Jesus of the Scars 2

“If someone asks him,
`What are these wounds on your body?’
he will answer,
`The wounds I was given at the house of my friends.’”
(Zechariah 13:6)

The scars of the cross were visible after His resurrection here on earth. In this way He could prove to His followers that it was the same body that had hung upon the cross and been buried in the tomb.

However we discover that these scars were also visible on the body that ascended into heaven. And it seems that they will remain in evidence forever – throughout eternity.

“Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the centre of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders  … Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!” (Revelation 5:6-12)

This raise the question of ‘Why?’ Why should the holy and unblemished Christ retain on His heavenly body the marks of the brutal scars inflicted on Him on the cross?

It has been suggested that

  • They were to be a source of eternal wonder and praise for the angels – who had seem Him leave in unblemished glory and now return as the victorious victim
  • They are His trophies of honour – similar to those worn by military leaders after victorious campaigns
  • When He returns in judgement these scars will speak more loudly and clearly than any words of His
    • “They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son”  (Zechariah 12:10)

But there has to be a deeper and greater truth than these for the glorious Son of God to choose to wear these indications of terrible wounds through all the eternal ages to come. And how can we forget His significant words

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13)

Take time to contemplate the scarred Saviour in wonder and awe


Lord Jesus You received these wounds from me and for me. Help me to honour You as my eternal Saviour and Lord. Amen.



Jesus of the Scars 1

“Look at my hands and my feet.
It is I myself! Touch me and see;
a ghost does not have flesh and bones,
 as you see I have.”
(Luke 24:39)

Hidden behind locked doors the disciples were startled when the Lord suddenly appeared amongst them. Jesus invited them to look at His scars and to touch them – proving for themselves that He was real and not an apparition.

There was more to it than that though. What He was showing them was that His resurrection body still had the scars from the wounds He had received whilst on the cross. This was to prove to them that this body – this person – was the same one that had hung upon the cross and been buried in the tomb. They had seen it all happen and would know the truth of it.

Because the resurrection was quite unexpected it took them some time to accept and receive this truth – notwithstanding the fact that Jesus had taught them about it. But they could not deny it and came to embrace it with great joy.

The Jesus who had died in this world and for this world was resurrected back into it. He had come back to them, the ones He had called. All was not lost – in fact all had just begun!

The resurrected Christ who met them where they were is the same Christ who meets us today where we are – and how we are. Out in the open as we go about our daily tasks, or behind the physical or emotional locked doors of our lives, Christ comes to us and invites us to reach out to Him. And as we shall see His scars have a message for us.

Jesus Christ is alive and is with me.


Lord Jesus by Your power You have overcome the power of sin and death. You are alive today in the fullness of Your glory. Lord I believe and trust in You. Amen.


I have seen the Lord!

“Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news:
“I have seen the Lord!”
(John 20:18)


Mary’s message was electric with meaning.

Christ was risen – and the Light restored to the world. Christ was risen and was in control. Christ was risen and still revealed Himself to individuals. Christ was risen and His purpose would be completed. Christ was risen and His kingdom would be established, in His Way.

Jesus calls each and every one of us today to come to Him. To come out of the dark tombs in which we find ourselves, away from the graves of love and hope, up from the sepulchres of sadness and despair, deserting the vaults of failure and misery. Not only has His stone been rolled away. The stones of our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual crypts have been removed as well. It is the risen Christ now who calls to us. He calls us to come to Him so that He, and He alone, can give us life – a life that is not found with or through any other person or thing. Whatever our situation He calls us to put our focus and trust in Him, so that He might enter our lives and lead us forward.

We do not seek Christ now at His death. We do not weep at His grave. We find Him in the everyday gardens of our lives, in the rooms in which we live and the roads along which we travel. The risen Christ is with us. We can speak with Him.

Focus on Him today


Lord, open the eyes of my spirit, more and more and more to Your great and wonderful presence, power and love, In Jesus name. Amen.


Seventh Word

“Jesus called out with a loud voice,
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
When he had said this, he breathed his last.”
(Luke 23:46)

Lent 32


Death did not claim Jesus – it was His own voluntary act when all else had been accomplished.

  • Mark says “he breathed His last”,
  • Matthew “He gave up His spirit”,
  • Luke “Father into Your hands I commit My spirit”
  • John “He bowed His head and gave up His Spirit.”

Jesus who had said that He did only what the Father told Him to do remained faithful to that commission to the very end. No one could take His life from Him – He laid it down at the time, the place and in the manner decided by the Father, whose will He accepted and carried out perfectly.

Even now God was in complete control!

