by Rev. Michael Schmidt
It was a cool summer night in 1989, and my brother and I were riding our bikes up and down the street while some adults discussed the issues of the day on the porch. On one particular pass of the neighbor’s old metal garbage can, I rode too close, and a piece of metal that was sticking out caught my hand. There was blood, there was pain, and there were screams.
A summer night that otherwise would have been long ago forgotten, is still frequently remembered almost 25 years later as the scar from that night is still barely visible on my hand. Every time I look at it and see it, I am reminded once more of that night, and the lesson I learned to not ride my bike too close to old metal garbage cans.
Perhaps you have your own scars that tell their own stories: the scar from the surgery to repair a broken bone; the scar from a fall where you landed poorly; the scar from your own summer night, when you were innocently playing until something went wrong.
Each scar tells a story—each mark is a reminder of that particular day. Over time, those scars may fade, and you can even have procedures to hide them from view or erase them, but they never truly go away.
And yet, in our eternal Easter joy, we are reminded not of the marks upon our bodies, but of the marks that are left upon Jesus’ body. The crucifixion will leave its own permanent marks upon Jesus: holes in each hand, holes in each of His feet, and a hole in His side.
These marks are constant reminders of what Jesus suffered on your behalf: holes in His hands and feet from the nails that were pounded in in order to affix Him to the cross; a spear piercing His side to ensure that He was dead.
They are reminders both for Him and for you. Each time you look at Jesus, and see the holes in His hands, feet, and side, you are reminded again and again of all that Christ suffered, even death upon a cross, for you, so that you might have the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
But they are also reminders for God the Father. For each time you sin and ask for God’s forgiveness, there is Jesus, seated at the right hand of His Father in heaven, pointing to His hands, feet, and side as a reminder that He paid the price for you so that you might have the forgiveness of sin and live.
Two thousand years later, Jesus is still pointing to those holes, still reminding His Father of what He did for you.
Every scar tells a story; every scar is a reminder of an event that might otherwise have been long forgotten. But while your scars may fade with time, for Jesus, those holes in His hands, feet and side are just as clear today as they were on that first Good Friday. Each time He sees them, each time you see them, there is the reminder of God’s great love for you—a love that would stop at nothing to ensure that you would live; a love that has scars to prove how deep and broad it truly is, and how far Jesus has gone on your behalf.
Rev. Michael Schmidt is pastor of Peace Lutheran Church in Natoma, Kansas. He blogs at revschmidt.wordpress.com