After the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, he goes to his disciples to show that he is truly alive. They are doubtful that such an event could take place. Usually, we point to Thomas as the one who doubted the resurrection, and yet all the disciples had a similar experience. John 20:20 says that the first ten who saw Jesus looked at his hands and his side. They visually confirmed that this was Jesus through his scars.
A week later when Jesus appears again, this time with Thomas present, Jesus encourages him to put his hands on those same scars. Thomas touches those marks left on the body of Jesus, and proclaims, “my Lord and my God.”
Why is the Easter Jesus scarred? Why doesn’t his resurrected body come complete with smooth skin and the removal of old blemishes?
I realize the most basic explanation is that Jesus keeps his scars as a form of identification. The disciples would only believe it was Jesus if he has the scars to prove it.
Then I read the book of Revelation. Recorded in chapter four and five is this great worship scene in heaven. A scroll needs to be opened, and no one can do it until a lamb comes out and its appearance is like one “who had been slain” (Rev. 5:6). It is a picture of Jesus and his eternal power established through the cross and resurrection. Even in this eternal moment, Jesus still appears to have visible scars.
I often wonder if there were not some beautiful meaning hiding in those scars. What if Jesus wants us to know that there is a way through the pain of this life? He teaches us that the hurt we feel in this body is not going to defeat us if we trust him. Being a believer in Jesus is not about sidestepping all the pain of this life. In fact, many times it invites more struggle and hurt. Yet, through the difficulties we are overcomers. One day we will look at our scars and be reminded of all the times evil tried to knock us down. When we cried with pain, God was present with us. He showed us a way through the ugliness of this life and turned our wounds into tattoos of God’s faithfulness.
Jesus is scarred. So hang in there, the hurt you are feeling today is not the end of the story.