There are notes used for the sermon.
Risen Jesus appears to the disciples, and then again to them a second time and to Thomas, with the scars of his Crucifixion.
Can’t have Easter without Good Friday.
Handel’s Messiah: And with is stripes we are healed. (from Isaiah)
New Heart English Bible
But he was pierced for our transgressions, and he was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought our peace was on him; and by his stripes we are healed.
We love Easter. The joy. The peace. The sense that God won the battle and the war. And he did! But it came at a great price.
The scars we see on the risen Christ proclaim what Dietrich Bonhoeffer names as “costly grace”.
God’s grace towards humankind had a price before God that you and I could NOT pay –
thanks be to God our Lord Jesus paid it all!
Christ scars remind each of us that “we were bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:20).
Len Vander Zee is a retired CRC pastor now serving as interim minister of preaching at Church of the Servant CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich.
We all have scars,
from the unstitched nicks of childhood
to long gouges left on our chests from bypass surgery
to the empty rippled space left after a mastectomy.
Some scars are readily visible; others remain hidden, whether from embarrassment or reticence.
Then there are the countless inner wounds;
the grief that never quite heals,
wrongs done to us or by us that can never be righted,
memories that cannot be erased,
hurtful words or betrayals that seem to have a direct line to our tear ducts or the recurrent knot in our stomach.
You can’t get through life without scars, inside or outside.
It’s fascinating, then, that when John tells the story of Jesus’ appearance to his disciples after the resurrection,
he tells how Jesus showed them his scars, his wounds. Not once, but twice.
To the twelve. A week later, to Thomas.
Why are the wounds so important?
Why didn’t Jesus appear unblemished and whole?
Jesus showed them his wounds as a badge of his identity.
He is the risen Lord, conquering death, and he is their risen Savior,
who entered the depths of human pain and sin.
The marks he displayed proved his finished work
Jesus is truly the wounded healer.
He comes as the mangled one who conquered sin and death.
His wounds remind us of the suffering, the fear, the pain of the one who did it all for us.
When we see the wounded one risen and victorious, we know our own wounds will be healed.
This isn’t the last time in the Bible we see Jesus with his wounds.
The writer of Revelation sees a vision:
“Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne. . . . Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands. . . . In a loud voice they were saying, ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain. . . .’” (5:6, 11, 12).
Just like we sing during this Easter season when we sing “This is the Feast” near the beginning of our liturgy. “Worthy is Christ, the Lamb who was slain, whose blood set us free to be people of God.”
I find it infinitely comforting that the wounded one is the object of heaven’s praise.
There, before the great throne in glory stands the slaughtered Lamb.
Even in the glory of God’s presence, the wounds are visible.
In fact the wounds elicit the thunderous praise of the heavenly hosts.
In Jesus’ wounds, the wounds of human life are never far from the heart of God.
“Jesus of the Scars” by Edward Shillito
If we have never sought, we seek Thee now;
Thine eyes burn through the dark, our only stars;
We must have sight of thorn-pricks on Thy brow,
We must have Thee, O Jesus of the Scars.
The heavens frighten us; they are too calm;
In all the universe we have no place.
Our wounds are hurting us; where is the balm?
Lord Jesus, by Thy Scars, we claim Thy grace.
If, when the doors are shut, Thou drawest near,
Only reveal those hands, that side of Thine;
We know to-day what wounds are, have no fear,
Show us Thy Scars, we know the countersign.
The other gods were strong; but Thou wast weak;
They rode, but Thou didst stumble to a throne;
But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak,
And not a god has wounds, but Thou alone.