Do you have any scars or wounds that you are carrying around with you today? By the time people get to be my age, most of us have a dozen nice scars and a healing wound or two. One day, earlier this week, as Sahalie was getting ready for bed, she asked me about scars. At nine-years-old, she has a couple of small ones, which will probably disappear over time. But at my age, I have several of them, and some apparently have no intention of disappearing. Undoubtedly, you could probably show us all some nice bodily scars too. But what about the mental kind; wounds that may or may not have healed, but which have left soul-scars. Perhaps you were hurt by a pastor or church years ago, and that left a scar. Was it an abusive parent or a terrifying experience of some sort or a bad friendship?
From time to time people come to the house of God wounded and hurting. There isn’t a lot we can do to heal up that scratch from the thorn you got on Friday. But I’d like to introduce you to One who really knows wounds and who has healed thousands of them. He, Himself, has felt the sting of thorns, fists, swords and even nails. And He knows about emotional wounds, like the ones inflicted by friends and loved ones. For example, He knows what it is to be really, really lonely – forsaken by everyone. He has been scorned, laughed at and jeered. He understands the pain of slander and what wounds people’s lies can cause. Of course, I am speaking about the Lord Jesus Christ, the living, loving Son of God.
Can you remember back when that bee or hornet stung you? You honestly believed that you did not deserve that sting. That nasty Yellow Jacket attacked you out of pure spite and maliciousness. If you could multiply that pain a thousand times, it wouldn’t begin to match the agony and torture which fell upon our Saviour, because of other people’s sin. In His case it really was completely undeserved by Him. Whatever wounds and scars you may have this morning, Jesus knows them all – by experience. And that fact, along with His omnipotent love, makes Him the perfect comforter in our distress or pain. And I emphasize again, Christ Jesus didn’t deserve a single wound – not one! You and I know, way down in the depths of our hearts, that we deserve more than we’ve ever gotten. We know as we pass a highway patrol officer giving a man a ticket, that we should have been stopped and ticketed a hundred times, but we weren’t. The Son of God has never deserved in any fashion a single hurt or pain.
Think with me this morning about some of Jesus’ wounds. We are told that when He was crucified He was beaten so badly as to become nearly unrecognizable. Isaiah prophesied that He had no form nor comeliness – “no beauty.” That was due, among other things, to the terrible beating He endured. And He GAVE His back to the soldier who whipped Him. He GAVE His face to them that ripped out His beard and hair. Then, He permitted those same Cretians to spit into those wounds. Isaiah says that His visage, His appearance, was marred more than that of any other man. And then He was crucified – a device used to torture people to death.
Physically, the Lord Jesus suffered at least seven different wounds at His crucifixion. Then there were the emotional and spiritual wounds which cut ten times as deeply. He knows whatever pain you have had or that you are experiencing today. He received His wounds with a purpose, and perhaps that purpose had your name on it.
I’d like to take you back 2,000 years and back to the Person of Jesus of Nazareth. I’d like you to take a brief look at the wounds which were inflicted upon the Son of God. And I’d like you to remember that each and every one of them were for the salvation of His people. But they also contain other purposes and lessons.
For example, the wounds of the Lord Jesus arethe PROOF of His IDENTITY.
John 20:24-29 – “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
Thomas had a problem at which people laugh today, but it was no laughing matter. Perhaps the reason that Thomas is the butt of so many jokes is to hide the fact that so many of us have the same problem in our own particular form. Thomas was a Christian, but he was a little retarded in his faith. Then, as we see in the parallel mental maladies, it affected his motor skills as well. Thomas probably had lead feet to go along with his slow heart. He was raised among human beings who sometimes got confused and even deceived. He had heard spiritual leaders who told him one thing and practiced another. He had seen a few hypocrites among the religious crowd. When his fellow disciples said that Jesus had arisen from the dead, he was dubious. He wasn’t the sort of fella to deny any scripture which he knew and understood. But when his friends told him that Jesus, whom he KNEW to have died, was alive, he retired into disbelief. What was it that eventually made Thomas really believe that Jesus had arisen from the dead? It was that Thomas saw the wounds in Jesus’ hands.
