Let us pray: Dear Savior, doubt, fear, unbelief—throughout our lives they afflict us. When anything goes wrong we doubt Your controlling goodness in our lives. When bad things happen in the world or to us, we start to disbelieve Your promises of blessing. When serious illness strikes, we begin to fear for out future—including our eternal future. Lord, today instruct us once more that Your resurrection was a fact, that it proves Your eternal power over all things, and that by staying the course and clinging to You in humble faith; trust and confidence will always replace doubt, fear, and unbelief. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, OUR RESURRECTED SAVIOR!
TEXT: John 20: 19-31
Dearly Beloved By Jesus:
One of the most amazing things about the human body is its power to heal itself. I’m blest in that I haven’t had any serious broken bones or major invasive surgery. But I have had cuts, scrapes, a lesion removed, and a few stitches. At the time all those “boo-boo’s looked nasty and radiated some pain. But now, they are all healed over and largely forgotten. All that remains are the scars.
Scars reveal a lot about a person. If you’re on the beach and you see a middle-aged man with a big red incision scar down his chest, you know you’re looking at someone who has been through open heart surgery. One of my sisters had pioneering back surgery early in her life and she still sports that tracked incision from her neck to her hips. She also isn’t afraid to wear a bathing suit and show it off. In her words: “I earned it.” Scars are a type of victory medal, aren’t they?
And that brings us to our lesson of “doubting Thomas” who did a 180 when confronted by Christ’s crucifixion scars. He found out, as you will learn anew, that:
THE SCARS OF JESUS HEAL THE SOUL
The disciples were locked in the Upper Room, owned by John’s family. They were hiding out on Easter evening, afraid, upset, and filled with conflicting emotions. Some had heard the news of Jesus’ resurrection, but they did not really believe it. The events of the past few days had scarred their souls. Then Peter bursts in with the news that he had seen he risen Lord! The open wounds inside their hearts began the process of slowly scaring over. Next Luke and Clopas, the two Emmaus disciples pounded on the door and announced Christ’s appearance to them. The process speeded up ever so slightly. Finally, Christ Himself miraculously appears in the locked room saying: “Peace be with you!” “After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.”
The scars of Jesus healed their souls. Those visible wounds transformed them from fearful, cowering cowards into joyful believers! Christ immediately took advantage of that fact by giving them the Spirit’s comforting power and giving them the ability to go and tell about His scars and their healing ability. “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” Yes, scars, the scars of Christ and trusting in them are the dividing line between a heavenly future and a hellish one—literally.
Recall the passage from Isaiah 53: “And by his wounds we are healed.” Showing them His scars is a graphic reminder of how true those words really are. And while you and I haven’t literally seen the scars of Christ, the Spirit has made them real to us, as well. The result is your healing faith.
Of course, the story doesn’t end there. Thomas the twin (that’s what Didymus means) wasn’t with the others that night. Apparently he was especially conflicted by all that had occurred and he was off sulking, alone and forlorn. Note to self: when the roof falls in around your ears, the worst thing you can do is suffer it alone. Christians who try to resist temptation all alone will fail miserably. We need each other. We need the strength that God provides through our fellow saints.
Anyway, Thomas is alone and when he finally catches up with the others during the week and hears the great news of the resurrection, he rejects it. “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” Next time a natural disaster occurs and people ask: “Where’s God?” Next time personal disaster strikes you or your family the immediate reaction usually will be: “How could God let this happen? I thought He loved me? Why doesn’t He prove it?” In short, you’ll act just like Thomas, won’t you, don’t you? Moreover, if you divorce yourself from the community of saints and sit and stew, the scars of it all might become infected and will never really heal over…..
Well, a week later Thomas is actually with the others in the Upper Room. Note that once again the doors were locked. Apparently doubt over their safety had once more begun it’s slow encroachment into their hearts. Perhaps Thomas’ doubt was beginning to infect them, too? Like you and me, they needed their weekly dose of Godly healing and strength. Yes, God knew all this when He ordained a weekly day of rest and worship for all His people in the 3rd commandment. Anyway, Christ again miraculously appears and immediately addresses Thomas. He knows that disciple’s unbelief has begun to infect the others. So, He immediately cauterizes it. “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe!” The response of Thomas is legendary: “My Lord and my God!”
The scars of Jesus heal the soul. From those scars flowed His life-force to wash away the sins of the world. From those scars came cleansing for lost, hurting, upset souls. From those scars came eternal forgiveness for all sins. And now from those same scars comes the healing of Thomas’ soul. Since Christ died for you, it also means His scars will heal you. Stop doubting and believe!
Finally come the most amazing words of all: “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” None of us have seen–up close and personal—the scars of Christ. And yet, the message, the truth of His scars has healed our souls and made us into peace-filled saints. So, His words here, stating future blessing upon believing Christians have been made alive and are being played out in our very lives today! Look at your own scars and see His healing compassion. Better yet, look at His scars in faith and always see His healing love for your soul. Amen