Known by His Scars
Reading Isa 49:16, John 20:24
I have a record by a Christian singer called Michael Card that is entitled “Known by His Scars” The chorus goes like this:-
The marks of death that God chose never to erase
The wounds of loves eternal war
When the kingdom comes with its perfected sons
He will be known by the scars
The only manmade things in heaven are the scars in the hands of Jesus, the wounds in his feet, the wound in his side.
The prophet Zachariah in 13:6 pictures the Lord Jesus as he’s coming again – And one will say to him, ‘What are these wounds between your arms?’ Then he will answer, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
Known by His Scars! This was certainly the case with Thomas – v24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” 26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Thomas wanted to be sure, needed to be sure, he wanted Jesus to be alive, but feared being deceived by some look alike, He had seen Jesus executed, seen the Marks of the beatings, seen the nails, seen the twisted agonizing body on the cross, wept, no doubt as death was confirmed by the spear thrust – he needed to know that it was indeed the same man who had been through all this that his fellow disciples are saying is risen what will this man have that an actor or look alike won’t? The wounds and scars of crucifixion – Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe. – He will be known by the scars
You know Thomas, wasn’t a coward, wasn’t a Luke warm follower of Jesus, He loved Jesus, would follow Jesus into the jaws of death. Little is recorded for us in scripture about this disciple. In John 11:16 Jesus states His determination to go to Judea, to the home of Lazarus – The last few times that Jesus had been in Judea the Jews had tried to seize and kill Him so there was good reason why the disciples were not to eager to go back there, v8 8 The disciples said to Him, “Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and are You going there again?
Listen to Thomas’s response to Jesus saying he was going back to Judea – v16 Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.” He was willing to follow Jesus in this case even if it meant death.
In John 14:1-6 it is Thomas who asks Jesus a question that leads to that wonderful reply – I amj the way the Truth and the Life! Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.” 5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Thomas had, he didn’t just accept the words of Christ and go on his way. But he was so eager to know that if Christ was going to go away Thomas wanted to go with him.
Thomas wanted only Jesus, not some representation, Just Jesus! He will be known by the scars
Incidentally, tradition has it that Thomas travelled to India in AD 52 and founded churches. The success of the gospel message worried some of the powerful leaders and an assassin was sent to kill Thomas.
You see Thomas wanted only Jesus, not some representation, Just Jesus! He will be known by the scars
What do these scars Tell about Jesus?
That He loves us
That Jesus had loved the people deeply Thomas had witnessed everyday he walked with him, witnessed in the healing of the sick, in feeding of the hungry, in the teaching of the word of God, but now as he gazes on the wounds and scars of the risen Christ he sees that love vastly magnified, for he sees not just a man but God – Then Jesus said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
Look at his confession, “My Lord, and my God.” Not teacher. Not Lord. Not Messiah. But God! It is the only place where Jesus is called God without qualification of any kind. It is uttered with conviction as if Thomas was simply recognizing a fact, just as 2 + 2 = 4, and the sun is in the sky. You are my Lord and my God! These are certainly not the words of a doubter.
Can you imagine Looking on the risen Christ, the incarnate, the sovereign of creation, before whom the angels worship, having all your doubts removed and there clearly to be seen are marks of death, the wounds and scars left by the sons of men – dear Lord Jesus, what are these wounds inflicted upon your body? Ah, Jesus replies these are the wounds I bore for you! I have graven you upon the palms of my hands. On my very heart the spear has written your name. He will be known by His scars.
Is your faith flagging? Look at Jesus, dead, buried, risen, and then say, He loved me, and gave himself for me! The wounds of our Lord are the tokens of his love.
Wounded for me, wounded for me,
There on the cross He was wounded for me;
Gone my transgressions, and now I am free,
All because Jesus was wounded for me.
He will be known by His scars
That He died for us
Did He truly die? Or did he simply faint?
He will be known by His scars – they declare that death took Him, especially that wound in his side. He must have died; John 19:34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
Imagine again, standing in front of the risen Christ, knowing without doubt that He had died on the cross, and yet here he stands before you, but now you know without doubt, with unshadowed clarity that He is also God – The God, who made the heavens and the earth, has taken to himself our nature, and in one wondrous person he was both God and man; and has not only bore unutterable sufferings, but has died, and for what? for a worm like me!
Imagine the shock, the joy that burst forth in the heart of Thomas
Let me quote the second verse of the hymn:-
Dying for me, dying for me,
There on the cross He was dying for me;
Now in His death my redemption I see,
All because Jesus was dying for me.
This is our comfort, for if he died in our stead, then we shall not die for our sins; our transgression is put away, and our iniquity is pardoned. If the sacrifice had never been slain we might despair; but since the spear-wound proves that the great Sacrifice really died, despair is slain, hope revives, and confidence rejoices.
He will be known by His scars!
He Rose from the Dead!
The very Christ that died has risen again. There is no illusion: there could be no mistake. It is not somebody else foisted upon us in his place; but Jesus who died has left the dead, for there are the marks of the crucifixion in his hands and in his feet, and there is the spear-thrust still. It is Jesus: this same Jesus. This is a matter of great comfort to a Christian—this indisputably proven doctrine of the resurrection of our Lord. It is the keystone of the gospel arch. Take that away, or doubt it, and there remains nothing to comfort you. But because Jesus died and in the selfsame person rose again, and ever lives, therefore does our heart sweetly rest, believing that “them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him”; and also that the whole of the work of Jesus is true, is completed, and is accepted of God.
Risen for me, risen for me,
Up from the grave He has risen for me;
Now evermore from death’s sting I am free,
All because Jesus has risen for me.
He will be known by His scars
Those scars of our Lord, are the memorials of his love to his people. They set forth his love so that his chosen can see the tokens; but they are also memorials to himself. He condescendingly bears these as his reminders. In heaven, at this moment, upon the person of our blessed Lord, there are the scars of his crucifixion. Centuries have gone by, and yet he looks like a Lamb that has been slain. Our first glance will assure us that this is he of whom they said, “Crucify him; crucify him.” Steadily look with the eyes of your faith into the glory, and see your Master’s wounds, and say within yourself, “He has compassion upon us still: he bears the marks of his passion.” Look up, poor sufferer! Jesus knows what physical pain means. Look up, poor depressed one! he knows what a broken heart means. Canst thou not perceive this? Those prints upon his hands, declare that he has not forgotten what he underwent for us, but still has a fellow-feeling for us.
Once again, these wounds may comfort us because in heaven they are, before God and the holy angels, the perpetual ensigns of his finished work. That sacrifice of his can never be repeated, and never needs to be: “After he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, he sat down on the right hand of God.” But the memorials are always being presented before the infinite mind of God. Those memorials are, in part, the wounds in our Lord’s blessed person. Glorified spirits can never cease to sing, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain”; for every time they gaze upon him they perceive his scars. How resplendent shine the nail-prints! No jewels that ever gemmed a king can look one-half so lustrous as these. Though he be God over all blessed for ever, yet to us, at least, his brightest splendour comes from his death.
Dear brother, dear sister, when the times of darkness come, and joy and peace seem to have deserted you, look upon the wounds of love that God chose never to erase – take your eyes and your thoughts away from your won wounds and remember that “with his stripes we are healed.” Gaze, then; intently gaze, upon thy Redeemer’s wounds and you will find rest for your soul.