SUGGESTED SCRIPTURE READING Luke 24
And as they were saying these things, He Himself stood among them. He said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost. “Why are you troubled?” He asked them. “And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself! Touch Me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” Having said this, He showed them His hands and feet. Luke 24: 36-40
Have you ever asked this question? After His resurrection, why did Jesus still have the scars from His crucifixion? Presumably, He could have had any type of resurrected body He wanted; why not have a perfect glorified body? I believe there may be a number of reasons He kept them. First of all, they identify Him for who He was and is. When Jesus appeared in the room with His disciples, they were afraid…they thought they were seeing a ghost. I imagine that was of no comfort to them. Had He been a ghost, that would mean He had not conquered death. But He showed them His hands and His feet, verifying it was Jesus. John 20:20 says they “rejoiced” when they saw them.
They rejoiced because His wounds showed them who He was, and we can rejoice because they show us He suffered and died…in our place…to live again forever. He still bears those wounds and when we see Him, we see will those scars. Revelation, chapter 5, tells us that John recognized Him in heaven as the lamb who was slain.
Then I saw One like a slaughtered lamb standing between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders. Revelation 5:6
A second reason for the scars is they tell us because He suffered, He knows what it is like to be human…He knows what we are going through. I can’t comprehend the reason for this next thought; it is way too much for me. But the Bible tells us that the God of all creation left His throne to become like me…to suffer like me…and to die in my place, that I might live with Him forever.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1, 14.
“The Word became flesh.” Because He was flesh and blood, like you and me, one of the disciples, Thomas, also had trouble grasping this thought…that though He was fully man, He was also fully God. Thomas was known for being a doubter. He hadn’t been with the disciples the first time Jesus appeared to them in the room, and he refused to believe it was true. But when he finally saw the scars of the resurrected Jesus, he was convinced.
Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and observe My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Don’t be an unbeliever, but a believer.” Thomas responded to Him, “My Lord and my God!” John 20:27-28
I have two scars on my leg where a piece of rebar went through when I was about eleven years old. Somehow, in the way that only a young boy can, I ran upon this rod in a field, and it went in and out in one swift motion…quite a traumatic event. Now, fifty years later, I have forgotten many childhood memories. Yet when I see the scars on my leg, I remember that particular event in vivid detail.
I believe there is at least one more reason for His scars…we will see them for eternity, and will be reminded in detail of what He has done for us. And because Jesus overcame, we can overcome.
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20.
Many people now, as then, do not recognize Jesus for who He is. Some believe He was a good man…a great philosopher…a preacher or the leader of a religion they do not completely understand. Still others claim to believe in Him, or at least His teachings, without totally submitting to Him.
The Greek word for believe in the New Testament is “pisteuo” and it is used hundreds of times. It is more than just an understanding of something as we sometimes use it today. It is an action verb and it means to be persuaded of. Much in the way we can say we believe a suspension bridge will hold us, but it’s not until we put in our faith in it and walk across that we truly exercise belief.
Revelation 1:7 tells us “every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him”. Can you imagine how the soldiers who made those scars will feel when they see Him? Well, the truth is we all caused them…our own sin caused those scars. You and I are as guilty as the soldiers…and we will all see them.
The question is, will you look upon Him as a religious leader…a good man…a great philosopher? Or can you now believe, because of His scars, and like Thomas proclaim, “My Lord and my God”?