His enemies could rejoice. His disciples could stare at each other in numbed despair and desolation. But in heaven it is likely that the Father said quietly to His Son, ‘well done, good and faithful servant.’

All was done. All was achieved. Salvation was open to those who would believe. But we must never underestimate the agonised suffering in body, mind and spirit of Jesus. Nor must we overlook the anguished love of God as He watched and participated in the rejection, humiliation, abuse and crucifixion of Himself in His beloved Son. The cost was truly terrible.

Jesus – the Son of God – died for us

We are spectators in our own salvation. God give us the humility and grace to believe, accept and respond in faith. May we never take this unimaginable love, this awesome sacrifice, and the eternal consequences for us, lightly.

Contemplate Jesus on the cross for you – listen for His words.


Thank You Father for Your love. Thank You Jesus for Your sacrifice. Thank You Holy Spirit for showing me the Truth. Thank You God. Amen.


Sixth Word

“When he had received the drink,
Jesus said,
“It is finished”
(John 19:30)

Lent 31

Jesus had seen His mission and ministry through to the end. The Father’s commission and purpose were now fulfilled. He had taken upon Himself the sins of the world and would take them with Him to the grave. The penalty had been paid on our behalf by the only one who could – the spotless and sinless Lamb of God, the Son Himself.

Significantly, now, something had happened. As the end approached it was not an agonising and tragic failure. It was instead a glorious and triumphant victory. The man on the cross was not sinking into oblivion but rising to cross the finishing line. It was in so many ways His finest moment.

‘It is finished’ was not the exhausted mumble of a defeated man but the cry of conquest. Matthew and Mark have it ‘in a loud voice.’ Jesus was not the victim but the conqueror. He had come for a purpose. He had seen that purpose through to the end. He had taken and absorbed both the sin of the world and its consequences. He had suffered for them and had overcome the very powers of evil on the cross. He, the Living Word, had seen the Father’s will through to its final completion which, at last, was now upon Him.

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)

It was finished. In confirmation God Himself tore the heavy curtain of separation in the Temple from top to bottom. It was no longer needed. The way home to God had been opened by Jesus the Son of God, God the Son.


When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

(Isaac Watts)



Fifth Word

“Later, knowing that all was now completed,
and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled,
Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”
(John 19:28)

Lent 30

There are deepening levels at which this word from the Cross can be heard and understood.

The first is the affirmation of the very real humanity of Jesus. He was not just God in human flesh – He was in fact fully man and knew what it was to be thirsty. After what He had been through, the beatings and loss of blood, and the way in which He had hung naked and for so long under the heat of the sun, it was a natural condition. The person who responded to the need certainly did not find it strange.

Then, there was still something that Jesus wanted to say – something that was important for those around Him, and His Father, to hear. His parched throat was probably closing and needed to be moistened again. Some will know what it is like to be so dry that it is even impossible to swallow.

There is also the sense in which Jesus now wanted to completely drain the cup that His Father had given Him to drink – the one about which He had prayed in Gethsemane,

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me;
yet not my will, but yours be done.”

(Luke 22:42)

Coupled with this would have been the desire that influenced all of Jesus thinking and actions – that His Father be glorified as the one true God, whose righteousness was reflected in the lives of His people. How He longed for that righteousness to be revealed. And He had taught,

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.”

(Matthew 5:6)

And, finally, going to the depths of His being, Jesus would have ‘thirsted’ for the living waters of the Holy Spirit. He had told the woman at the well that,

“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
(John 4:13-14)

That blessing, intimacy and glorious life had been His from before the beginning until His previous agonised cry, as the weight of our sin had taken Him into the desert darkness of separation from God,

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
(Matthew 27:46)

At every level of His being Jesus was thirsty – very, very thirsty – and it was all for our salvation!


O God, create in me an undivided heart for You. Fill me with Your Spirit and pour Your love into me that I may truly love You – for Jesus sake. Amen.



Fourth Word

“From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”–which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
(Matthew 27:45-46)

