Stripes and Scars

“he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

It’s Good Friday and I’m thinking about Christ’s horrific death on the cross. Jesus, in my place and perhaps yours, was whipped until his skin bore striped lines of raw meat. He was beaten until his face was unrecognizable. The One who held the glory of heaven, willingly left all that to spend 33 years as a human. He died in humiliation, taunted, spat upon, abandoned by family, friends and even God. He endured the most brutal death reserved for the worst of criminals. But he used one of his seven groanings from the cross to tell us the worst part: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34)

How many of us look at scars on our skin and recall the incidents and pain they represent? Sometimes they are a result of our own doing, sometimes that of others. Over the course of time, you may begin to remember the incident more than the pain associated with it. Sometimes you forget the incident all together and can’t remember how you got a certain scar. That’s because the wound has healed, both physically and mentally. Maybe the skin there has become thick and tough, desensitized to the usual stresses. Do you now see the scar as a reminder of God’s faithfulness? He brings us through life’s battles and provides healing and peace!

The humble among us might wish that our mental and emotional scars could be so overtly seen and healed. It might be much easier to understand each other, and ourselves. Those scars however are usually deep within us. It’s human nature to hide them from others.  But the pain still there inside causes us to act and react in ways that others don’t understand. In fact, we usually don’t understand our own self unless we take the time to recognize and seek healing. Yes, Christ went to the cross for those scars too.

I pause to reflect on this Good Friday. I pray that you will increasingly see and understand the cross and all that it represents. I pray too that you will seek and find healing and peace for your wounds. The good news of Easter is that Christ has paid the awful price on your behalf and mine. On Sunday morning, may your heart be flooded by the great joy and freedom that Christians know on Easter—and all year long.


Photo by Nazmi Zaim on Unsplash

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