I have a large scar on my right arm from falling into a kerosene heater as a toddler. The scar on my right leg was caused by a too fast-spinning merry-go-round in the fifth grade. Teenage years brought scars from an unexpected heart procedure. Different seasons of life are accompanied by many different kinds of scars. These scars don’t hurt anymore, and now I barely notice most of them. But after all these years, the scars remain as evidence of suffering, pain and trauma, an indication of a once-existing wound.

We all carry scars. Some are physical, yet others are emotional. Some are self-inflicted while others were the fault of another. Some are caused purely by accident. Some scars teach us lessons, and yet others are painful reminders. Some scars we wear as a badge of honor, and others we try to hide the best we can. But each scar we carry is a reminder that, at one point, we experienced some kind of pain and brokenness. And while the pain fades with time, the visible reminder of that pain remains with us long after the pain subsides.

As I was reading through a devotional study recently, something struck me in a way that it never quite had before. After Jesus’ resurrection, we learn that it was Jesus’ scars that served as visible proof for his followers that He was who He said He was.

“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’  After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.” John 20:19-21

Jesus’ scars resulting from physical and unbearable pain are the marks that made Him recognizable to His disciples. Christ, the resurrected Savior in all his deity, had every ability to remove the scars from His body to showcase the “perfect” human form. Yet he chose to bear visible scars as a reminder of His great love and mercy for us.  “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him.” Isaiah 53:5

The thing about scars that we can easily overlook is that through the pain, through the hurt, through the suffering, scars are present where healing has taken place. The wounds begin to close, the pain slowly subsides, but a visible reminder of that pain still remains. As we read on in Isaiah 53:5, we learn “and by his wounds we are healed.” The scars Jesus shared with His disciples depicted an eternal healing that could only come from the sacrifice of the perfect lamb, Jesus.

Jesus’ painful wounds left scars, scars that told His story of love and redemption. Jesus used those scars to tell others who he was, and it was through His scars that we have been set free. I am so thankful for his scars! Friends, what if we could use our own scars, our own reminders of pain to show the world how Jesus can use our brokenness for His glory? If Jesus was able to use the evidence of His own pain and suffering for the promise of His eternal healing, how much more can he do with our lives when we give them to him, scars and all!

“Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. You, Lord brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit. Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise his holy name. For his anger last only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”  Psalm  30:2-5

Written by Christina Swecker