Lent 29

  • It didn’t get worse than this.
    • For the very first time in His existence – both as Divine and human – Jesus was separated from God.
    • The darkness that came over the land would have been as nothing compared to that which had appeared within Him.
    • Such was the effect upon Jesus that it tore this cry from the very depths of His spirit.
    • Jesus had taken our sin upon Himself.
      • “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
  • It was our sin that came between God and Jesus
    • It brought about this terrible separation.
    • As ‘the wages of sin is death’ so sin brought death to their intimacy and consequently death to the Jesus who was fully man as well.
    • In terms of His own illustration the branch had been cut off from the Vine – to be thrown into the fire and burned.
    • Jesus experienced the deepest and blackest spiritual hell so that we would not have to.
  • Steadily, and seemingly without end, the sin and sin guilt would have poured upon Him.
    • The sin of Adam and Eve, of Cain, of the people of the flood, of the bondage in Egypt and the unfaithful years in the desert,
    • the sin of David and Bathsheba, the repeated idolatries and adulteries of God’s chosen people,
    • the sin of the Great Wars of the 20th century, the Holocaust, the genocides, the apartheids,
    • the slaughters and merciless killings in Africa and the Middle East
    • the abortions, the abused, trafficked and neglected children and women
    • and all the other sin and sins of the countless individuals from the beginning to the end, and of all the nations and even the churches as well.
    • My sins, your sins of yesterday, today and tomorrow
    • See them as they are poured into Him in an endless stream
    • He would have sunk beneath the weight of sin without number or end, and been spiritually suffocated by the rising tide of thick and impenetrable darkness.
  • Alone, lonely and desolate, Jesus hung there.
    • Lacerated within and without,
    • flooded with darkness,
    • pinned to the Cross not by nails but by agonising love,
  • He would no longer be aware of the people around Him
    • He had moved into another world
    • An unseen world
    • Where He fought the greatest of all battles –
      • between darkness and light,
      • between love and sin,
      • between law and grace,
      • between holiness and evil,
    • Jesus hung determinedly on – to set us free.

There was no other good enough
To pay the price of sin;
He only could unlock the gate
Of heaven, and let us in.


Third Word

“When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”
(John 19:26-27)

Lent 28

How easy it is, when we are absorbed in matters of consequence, to forget the needs of those nearest to us. Very often too the calls and demands of others take precedence over those of our own families.

Jesus was not just hanging on the cross, like the two other dying men, waiting to die. He was involved in a battle of immense proportions – on the final outcome of which depended the future of all humankind, past, present and future – and the worst was still to come. In the face of such enormous pain and pressure, with the most terrible consequences if He failed, He still found the time and the love from which to care.

Years before, when His mother and Joseph had taken Him into the Temple to ‘present Him to the Lord’, they were met by a faithful man named Simeon who, after blessing them all, concluded by saying to Mary, “And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” How deep and how excruciating must have been the sword that pierced her now as she stood and watched her son’s continued rejection, humiliation and suffering.

This was one pain of His that she could not make go away. But He, out of the midst of that pain and the particular struggle in which He was involved, reached out to her and provided for her as best He could. His beloved John would look after her for Him.

Wherever we are, and whatever our involvement, there will probably be someone who looks to us for love and attention. No matter how much they might understand the demands made upon us it might still sadden them when they feel ignored or taken for granted. It might delight and cheer them if we turn to acknowledge them and love them in some way. If Jesus could do it from the cross there is no excuse whatsoever for us. He just cared so much for this ‘dear woman!’ She had been honoured in His birth, He had honoured her in His first miracle and now He honoured her as He died.


Lord God, please help me to show my love to the special people whom You have placed near me. Amen.


What a Promise

“Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth,
today you will be with me in paradise”
(Luke 23:43)

Lent 27

What a very strange thing for one dying man to say to another! It was strange enough that the criminal next to Him had asked Jesus to “remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” Stranger still was the response from a man Himself not far from death! Within a few hours they were both dead – yet Jesus rose from that death in power and glory and suddenly His promise to the dying person next to Him takes on a new significance.

The love and grace of God is revealed in a new and breathtaking way. After a life that appears to have been socially and morally unacceptable a crucified man’s dying acknowledgement of the Lord took him from eternal darkness into eternal life with the Lord who told him, “You will be with Me in paradise.”

No conditions were placed upon him, no formal act of repentance was required, no further discussion or teaching were necessary. A very simple appeal, containing within it an acknowledgement of Jesus, and a faith that was probably not much bigger than a mustard seed, brought about an immediate and heart-warming reply. It brings out so clearly the wonderful truth and simplicity of Jesus great teaching,

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” 
(John 3:16)

Most of us do have longer to live than that man. And so we would need to look at the ways in which our lives should respond to the love and grace of God. Yet there is a simple truth that we need to accept. Our righteousness with God – that is being made right with God – depends not on us but on Jesus. This is what the Cross was and is all about. We accept it and then respond.

“Jesus remember me” – “I promise you.” Does it get clearer and simpler than that? As simple as sincerely saying “Jesus, please be my Saviour and my Lord” – and then following Him.


Lord Jesus, please help me to always acknowledge You as my Saviour and Lord – and may my life reflect this relationship. Amen.