By His Scars we are Healed
Easter Morning Meditation

Luke 20:1-12, 36-49
Text Luke 20:40

(c) Copyright 2005 Rev. Bill Versteeg


Luke 20

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” 8 Then they remembered his words.
9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
Jesus Appears to the Disciples
36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.
44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

We have spent the season of Lent looking at the wounds of Christ.
His wounded hands - like him, we experience being handicapped.
His wounded feet, like him, we experience our journeys interrupted, our dreams unfulfilled.
His shredded flogged back, like him, we experience the disabling power of broken promises.
His spear thrust side, like him we know the pain of betrayal and broken relationships.
His crown of thorns, like him we know the suffering and torment of emotional and mental brokenness.
And his broken heart, we too know the loss of those whom we have loved deeply.
When we add his seven wounds together, we discover that our Savior was completely broken for us.  Seven stands for completion. There was no part of him that remained un-torn by the sharpness of our sin, there is no pain that we bear that he did not. His wounds were completely perfect wounds.

But he arose again! He appeared to the women and the men who were his disciples. The women needed no convincing. They met him, and their hearts attuned to relationship, their emotions attuned to his presence, and they knew immediately that it was him. The men however, needed convincing.

And so Jesus met with them, doubting Thomas especially, and verse 40 says When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And if we listen to the other gospels, he showed them his side, maybe his back, obviously they would have seen the scars on his head from the piercing thorns. But the question presses on my mind, if not yours, why did he go through the detail of showing them his scars? If he was the son of God, why not completely heal those hands and feet. Why bear the scars? If we listen to Revelation 5:6, it becomes clear that he carries these scars throughout eternity. John writes 6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders.

Why did Jesus keep the scars, show the scars, why does he through eternity keep those scars?

Was it simply to show them that he was the same person that had been crucified? Was it simply to historically verify that the same person who had been brutally treated, died, was buried, came to life again? Or was there a deeper meaning in his scars that he so willingly showed his disciples?

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet

The first and most obvious reason he showed his disciples the scars, and continues to wear the scars even in eternity is because scars tell a story. I suspect if you were to survey your own body, you would be able to tell the story of virtually every scar that shows. The reason for that - scars tell a story. I have a scar on my knee, just above the knee cap. Probably 10 years ago, I was carrying out a bag of garbage and not knowing what was in the bag, I let it rub against my leg. Well the bag had broken glass, and I did not even notice the cut until my runner started feeling soggy. It was a painless story but I remember the story because of the scar. Scars tell a story.

Jesus showed them his scars because scars tell a story - his story. Throughout all eternity, we will have a Savior that looks like a lamb who was slain because his scars tell the story - the story of how he, the son of God, came as God to suffer with us, for us, in our place, to suffer in every way that we suffer, scars that will tell the story of his passion and death, scars that will tell us all of how he completely became us in all of our pain, so that we might become the children of God. Scars that prove prophecy that he had to suffer and die and three days later rise again. These scars demonstrated more than simple DNA evidence as to who Jesus was, these scars told God’s story.

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet

But scars not only tell of the past, as we will find further in weeks to come, they also tell of the future. For by the time he showed his disciples his wounds, they had become scars. Healing had taken place. His scars point us to a future when wounds heal, when handicaps end, when dreams come true, when promises are kept, when relationship have no betrayal, when our mind and emotions know optimism and joy, and true loves are not lost. Scars tell us that the source of the wound is past. The wounds truly have become history and healing happens.

So often when we experience wounds, we wonder how long our suffering will last. Jesus scars let us know - this too shall pass. The pain we experience will grow dim. Weeping may endure for a night, figuratively speaking, but joy will come again in the morning. Jesus scars show to us that he suffered so that we will not have to suffer eternally.

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet

But his scars also say something about God’s attitude toward suffering a pain.

First of all, notice that these scars are now God’s scars. Jesus, as the second part of the Trinity, is completely God - and God bears scars, scars that have to do with his relationship with us, scars that demonstrate his compassion on us. God has scars for all eternity. God attitude toward our suffering is not that of a distant deity, rather he regarded our suffering as so important that he chose to become familiar with suffering, choose to become so familiar with suffering that God himself suffered on the cross. When Jesus showed his disciples his hands and his feet, he was showing through them God’s attitude, God’s compassion, God’s choice to take our suffering into himself and wear it for eternity.

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.

But notice again, they are scars - because even wounds and suffering in God was to much to bear. And Jürgen Moltmann has pointed out in his book “The Crucified God” by the resurrection, God said “Enough.” Enough with sin. Enough with disobedience. Enough with the wounds. Enough with injustice. Enough with abuse. Enough with idols. Enough with sacrifice. Enough with suffering. God said Enough and so he even brought his own wounds toward healing.

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.

And he has called us to be people who say enough also.  Enough to the suffering of creation, enough to injustice, enough to hatred, enough to anger and gossip, enough to sin in all its variegated forms. We are people who say to the old sinful nature and the various cultural and institutional expressions of sin in this world "Enough!" It is time for healing. It is time for the kingdom of God to be seen. It is time for the power of the resurrection to shine upon humanity and give hope for the broken hearted and freedom for the captive and health for the sick. God said "Enough!" We as people of the kingdom say Enough with our loudest hosannas and hallelujahs.

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.

Finally, Jesus showed his disciples his scars because they were marks of a battle won. Just as young people today might wear sports scars as badges of honour, so Jesus in his healed wounds is worthy of honour.

In the truest possible sense, Jesus wears these scars as badges of honour. They demonstrate in their healing that he has overcome in the battle. The wounds are no longer inflicted. Healing has begun. Hope is in the wind. The battle may continue but the war is determined. These scars are medals of victory! And because he is the victor, he is the Lord over all, through all and in all. All authority is his. He the victor, is the only one with the right to open the book and its seven seals, he is the only one worthy of the conqueror’s throne, he is the only one worthy of the title "King of Kings and Lord of Lords." He is the only one worthy to be the groom of the bride. As the church throughout eternity will celebrate in song with large Hallelujahs!

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!”
13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”


 


(NIV) Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

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