In so many ways, the Bible is like a great movie – Despicable Me 2, Frozen. (Can you tell what’s popular in our house right now?)
Before you think I’m a nut job, hear me out.
I’ve seen Despicable Me 2 a gazillion times, courtesy of my youngest. But each time I watch it, I catch something new, a joke I didn’t get before, a subtle comment that suddenly makes sense.
The Bible is the same way. I can read chapters, verses, or parables over and over again and catch something new each time. I’m guessing that’s what the writer of Hebrews meant when he said, “For the word of God is living and active.” (Hebrews 4:12) If we ask God for eyes to see and understand, the Bible is fresh each time we open it.
Right now I’m reading in the gospels, post-crucifixion. When Jesus appeared to his disciples, it struck me that he still had his scars.
In Luke, Jesus asked his disciples:
Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.
And in John’s gospel, Jesus told Thomas:
Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.
Jesus had just conquered death. Surely he could have applied a little Mederma to those bad boys and made them go away.
But he didn’t. And the more I think about it, the more I realize Jesus probably kept those scars for a reason. I can think of three.
1. Scars help us remember.
My appendix ruptured in the spring of 2009. The first doctor I saw advised waiting for several weeks to see what happened. (I got worse…not a treatment I recommend!)
By the time I sought a second opinion, I was sick. Really sick. Thankfully, that doctor opted for surgery. But since my appendix had been ruptured for a month, the doctor didn’t know how if he could do laparoscopic surgery or if he’d have to make a bigger incision.
As the anesthesiologist sent me off to la-la-land, my last thought was a jumbled prayer…please let the doctor take my appendix laparoscopically. I’d already been down a month and was ready to get back to life.
It was a huge relief to wake up on the other side of surgery with just a tiny scar across my belly button. I left the hospital the next day with minimal recovery time.
So now, every time I look at the scar, I’m reminded of God’s grace and the extraordinary skill of Dr. William Redwine at St. Luke’s – and I’m thankful. The scar helps me remember God’s blessings, even in the hard times.
2. Scars tell our story.
That scar above my right eye? Four stitches on the day I learned that riding a bike on gravel is a BAD IDEA.
The scar above my other eye? Five stitches from failing to leave enough space between my head and the side of the swimming pool. (Less than a year after the bike accident – ouch!)
And that scar on my right hand? The day in eighth grade home economics when I once and for all learned the value of using oven mitts.
Those scars tell my story. The places I’ve been and the lessons I’ve learned along the way. Jesus’s scars told his story, too. And, trust me, his story is way better than mine.
His scars tell the story of death defeated. Of life everlasting. Of love that knows no limits. It’s no wonder he chose to keep them.
3. Scars help us share with others.
Jesus’s scars were proof that he’d done what he set out to do. They told where he’d been and what he’d accomplished. They were the ultimate visual aid.
Jesus hung on a cross. He died for you and me. And God raised him from the dead. He has the scars to prove it.
Let’s talk: Do you have any scars? How did you get them? Do they remind you of anything?