beautiful. The Lord builds up Jerusalem; He gathers the outcasts of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:1-3 NASB)
Heavenly Father, I’m humbled to think of all Christ experienced because of Your great love for me. Thank You, Jesus, for Your scars! When I’m feeling unseen and the hurt inside feels like a fresh wound, remind me of Your scars. Remind me that You see mine. You know the story behind each one and You understand. Your scars are proof of that truth. May every scar I have, whether it’s physical or emotional, be an opportunity for me to share the story behind Your scars with those around me. I love You, Lord! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.