The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a lot out of us. Some people have had their lives stripped away; others have been immobilized by the disease, or the threat of the disease. I realize that even those who survive don’t return to normal unscathed and without scars. I know that, and these times are teaching our children that, too. Just like Jesus rose from the dead, we will, too. Emerging from our homes after the quarantine will feel like a victory, a mini-resurrection of sorts. But Jesus’ appearance to the disciples in John 20, including our skeptical buddy Thomas, included the holes from the nails which had held him to the cross. Jesus rose again, but not without scars.
John 20:24-27 says, “Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’”
But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.’
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though 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; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’
The scars proved what had happened.
The scars proved what he had survived.
The scars proved the love which had driven him to the cross, and which had raised him from the dead.
The scars proved that he died. But the scars also proved that he’d been raised from the dead.
Our scars, and Jesus’ scars, unite us together in the suffering, and remind us that Jesus was fully human out of God’s abundant love for us.
The lyrics of I am They’s song, “Scars,” says this perfectly:
“Waking up to a new sunrise
Looking back from the other side
I can see now with open eyes
Darkest water and deepest pain
I wouldn’t trade it for anything
Cause my brokenness brought me to You
And these wounds are a story You’ll use
“So I’m thankful for the scars
‘Cause without them I wouldn’t know Your heart
And I know they’ll always tell of who You are
So forever I am thankful for the scars.”
You have scars. I have scars. We know what Jesus’ scars did.
What will our scars prove?
Rev. Jacob Sahms