Ever heard the saying, “the proof is in the pudding”? Though I’m sure there is some historical meaning to that phrase, I’m not going there today. I just want to focus on the idea of proof. We can only know a pudding is good by tasting it. How many times have we been fooled by the appearance of something without true evidence that comes with hands-on knowledge and investigation? Things are not always what they seem.
I’m so glad that Jesus would foresee the issues involved in proving his resurrection. How easily it could have been dismissed. “Oh, that’s just a figment of your imagination!” or “It was his ghost!”
No, he kept his scars.
I heard this recently as a passing phrase in a sermon, and though the preacher continued, my mind stopped there.
He kept his scars.
Here he was, the resurrected Christ, with a glorified body, having defied death, and yet, he still carried, maybe not all the scars, but at least certain, significant ones for the disciples to see and touch. Why?
So there would be proof in the pudding to his death and resurrection.
Remember the state of his disciples after his death? They were pretty scared, holed up in a room, afraid to go anywhere. They’d heard about the empty tomb, some had even seen it. Mary Magedeline claimed to have seen Jesus, as did two of his followers who’d been on their way to Emmaus. Could it be true? Maybe they’d just seen a ghost. After all, he’d disappeared as quickly as he came.
That’s when Jesus gave the proof. You can read all about it in Luke 24:36-49. They were talking about all that was happening, when Jesus suddenly appeared in the room. Now, that’s no ordinary body! It’s one that can come and go as it pleases. Maybe it was a ghost. That’s exactly what Luke tells us the disciples thought. But Jesus told them,
“Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.*
I think Jesus kept his scars for at least two reasons:
- As proof of his physical resurrection from the dead. He was who he said he was. The scars were made by the cruel crucifixion of Christ on the cross. He was no impostor or ghost. Without the physical resurrection, we have no hope.
- To remind us of the price paid for our salvation. Peter writes: “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”* The grace we receive came at a great cost.
I’m grateful for the record of those who witnessed both the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They saw his scars and gave testimony to that fact. The message of the gospel has been proven and holds true. That is why, as Jesus opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures, he does the same for us, that repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations!
I’m glad he kept his scars! What more proof do you need? Let’s share the good news.
Grace and Peace
*Luke 24:38-40 (NIV)
*1 Peter 2:24 (NIV)