Remembering the Scars

“. . . showed them his hands . . .”


“It was late that Sunday evening, and the disciples were gathered together behind locked doors, because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities. Then Jesus came and stood among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. After saying this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy at seeing the Lord.” (John 20:19-20)

When I stood at the rim of the Grand Canyon and took this photo I was literally caught up and drawn into in the wonder and majesty of God.  The Grand Canyon is one of those places where I have felt that I stood in the sacred presence of God.  Like the rest of you I’m still in shock and processing the latest act of terror in our country that was exploded in Boston.  As I prayed and wondered my thoughts were drawn to this photo.  I realized that for all its beauty and majesty this canyon is really a scar on the earth left behind from the work of the tiny river in the bottom of the canyon as it gouged its way through the dirt and rock.  I began to think about scars . . .

When Jesus appeared to the disciples he showed them his scars from the nails that pierced his hands and the spear that pierced his side.  Did Jesus show the scars for identification purposes – to convince the disciples that he was really the same one who had been crucified?  That’s probably the most common interpretation of the verses. However, what if Jesus showed the scars for another reason?  Maybe Jesus also wanted the disciples to see the scars so the disciples would be reminded that humanity had done its best to destroy him.  Humanity betrayed, scorned, tortured, and executed Jesus.  Humanity heaped upon him its ugliest acts of hatred and violence – yet God prevailed. Jesus’ undeniable presence proved the power of God’s love to the disciples.  It’s interesting and important to note that when Jesus’ disciples walked away from their encounter with Jesus, when they remembered his scars, they proclaimed a message of love, forgiveness, peace, justice, and hope – not hatred and vengeance.  Their message and witness resulted in the transformation of billions of lives.  God’s love in Christ continues daily in the transformation of lives.

Today more people will suffer and die from violence – from acts of terrorism and war around the world to acts of domestic violence in the homes in our neighborhoods.  Like the Boston bombing, all of these will leave scars.  What will we think and say when we see these scars?  We need safety, justice, peace, and hope to prevail in our lives.  How we remember and respond to the scars will determine whether we experience it.  I pray that God will help me remember the scars of Jesus when I remember the scars of violence.

Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

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~ by revgenelson on April 17, 2013.

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