Unless I See Scars

“Now Thomas, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.’

“Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” John 20:24-28

From our 21st century perspective, it’s easy to baffle at the dense thinking of the disciples- hadn’t Jesus told them repeatedly what would happen? But putting ourselves where they were in time and place, we understand better their confusion and doubt. How would a deliverer King allow himself to be crucified, and who would raise Him from the dead as He’d raised Lazarus? It seems plausible, and even reasonable, that Thomas insisted on seeing His scars as proof of His resurrection. (John 11:17-44)

This side of the cross, we can tend toward the Thomas in our minds: eager, forthright, earnest, but doubting. Wanting proof that God really is and does what He says. If He really is all powerful, why is my life out of control? If He really does forgive, why do I still feel condemnation and shame? If He really has good plans for me for hope and a future, why can’t I seem to get ahead, or even a foothold? If He really cares, and works all things for good, why am I, or my loved ones, suffering? If the government really is on His shoulders, why is my national situation so bleak? (Isaiah 9:6; Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 8:1,28)

The proof of Jesus’s life and sovereignty in all these situations is His very scars. Scars etched with our sorrow, guilt, regret, weight of oppression, and darkness of depression. He bore these all and rose victorious over them! (2 Corinthians 4:16-18; Colossians 1:13-14)

Once convinced our Savior’s scars apply to us, will we clasp His healed hands with faith to go the distance with Him, to bear Him before our world, even if it means suffering? Do we love and trust Him enough to bring His victory into broken relationships, failures, and enemy strongholds? What scars tell our story of His mercy and redeeming love?

“Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land;
I hear them hail thy bright, ascendant star.
Hast thou no scar?

Hast thou no wound?
Yet I was wounded by the archers; spent,
Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent
By ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned.
Hast thou no wound?

No wound? No scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
And piercèd are the feet that follow Me.
But thine are whole; can he have followed far
Who hast no wound or scar?” ~Amy Carmichael (1867-1951)

Lord who bore all for me, may I bear Your scars to the watching world, that many may know Your love and be healed.

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