The First Sunday After Easter: He Had The Scars To Prove It
“...He shewed them his hands and his side.” (John 20:19).
Christ was nailed to a cross. He died there in agony and Blood. After He was dead, “But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side, and immediately there came out blood and water.” (John 19:34). The Apostle John was there by the Cross. He saw the nails piercing Christ’s hands and feet. He saw Jesus die. He saw the soldier pierce Christ’s side with a spear. John saw the Blood and water gush forth from the wound in His side. John said that he “saw it [and] gave testimony” that it happened (John 19:35). He saw the Roman soldiers bury the dead body of Jesus in “a new sepulchre, wherein no man yet had been laid” (John 19:41).
Early the next morning Mary Magdalene ran and told Peter and John that the great stone which covered the entrance to Jesus’ tomb had been “taken away from the sepulchre” (John 20:1). Peter and John ran to the empty tomb. John got there first. He looked into the tomb, and “stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes [that had been wound around Jesus’ body] lying” (John 20:5). Peter caught up with John “and went into the [tomb], and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself” (John 20:6-7). Then John followed Peter into the tomb and saw the graveclothes, and the empty sepulchre. They left in a confused state, “For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead” (John 20:9). This all happened early on Sunday morning.
Later “the same day” the Disciples were hiding in a room “for fear of the” Jewish authorities who had demanded Jesus’ crucifixion (John 20:19). Suddenly Jesus was there, resurrected from the dead! He said to them, “Peace be unto you” (John 20:19).
“But they were terrified and [afraid], and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet” (Luke 24:37-40).
“He shewed them his hands, his feet and his side” (Luke 24:40, John 20:19).
The wounds that the nails made in His hands and feet were there for them to see in His resurrected body. They could see the wound in His side, a great gash made by the soldier’s spear. Jesus said to Thomas, “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing” (John 20:27).
“He shewed them his hands, his feet, and his side” (Luke 24:40, John 20:19).
Christ could easily have erased those wounds from His body. He could have removed all those marks of His suffering when He rose from the grave. But He did not. Instead, there were the nail wounds in His hands and feet, and there was the gaping wound in His side. What was the reason for this? Why did He show them his wounds? I will give you three reasons why, “He shewed them his hands his feet and his side” (Luke 24:40, John 20:19).
I. First, Jesus showed them His wounds so we would know He was the same person who was crucified on the Cross.
The Gnostic heretics said that Jesus didn’t really die on the Cross. The Koran of the Muslims says that Jesus did not die on the Cross. There are many people today who do not believe that God would let His Son die such a horrible death. Jesus knew that there would be unbelief concerning His crucifixion. That is the first reason why, “He shewed them his hands his feet and his side” (Luke 24:40, John 19:20).
Jesus wanted everyone to know that He really did suffer and die on the Cross. So, He let the Disciples look at His wounds, and even touch them. The Apostle John, who was an eyewitness, spoke of that “which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the word of life:” (I John 1:1).
“He shewed them his hands, his feet and his side” (Luke 24:40, John 20:19).
II. Second, Jesus showed them His wounds so we would know He is the suffering substitute for our sins.
John the Baptist had said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
But he did not reveal exactly how Jesus would take away our sins. It was not until Jesus rose from the dead that the Disciples understood that Jesus, “…his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree” (I Peter 2:24).
It was only after they saw the nail prints in His hands, His feet and His side that they knew, “Christ also died once for our sins, the just for the unjust: that he might offer us to God ” (I Peter 3:18).
That is the second reason, “He shewed them his hands his feet and his side” (Luke 24:40, John 20:19).
He wanted us to know for sure that He suffered and died on the Cross to pay the penalty for our sin, so we could be saved from sin and Hell.
He wanted us to see the nail prints in His hands His feet and His side so we would know that the wrath of God that was upon us was satisfied through His death on the Cross, that we might know
“…the redemption, that is in Christ Jesus, Whom God hath proposed to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to the shewing of his justice, for the remission of former sins,” (Romans 3:24-25).
That is why, “He shewed them his hands his feet and his side” (Luke 24:40, John 20:19).
III. Third, Jesus showed them His wounds so we would know that He is the Saviour throughout the ages.
Christ took His wounds and His Blood with Him to Heaven to provide eternal redemption for us.
“But Christ, being come an high priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hand, that is, not of this creation: Neither by the blood of goats, or of calves, but by his own blood, entered once into the holies, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”
“For Jesus is not entered into the holies made with hands, the patterns of the true: but into heaven itself, that he may appear now in the presence of God for us.” (Hebrews 9:24).
Seated at the right hand of God in Heaven, the wounds of Jesus are always and forever a reminder from God, “he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” (I John 2:2).
Yet most people in the world today reject Jesus. Most people want to be saved by their own good deeds and their own religious beliefs. So they reject Jesus, who is God’s provision for salvation. I did not say it. It was Jesus Himself who said, “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
Jesus is the only way to God because He is the only one who suffered and died to pay for our sins. No other religious leader did that – not Confucius, not Buddha, not Mohammed, not Joseph Smith, not anyone else! Only of Jesus Christ could it be said, “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
Only of Jesus could it be said, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (I Timothy 1:15).
Only of Jesus could it be said, “But God commendeth his charity towards us; because when as yet we were sinners, according to the time, Christ died for us; much more therefore, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved from wrath through him.” (Romans 5:8-9).
That is why, “He shewed them his hands his feet and his side” (Luke 24:40, John 19:20).
Even when Jesus comes the second time, He will yet bear the marks of the crucifixion in His hands His feet and his side. Christ said, through the prophet Zechariah,
“And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him” (Zechariah 12:10).
Those who would not turn to Christ while living, will mourn in sorrow throughout eternity in Hell.
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL HANDS I HAVE EVER SEEN
The story is told of an English family whose house was on fire. They thought everyone got out safely; but when they discovered the baby was missing, the mother ran back into the fire.
She pushed away burning wood and finally reached into the cradle for her baby. Her hands were badly burned. For years she always covered her hands. This embarrassed her daughter because her friends made fun of her mother’s gloved hands. In fact, the girl became ashamed of her mother.
But one day the daughter walked into her mother’s room unexpectedly. Her mother had her hands uncovered. For the first time she saw her mother’s hands. They were scarred and ugly.
Too late, the mother quickly tried to cover her hands from her daughter. The daughter looked in disgust and said, “Those are the ugliest hands I have ever seen.”The weeping mother felt she must tell her daughter about her ugly hands.
“When you were a small baby a fire destroyed our house. You were inside in your cradle and I had to fight my way through the flames to find you. I wrapped you in a blanket and dropped you from the window into waiting hands.“Not being able to go down the burning stairway, I climbed out the window. My hands were burned,but I also slipped and cut my hands as I fell from the window. The doctor did his best to repair my hands, but this is the best he could do.
“I know you are ashamed of my hands, but these hands were torn and scarred for you. These scars prove my love for you.”The girl then wept, took one hand and then the other, buried her face in them and said, “Mother, I’m so sorry! Forgive me! These are the most beautiful hands I have ever seen.”
One day all Christians will be with the Lord. Today we are absent from the Lord, but one day we will be absent from this world and present with the Lord. We will be forever with the Lord.
The two on the road to Emmaus knew Him when “...he took bread, and blessed it,and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.”—Luke 24:30-31. Why? Possibly it is because when He broke the bread they saw His nail scarred hands.
One day our eyes will also be opened as we are welcomed home to be with Him by His nail-scarred hands that prove His love to us. By His nail scarred body we will know Him. We can then joyously say to Him, “Those are the most beautiful scars I have ever seen.”