The Marks

"From no on, don't let anyone trouble me with these things. For I bear on my body the marks that show I belong to Jesus." Galatians 6:17...."Celebrate your scars as 'tatoos' of triumph. They are proof that God heals. He tells His story through our scars." Sheila Walsh

Being scarred usually brings to mind negative images and thoughts. We look at them as disfigurements that should never be there. Most often, we're ashamed of them, and would give anything to be free of them. That attitude was never found in Paul and most especially in Jesus Christ.

No one gets through this life without scars, and the deepest ones can be those that no one else sees but us. They cripple us, disarm us, paralyze us. We have scars over the deep losses of life. The loss of loved ones, cherished possessions, positions, and the regard of others. Then there are the deeper scars that come from the words, actions, abandonment and neglect of others. The pain of these is intense, and we know it's a lie when we hear that "time heals all wounds." It doesn't. It just covers them over, but the bleeding is always just below the surface.

Jesus suffered as no one ever has. His pain went far beyond the physical agony of the cross. His deepest suffering was experienced when He took upon Himself all the sin of the world, and in doing so, endured what He'd never known before, the turning away of His Father, Who could nothing less because He literally became sin on our behalf. He took upon Himself the penalty of death because of our sin. When He appeared to His disciples after His resurrection, He still bore the scars from the cross. Walsh makes the point that He could have chosen not to retain them, but He didn't. He didn't because He wanted to prove that in His resurrection life is the power to heal the deepest wounds, make whole the most crippled life, restore that which sin sought to destroy. His story is told through His scars. He continues to tell His story through ours.....if we'll surrender them to Him. Have you surrendered yours?

Paul said that his scars were the marks of Jesus upon his life. They showed that he belonged to Christ alone. His scars were also proof that nothing the enemy came against him with could deter what Christ meant to do in his life if he would be yielded to Him in all of it. You and I tend to nurse our wounds...and our scars. As we do so we "nurse" our anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, and shame. The bleeding goes on beneath the surface of the scar. Paul and his Lord Jesus suffered physically, emotionally and spiritually, and were left scarred by all of it, but those scars did not point to their defeat, but to their victory. The cross was a despised symbol in the ancient world, but through it, Christ achieved the greatest victory the universe has ever, or will ever know. Victory over sin and death, and a gateway to His resurrection life. Life in all the fullness in Him that is possible. Their scars were the symbols and proof of His victory. Are yours and mine?

You already know you won't get through this world without scars, and you've many to show for the proof of that. What are your scars proving to you and a watching world? That you're a victim, or a victor? Can He tell His story through your scars, or do your scars just tell everyone about you, and how unfair life and He have been to you. I don't demean your pain, but can you trust Him with your scars? Can you yield them all to Him? Can He make you, through them, a symbol of His victory? A symbol of His Life? Do you bear the marks of Jesus?

Blessings,
Pastor O

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