He Showed Them the Wounds
“As He spoke, He showed them the wounds in His hands and His side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord!” John 20:20 NLT
According to John’s Gospel, on the night of His resurrection, Jesus appeared to ten of His disciples in the room where they were hiding. The first thing He did was speak to them these words: “Peace be with you.” The next thing He did was: “He showed them the wounds in His hands and His side.” After hearing His voice and seeing His wounds, the disciples were ecstatic because they saw the Lord.
Think about that for a moment. The disciples have been in hiding since Jesus was arrested, tried, crucified, and buried. Their leader, who they thought was the Messiah, was now dead. Several women who had been at the tomb came to their hiding place and told them that the tomb was empty, and Jesus was alive. Peter and John run to the tomb and verify it is empty. Skeptical of the women’s story, they go back into hiding.
This sets the stage for the most important historical fact of the resurrection story. When Jesus appears to His disciples, He not only spoke to them, but He also showed them the identifying wounds on His body. The body that was beaten, bruised, and broken was now standing before them on display. The Bodily Resurrection of Jesus is the foundational doctrine of the Christian faith. There was no doubt, Jesus is alive, and He has the scars to prove it.
When John writes that Jesus “showed them His wounds,” he uses a word that can be translated “to give evidence or proof of a thing.” His scarred Body is all the evidence these ten disciples need to convince them. If you have ever watched a forensic crime show on TV, you understand how scars on a body can be used to identify a person. In the case of Jesus, it is not a corpse, but a resurrected body.
As I thought about this during my recovery, I now have two visible scars on my body. The scar on my knee was made by a surgeon for me to be healed so I could walk. It is still painful today. The other scar is on the inside of my forearm. It was made by a surgeon who was removing a malignant cancer from my body so I could live.
We all have scars. These scars are reminders to us of what caused the scars. Jesus showed his disciples His wounds to remind them and us of the reason for those scars. He experienced the pain and penalty for our sins on the cross and rose again so we can have a relationship with Him.
As we celebrate Easter this year, let us be mindful of the One Who still shows us His wounds. As we encounter wounded and scarred people along they way, let us point them to the One who suffered, died, and rose again for them.
I love you and it is a privilege to be your pastor.