An open Bible and a cup of coffee.

From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.”
(Galatians 6:17)

The scars on our bodies didn’t appear without reason; each one has a story behind it. Each one is like a mini diploma indicating that we have passed through a particular experience and have learned some things along the way. A scar above my lip reminds me to duck when someone is swinging a hockey stick at my head. Another scar by my left eye reminds me to be mindful of my surroundings the next time I find myself fighting someone in a stairwell! Linde’s scar on her midsection is far more noble and significant; it indicates that she has brought five beautiful image-bearers of God into the world via cesarean section. Even the wrinkles on an elderly person’s face I see as “scars” incurred by time’s relentless assault. Even these “scars” have a certain nobility about them; they indicate that their bearers have survived and even overcame many things in this life and they are all the wiser for it. Some of us bear scars that aren’t physical in nature, but mental and emotional. A ruthless betrayal or the loss of a loved one can wound us deeply and scar us for life. Even so, the wisdom and insight we gain in overcoming these traumatic experiences help educate and equip us to be effective ministers to others enduring similar hardships. Of course, God is our ultimate source of strength and comfort, guiding us through our trials so that we might be a help to others later on. The great apostle Paul reminds us that the God of heaven has disclosed Himself as “the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Though we often feel the need to hide our scars from others, their appearance can let a hurting person know that we have experienced hard things also. Not only do we understand and sympathize, our “diplomas” show that our advice on how to survive and overcome is more than empty platitudes. Today’s verse passage reveals Paul’s heart on the matter. He was not the least bit ashamed of the scars he had incurred at the hands of wicked men because of his witness to Jesus. These were proof positive that he was sincere in his witness and legitimate in his office as an apostle (cf Acts 14:19; 2 Corinthians 11:16-33). The supreme example in this connection of course is the Lord Jesus Himself. Without hesitation He put His scarred hands on display for Thomas to examine and marvel at (John 20:26-29). Our scars are part of our life stories; they are part of what makes us who we are. The wonder of it all is that Christ the Lord would allow His flawless body to be broken in so ghastly a fashion (Isaiah 52:13-14) that we might be presented “faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24). Praise God for His amazing grace!

God bless,

pastor john