At camp a couple weeks ago, a young man with a beard and a dog walked up and asked where he could set up his tent. Someone replied that this was a church camp, implying that it was reserved, and not for strangers. He basically replied that he knew that. It was not for a few minutes that any of us realized that it was Randal Feila. It had been years since most of us had last seen him, and he had changed from a child to man.
There is a day quickly approaching, when we shall meet Jesus, whom we have not seen with our eyes. What is He going to look like? Will he have a beard or moustache? What will his hair color be? Will it be parted in the middle, side, or not at all? What will his skin tone be? Will it still glisten as it did on the Mount of Transfiguration? Will His features be European, Hebrew or something else? The fact that we will meet Him in the air, surrounded by angels and trumpets will tell us something, but besides these things, how will we know for sure that it is truly the Saviour?
We will know because those terrible wounds will still be in that glorified body. In fact they will be a part of His glory, which once were nothing but gory. Those wounds will be glorified. When Thomas saw Jesus, the Lord was already in His Heavenly, glorified body. That body could pass through walls, yet eat a nice piece of baked fish. That body could take on special disguises, but usually looked basically the same. We have little choice but to think that that will be the body which we shall see one day.
Every once in a while on the news the presenter will ask for help in finding a certain criminal. He will mention the man’s height, weight and hair color, which don’t help very much, because there are usually thousands of people matching the same general description. But if that person has any scars or tattoos, those are the sorts of things that might stand out in a crowd. Then again, that is what tattoos are all about, aren’t they? to draw attention to a person’s body.
Kids, please don’t get any tattoos or piercings. If you already have some, we forgive you, but if you don’t have any, don’t get any. Not only are they forbidden by the Word of God…. Leviticus 19:28 – “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.” But they are essentially scars which you will probably become ashamed to wear at some point. I know people who do everything in their power to keep others from knowing they have tattoos. And people may say what they like, but tattooing began in idolatry and is still a form of idolatry. It may have begun in the worship of idol gods, but most modern tattoos involve the worship of self.
But my point is, wounds, whether self-inflicted or forced upon us by others, help to identify us.
The wounds of the Lord Jesus also stir a great deal of CURIOSITY.
I Peter 1:12 teaches us that the angels of God would stand around gawking at the wounds of Lord Jesus if they could. The scars of Christ stand beyond the horison of angelic understanding. Can you imagine how educated and intelligent the angels of God probably have become? If your mind was now a thousand years old, and your memory about June 9, 654 AD was as good as you can remember breakfast this morning, how much knowledge would you now possess? What if you were 6,000 years old and still with the mind of a 20-year-old? There is no reason to believe that angels are not exactly THAT intelligent and knowledgeable. But some things cannot be learned through books, Google or even diligent observation. Some things can never be understood except through actual experience.
For example, angels know nothing about pain – either physical or emotional. In one way, that makes you higher and more knowledgeable than the angels, because you may know pain. And, those angels have never been able to grasp why God would permit his Son to die at the hands of sinners. It is through the wounds of the Lord Jesus, that God heals the effects of sin in you and me. That is something which the angels of the Lord cannot grasp. You see, God has not made any provision for the same thing in those creatures. About 1/3 of all God’s angels rebelled against their Master and joined forces with Satan. But there is no redemption possible for those traitors. “Without the shedding of blood” there is no removal of sin – but – no blood was shed on their behalf. There was no wound made in Christ for them. The Bible teaches a limited atonement in more ways than one; no angels included. The Devil’s angels are eternally separated from God – lost and damned. So no angel has ever experience the joy of sin’s forgiveness, and certainly no demon ever can. But Christ came into the world for the specific purpose of redeeming some sinful men. He came not for the glory which He deserved, but to minister His glory and to give His life. He came to seek and to save that which was lost – but ONLY among the children of Adam.
All of God’s angels were created before the creation of this universe – at least as we understand it. It was the Son of God Himself who spoke those principalities, powers, seraphim and cherubim into existence. And then those angels rejoiced as Christ made the world, created and scattered the stars, formed man’s physical body and breathed into it the breath of life. They worshiped the Triune God long before Jesus’ incarnation. In Heaven for thousands of years they have cried, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.”
