The scars of Jesus always intrigued me as a kid growing up in the church. How is it that Jesus the Son of God, who was there at creation could have scars? Jesus just came back from the dead, I think he could handle a few scars, but yet he did not. I knew there had to be a reason for the scars. It was not until a few years ago on a trip to Lynchburg, Virginia via Charlotte that God began to give me the answer I had been looking for. This trip was very timely for me as it came at a time in which I was utterly broken and possibly at the lowest point in my life. Looking back at the circumstances that brought me there and the heartache and anguish that I carried with me, I can honestly say that without them I would not have been in the right place to receive what God was trying to impart.
The weeks leading up to my trip were filled listening to podcasts from Elevation Church and Pastor Steven Furtick, who at the time I did not realize were based in Charlotte. In a fortuitous twist I realized this fact and It was like God removed a veil from eyes and I knew I needed to go when I was there. The Sunday I was in attendance happened to be the first week of a new series entitled the 7 mile miracle based on the Emmaus encounter and Jesus last sayings on the cross. It was in this sermon as the Pastor began to discuss why Jesus kept his scars that I was finally getting the answer that I had been seeking for all these years. In the weeks following mt time at Elevation, God took the seeds that were planted that morning and grew them into a concept that has changed my life forever.
What Held You No Longer Holds You
Scars are a very powerful thing, I remember when I was about 8 years old I was playing football in the house. I would catch the ball and dive on the couch, catch the ball dive on the couch. This was a great time until my little bony shin caught the not so tiny nail sticking out from the upholstery. That little nail ripped a nice little gash into my leg that remains today in the form of a scar. It’s interesting that even as I am writing this nearly thirty years later, every time I look at that scar I am reminded of that moment. Our scars tell a story, they are reminders, and emblems of where we have been and what we have done. This is the reason why Jesus kept his scars.
When Jesus hung on the cross held there by those nails, he did so as substitutionary sacrifice for our sins. Scripture tells us in Isaiah 53:5 that he was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities. It was our sins that put those nails in his hands and feet and it was those nails that he defeated. Jesus chose to keep the scars as a sign that what was meant to kill him could not kill him. The scars show that what once held him no longer holds him. He defeated the nails, he defeated the cross and he has the scars to prove it.
Because of Jesus victory over the nails, we have victory over our nails. There are things in this life that the enemy throws at us with the intent of defeating us, figurative nails driven into our souls, holding us back. Those nails come in many forms; broken relationships, poor self image, abuse, whether physical or emotional, just to name a few. It is very easy to remain held by these nails, as the enemy orchestrates the lie that the shame of those nails is too great to be overcome. That abortion you had when you were young, that divorce you endured or that suicide attempt you had are all too shameful to be overcome. That is the lie the enemy tells but the truth is Jesus overcame those lies, he defeated those nails and he proudly shows the scars.
Following in the example Jesus has demonstrated for us, we need to push aside the lie of shame and proudly display the scars of our past. Those scars are reminders and emblems that what held us back no longer holds us back, we overcame that which the enemy meant to kill us with. Those scars prove that you are an overcomer and that you have victory in Jesus, you need to share what you have overcome, not shy away from it. Your testimony and strength is found in your scars.
What Held You Made You Stronger
The interesting thing about scars is that the place of wounding, where that scar forms becomes the strongest portion of skin on the body. Scars have a way of developing strength. Jesus understood this and demonstrated that scars are not signs of weakness but rather trophies of strength. Those things that you have overcome in your past, the very things that were your greatest wounding and the things you were ashamed about, with Christ are your greatest strengths. In Romans 8:28 we are told that God causes all things to work together for the good of those that love him. Those things that you went through, God has called you back to according to his purpose, because he knows you can lead others out of there because you have already been there and overcame yourself. The very place where you were wounded is the very place you are strongest and most impactful.
What Held You Couldn’t Kill You
There is reason for your pain, God has purpose for what you are going or have gone through. I remember as a kid there was this hill at the park down the street from my parents house that I was scared to ride my bike down. It was my fear was that if I did I would crash and die, OK maybe not die but seriously injured. I eventually rode down that hill and had a blast doing it but it was not until I crashed and hurt myself that the fear went away. What I discovered in the aftermath of the crash was that I needed to crash and get wounded to realize that not only am I stronger than I thought, but also the thing that instilled fear in me could not kill me. Every time I look at my knee or elbow I am reminded of that day when I knew the fear that held me back could not kill me.
The scars we carry through life, whether physical, spiritual or emotional are all evidence that the things of our past could not defeat us. This is not to say that the experience was an enjoyable one, because it most likely was not. Our past however can the greatest tool for our future, if you have the proper perspective. The things in your past are in your past because they could not defeat you. The girl of your dreams that turned out to be a nightmare could not defeat you. The drug addiction following your car accident could not defeat you. Those things that seemed insurmountable all fell away. If you want to move forward and be used of God the way he intends. If you want to find freedom and purpose it starts with proper perspective. You are not a victim, you are a survivor who has been given tools for the future that only come through fire and struggle. You had to go through it to know that you could defeat it. Those wounds from your past that felt like disqualification, actually give you a credibility that distinctly qualifies you for your purpose.