“Let me see His hands and his side.” said Thomas.
He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. The bruised, crushed, and crucified Jesus was now standing in front of him almost like nothing had happened. Jesus came to visit His disciples to show them He was alive and well. The best part was He appeared to them by non-chalantly walking through a wall to get into the living room. No Bigs.
I love that Jesus was like all men. The first thing He did after being raised from the dead was come to show off his scars. I’m sure they were impressive.
But all this begs another question – Why would Jesus go to the grave, conquer death, and raise again three days later, yet still be left with scars on his hands and side? Sometimes I wonder if Jesus woke up into his newly resurrected body, took one look at His skin and then said to the Father, “Hey, you missed a spot.” I can’t imagine Jesus was thrilled about having a constant reminder of everything He recently suffered.
Why would Jesus’ body be perfectly knit together, only to be left with the signature of death still engraved on His skin?
It’s an important question that should affect how we handle our own stories of pain and suffering.
I wonder if the purpose of Jesus’ scars was not to be a symbol of pain but a reminder of restoration. His scars were and instinsic part of His story and His glory.
This matters to us for many reasons. Mostly, because we all have memories we’d like to forget. Those moments in the past that seem to linger around despite our best efforts to keep them subdued and secluded to the past.
Like, how I was the socially-awkward loser in Jr. High. The only person who didn’t know this about me was…. me. Thankfully, my peers were quick to remind me every day for 3 years. Nobody at school wanted to be my friend. They would use all of their creative energy to make my life miserable.
Yeah, that one. There are times I wouldn’t mind if that was erased forever. Can’t you tell it still stings a bit?!
But what happens when our past regrets or painful memories still re-surface years later even after we’ve worked through those issues? I think we have a couple options….
The popular option is to ignore the scars and deny that anything ever happened. We feel like giving attention to past experiences or revisiting them is to glorify them. We Christians who are steeped in a faith and healing culture often are the worst offenders of this. In our desire to be healed and restored, we bury the past so it never resurfaces again. While the intention is good, we end up missing out on the beauty of the scars.
Our second option is to do what Jesus did. After he was healed, he didn’t try to hide the pain he went though. In fact, his scars were exactly what gave people the faith to believe what was possible. His scars showed his humanity coupled with the power of God. His scars showed He was a completely NEW person. His scars were now his stories. They couldn’t be used against Him any longer. They were proof He overcame.
Be healed. Be whole. But be honest. Your scars are important for you and for the rest of us. If Jesus can show his scars, will you show yours?
How do you typically handle the pain and suffering in your life?
Do you deny it’s existence and do your best to put makeup on the scars?
Or, have you tapped into the beauty of your own story?