But then their Creator came to earth as the Son of God incarnate. Angels stood amazed, “Is it possible that the mighty God could be laying aside His deity and His majesty?” They were astounded at the baby lying in Mary’s arms. “Glory to God, glory to God in the highest and on peace, good will toward men.” Those angels stood agape over the Lord when the Devil tempted Him as though He was human. They hovered over every step that Son of God made upon the face of His Creation. They were appalled at the hatred He received, and they rejoiced in all that He successfully endured. But to watch their Master die for those who hated Him was unfathomable to those who were His footmen. “Can God love so much as to give His life to a race which spits in his face?” They couldn’t grasp it, so they stared and gawked at God’s great Mercy Seat. For 2,000 years they have been examining, thinking, studying and praising God, for His mystery and grace. And remember that they receive not a particle of advantage from it all. Jesus’ wounds are an utter enigma to the Heavenly host.
How can sinners do anything less than to praise the Lord for His suffering on their behalf?
A third function of those wounds is to ACCUSE the UNGODLY.
Zechariah 12:9-10 – “And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” This is an oft referred to passage in various contexts in the New Testament. We find it in John 19 and Matthew 24 to name but a couple. But I want you to think of it in the light of Revelation 1:4-7: “John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”
When God became incarnate, He did so fulfilling many Jewish prophesies about the Messiah. But the people of Israel chose to remain enemies of God, calling for Jesus’ crucifixion. Without logic they called for the head of Son of David. Jesus fulfilled their scriptures and taught them God’s truth; He proved Himself with miracles. Yet Israel turned their backs on Him and have taught their children to follow their example. But soon their descendants will be running in terror before His face. Very soon, on the heels of the Translation of the Saints, will commence the seven year time of purification and preparation for Israel’s redemption. During Jacob’s Trouble – the last half of that tribulation – it will look like end of Judaism. It will appear that like the Arabs and the world will have their desired Jewish genocide – annihilation. But then, all of a sudden, the door of Heaven will open and Christ will return with His saints at His side. He will come to destroy His atheistic enemies and win the doubters of Israel to Himself. There is a sense in which Thomas is a type and picture of the Tribulation of Israel. Those Jews who pass through the Tribulation will look on Him Whom they have pierced. They won’t recognize His face, because none of them will have ever seen it before. They won’t take particular notice of the friends traveling at His side; But they will recognize the circumstances, and they will see those wounds. They will be cut to the core and fall in repentance before Him. Israel shall be saved in a day, believing on Christ – just as many of you have already done.
But Israel will not be the only ones so convicted by that sight. Since the death of our Saviour, the messengers of Christ have gone to every corner of the globe. Even in the days of the Apostles, the gospel was well dispersed. Peter went to the north and east, at least as far at least as Babylon. Paul went west and north perhaps as far as far as England. Matthew went into the far east; Philip to the south, and so on. It always amazes me how much and how well those people traveled before all our modern conveyances. Today, they say that 90% world has access to message of God’s grace and love. But at least 95% of those who have heard – have rejected that message. That is exactly as we find it here in Post Falls.
Matthew 24:29-30 – “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shal see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Revelation 1 says that every eye shall see Him and mourn bitterly. Once again, they shall recognize Him by the nail prints in his hands. And the earth will mourn over centuries of sin and unbelief.
Every one of those wounds will act as prosecuting witnesses against the condemned. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” “But God commendeth His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” In these wounds, the love of God was displayed to sinners. And just as Abel’s blood called out to God from the soil where it was spilt, so do the wounds and blood of Christ cry out to us.
The question is: “What do the wounds of Christ say to you?” Are they interesting ornaments, like the tattoo on someone’s arm, or are they disgusting? Do they draw your eye? What about drawing your heart? Those wounds were created for a reason; they served a purpose. What have they done for you? Anything at all?
Bow your knee before that marred and scarred Son of God, before it is eternally too late. Repent before God and put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for sin.