It is always funny how little boys and young men think of getting a scar as a badge of honor or something. My own boys, after getting over the pain of the injury always thought it was so cool to have a scar left behind. Like it was a mark of manhood or something. And boys being boys they have quite a few of them. "I got this one doing a jump on my bike", "I did a frontside heelflip on my skateboard and missed the landing", "I had a gnarly crash on my dirt bike". Showing each other their scars and their achievements.
Jesus showed His scars too. After His death on the cross and His resurrection He came to see His disciples. Now here they are in a locked room and suddenly Jesus appears. And to prove who He is, He shows them His wounds in His hands and side. Personally someone appears in a locked room I wouldn't doubt it was Jesus! So, He shows them His scars and they know who He is and are overjoyed. Now the disciple Thomas was not there and when they tell him that they saw Jesus and saw His wounds he says he doesn't believe it and won't until he sees for himself. A week later they are again in a locked room, this time with Thomas, and Jesus appears. And Jesus being Jesus knows what Thomas is thinking and says to him put your finger here in the wound in my hand, here put your hand in my side. And Thomas believes.
Thomas believes because he saw his Lord on the cross. He saw the nails that were pounded painfully into Jesus' hands and feet. He saw the spear that was stuck into His side. He saw the blood pouring out of his master. He saw the tears and the sweat that poured off of His face. He saw the agony that Jesus went through. And though at the time he did not understand it, he saw it. When Jesus reappeared and showed them His wounds all of the disciples realized that everything that Jesus had told them was true. Even after all the miracles, the healings, the profound teachings, they had all doubted, not just Thomas. It took seeing His wounds, seeing His scars to know that all He had said was true. And that changed them and the world forever.
Jesus was crucified for us. Jesus was beaten and abused for us. He was whipped and humiliated for us. He became that lamb led to the slaughter for us. He chose us over His own comfort. He chose us over life. He chose us over a wound-free existence. He chose us. And He bears the scars of that choice. He wears those marks.
When He met with the disciples He boldly showed His scars. He had no second thoughts of showing the results of His choice. By showing His scars He said to them, Yes I am He that died on the cross. I am He that took all your sins upon myself. I am He that conquered sin and death. I am He.
When the eyes of my heart and spirit were opened and I could see Jesus for who He truly was, when I could see the scars that He took for me, when I received Him as my Lord and Saviour, I was also marked. Ephesians 1:13 says this, "And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation)—when you believed in Christ—you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit" (NET). That seal was a mark of ownership, [Sealing was sometimes done in antiquity by the use of religious tattoos – again signifying "belonging to."] 2 Corinthians 1:22 tells us that He has "put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee" (ESV). We are marked. But that mark is internal. How are others to know who we are if they cannot see signs of that mark? We have no external scar or mark to show others as Jesus did. How are we to show them who we are, whose we are?
In many ways, for me the mark of who I am in Him is what is not there. I am no longer what I was before I knew Him. I am no longer the person I was before. He took away the desire for drugs and alcohol. He took my heart that sought affection anywhere it could find it and focused it on Him. He caused me to change my selfish ways and to think of others instead of myself. He replaced the hurt and brokenness in my heart with the fullness of His love. He showed me a better way and a better me. And yes, even though I often fail He has given me the strength to carry on and keep trying. He has given me the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. He has filled me with His Spirit to give me comfort, to give me wisdom and to teach me how to overcome not only myself, but also the things of this world. He has had the patience to walk me through woundings and hurts and taught me how to forgive. He has blessed me through other people and allowed me to be a blessing to them. He has marked me. And as I stay faithful, as I overcome, Revelation 3:12 tells me that "I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name" (KJV). I will not only be marked inwardly but outwardly also. I will be irrefutably known as His.
Wounds and scars. They are usually seen as the mark of something that hurt, something bad that happened. But just as the scars of open heart surgery show the signs of a wound meant for our good, so do the scars of Jesus show us the sign of His life-giving choice for us. And those scars are not the only mark that He took for us. Isaiah 49:16 says that He has engraved us upon His hand. He has made an indelible mark upon Himself so that we are continually before Him, we are always at the forefront of His thoughts. He marked Himself for us because He loved us. And so should we also allow ourselves to be marked for Him. Marked by His love, His mercy, His grace.
I hope that the next time I run into someone, Christian or not who needs to see Jesus in me that I will leave a mark.