A missionary was tortured for preaching Christ in pagan Burma. His fingernails were torn from the roots and he was hung by his fingers until his hands were twisted and scarred. Later when he asked to preach in a certain town, the pagan Prince of that town refused saying: “I would allow a dozen ordinary men to speak, but not you with those scarred hands. My people would never listen to what you say, for they could not help seeing your hands.” The inference was that the missionary’s scarred hands would speak more convincingly of his love for Christ than any words he could say.
Today we are introduced to the scares of Jesus. Thomas says that unless he sees the nail prints and can touch the wounds he will not believe in the Resurrection. When Jesus reveals himself to Thomas, all Thomas needed was to see the scares he did not need to touch them. For Thomas the scares were the greatest proof that Jesus, who had suffered and died, was now risen from the tomb. Jesus is appearing to us today and he is showing us his scares. What do they mean? I would like to suggest three ways.
1. Love – The scares of Jesus show that although we are sinners, Jesus died for us.
A little girl sat on her mother’s knee, and as she looked into her mother’s face she said” “Mummie, you’ve got the prettiest hair and the sweetest eyes I have ever seen. And Mummie, why are your arms so ugly?” The mother then explained to her daughter that when she was a tiny baby the house caught fire. She ran into the house and rescued her our of her crib. In the process her arms and hands were badly burned. When the little girl heard this, tears began streaming down her face. Looking once more into her mother’s face she said, “Mummie, you’ve got the prettiest hair I have ever seen, and yours is the sweetest face, and your eyes are wonderful. But, Mummie, your hands and your arms are the most beautiful of all. I have loved you always, but I love you more than ever now.”
This love of Jesus for us should make us all respond as Thomas did with “my Lord and my God.” This is the true Christian response to the scars of Jesus.
2. Struggle – The scares of Jesus show that life is a struggle. The life of a Christian is not easy. Even God’s own Son had to suffer. But God promises us victory over this suffering
3. Our Scars – The dark hour when we feel that God is not with us in our suffering. The first thing that Jesus does is show us His scars and His sufferings. Jesus came to save us all but also to suffer with us. Look at His hands and his side. He is holding his hands out to you. His scars did not go away with resurrection He carries them with you, and they are your scars.
4. Scars caused by sin – The nail is the preferred symbol for sin. Each sin is a nail that contains to be driven into the body of Jesus. In sin we not only break the commandments but we break God’s heart.
The world is full of footprints of God. Every thing we see is footprint of the maker. But we need not follow Him by His footprints. He has revealed Himself to us through the Gospel. This book tells us who God is and what he has done through His Son. The footprints of the setting sun may tell us that God is. But only the nail prints in the hands of Jesus tell us that God is love. Jesus appears and showed Hos scars. They were proof of His love. They won the final victory over death they speak compassion to our wounds. Scars that we re-open with our sin but can close again with repentance. We have been very hard on Thomas through the years but today he speaks for all of us. The words he spoke should be our words. “My Lord and My God.”