When we talk about the risen Christ, we often use the term “nail-scarred hands.” Any picture or movie of the resurrected Jesus will include the scars from the nails that pierced His hands and feet, as well as the wound in His side. The remnants of Jesus’ crucifixion wounds are significant in the scriptures, but they are also significant in our own lives.
The Glory of Scars
Jesus’ scars are central to the account of Thomas struggling to believe Jesus was indeed raised from the dead. They were proof that the man standing before him was Jesus, who days earlier had been crucified. Jesus’ scars are indicative of the great love with which we are loved. His scars remind us of the extreme sacrifice He made for us. We see the scars and remember the pain of the crucifixion, and the even greater pain of bearing our sin.
However, there is an even deeper aspect of Christ’s scars. Scars remain even on the celestial body of the exalted Lord. Jesus completely defeated sin, death, hell, and the grave and is now glorified. He still bears the scars caused by our sin; yet, these scars do absolutely nothing to diminish His victory or His glory. In fact, if it is possible, they enhance it.
Jesus is absolutely and completely victorious, perfect, glorified, and yet scarred. It would be theologically incorrect to affirm the scars enhance His glory, as if His glory was incomplete otherwise, but in our human conceptualizing, it seems like those scars make Jesus even more glorious.
Suppose we were to look at redeemed humanity in the same way. We have all sinned, and sin always leaves a scar. As a result, you and I are deeply scarred. However, as we experience the reality of the redemption found in Jesus Christ, we stand clean, whole, and forgiven. It is as if we had no scars, but in reality, we still bear the scars of our sin. They can be physical issues, emotional baggage, broken relationships, and wounds both received and inflicted. These scars remain on those who stand clean before God.
For Better or for Worse?
When we see the scars on Jesus, we see His glory more clearly, but when we look at the scars of redeemed humanity, we see them as anything but glorious. Sometimes those scars make us doubt the reality of redemption. However, we should not be surprised that the redeemed still have scars, since even the Redeemer still has His. The truth is, scars are ugly. They are an ugly reminder of sin and the devastation it brings; but in those who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus, scars also reveal the amazing mercy of our glorious God.
Maybe we can begin to see scars in the lives of our Christian brothers and sisters as more than ugly reminders of sin. Perhaps we can instead see them as reminders of Jesus’ scars, the scars that make redemption, the forgiveness of sin, and the transformation of lives possible. Maybe we can begin to see a glimpse of the glory of God in the scars of our brothers and sisters, and even in our own.
by Jimmy Aycock