When You Face Suffering
With Easter only two weeks away I want to ask an Easter-related question - why did Jesus keep his scars?
When Jesus appeared to the disciples on Easter they could see the nail scars on his hands and feet and the scar from the spear that had pierced his side during his crucifixion. Why weren't all traces of the cross and its pain removed for his resurrected body? Why shouldn't his heavenly body be perfect and beautiful? We fantasize about having such bodies - why shouldn't Jesus get one when he's been raised from the dead?
I'm borrowing that question from Philip Yancy who raised it in his book, The Jesus I Never Knew. He answers that Jesus scars remained because they connect him to the pain and suffering that we experience in this earthly life. He chose to become part of our suffering and to help us bear it. His scars are an emblem of his time with us, a reminder of his suffering for us, and a pledge of his love to redeem us.
"Because of Easter," wrote Philip Yancy, "I can hope that the tears we shed, the blows we receive, the emotional pain, the heartache over lost friends and loved ones, all these will become memories, like Jesus' scars. … Scars never completely go away, but neither do they hurt any longer. We will have re-created bodies, a re-created heaven and earth. We will have a new start, an Easter start."
The words that the Apostle Paul gives us in Romans 8 could not have been written without a scarred Jesus whose scars were now, because of his resurrection, marks of a love that had proved to be stronger than death itself.
When suffering causes us to ask, "Why me?"; "Where is God?" "Why does suffering happen to good people?" - we are to look at Jesus' scars and the love for which they are the emblem.
This is what Paul is telling us when he writes, "Who will separate us from the love of Christ?" then declares that there is nothing stronger than Christ's love - noth ...
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