I went to the dermatologist the other day for a full-body check up and the doctor pointed at the five scars on my stomach and said, “I bet there’s a story there.” I could have shared with him a long, detailed account about sickness, struggle, fear, frustration, doubt, tears, disappointment, long nights, prayers, miracles and praise, but I didn’t. I just responded, “Yep, those scars are from the pancreatic surgery I had a couple of years ago at the Mayo Clinic. That surgery saved my life.”
Scars tell a story. Jesus had scars on his hands and feet from being hung on a cross for you and for me, and those scars speak volumes . . . and they are still speaking today. They tell a story of presence, peace, healing, power and love.
Three days after his crucifixion some of Jesus’ disciples were walking to the town of Emmaus when they encountered another traveler. They walked and talked with the stranger for hours, but they didn’t know who he was until they saw the nail prints on his hands and, “then their eyes were opened and they recognized him.” When they saw the scars, they knew it was Jesus. (see Luke 24:30-31)
Later that same day, in the city of Jerusalem, Jesus appeared to a gathering of disciples through barred gates and locked doors, but his presence and words of comfort had no calming effect upon them. The face they saw looked vaguely familiar, but not enough to distinguish him from the other men in that region. The disciples were tentative, frightened and doubting, but then Jesus showed them the marks on his hands and feet and then they knew it was him. He was known to them by his scars. (see Luke 24:36-39)
Decades later, long after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, the Apostle John was given a glimpse into Heaven where he saw a prophetic and symbolic scene from the gathering of all gatherings. The one who is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords and Creator of the Universe was being called upon to victoriously open the scrolls of all time and eternity, and John, along with billions of others in the crowd, was scanning the stage, eagerly looking for the the Lion of the tribe of Judah—the only One worthy of opening the scrolls——but He was nowhere to be found. Instead, at the center of it all, stood a lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered. The sacrificial lamb was Jesus, bearing the scars of His crucifixion. (see Revelation 5:6)
Scars tell a story, and the scars of Jesus are still speaking today. The story they tell is all about you and me. The Apostle Peter writes, “Jesus personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.” (1 Peter 2:24, NLT)
If you ask me about the scars of Jesus, there’s definitely a story there . . . those scars saved my soul and my life.