"He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed." 1 Peter 2:24 (NLT)
An old friend of mine was in a terrible car accident when we were in high school. She ended up with gashes in her face and many, many stitches. I remember, once the stitches were removed, the reminders of that accident in the form of scars. Although they have faded with time, the traces remain.
Parents do everything they can to safeguard their children from falls and accidents. Sooner or later though, a head hits a table, a knee is scraped when falling from a bicycle, or a child needs a surgery that leaves a scar. Aside from keeping them bundled up in bubble wrap, there isn't much we can do to totally prevent our little ones from injury in one form or another.
There is a scene in the movie "Jaws" where the men on the boat are sitting around a table and comparing the proofs of their past hurts. It is quite funny but it also points to the fact that as we age we have more and more evidence of things that have happened to us in life. A history. A physical, mental and emotional "photo album," if you will. The marks of a lived life and the healing that occurred after the pain.
When Jesus was crucified, nails were driven through his hands and feet and a spear was thrust into His side. These wounds left eternal scars on our Savior. John 20:24-27 tells us that Thomas said he would not believe that the other disciples had seen Jesus (after His resurrection) until he could actually touch the wounds. Eight days later, Jesus appeared before them and He said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don't be faithless any longer. Believe!"
There are those who walk among us who bear physical scars obtained by acts of love such as the mark left behind after donating a kidney or the burns on the father who ran back into a burning house to rescue a child. Lifelong reminders of sacrifices that would be made again should the same set of circumstances be presented. We bear pain out of love without thinking about the marks that will be left behind.
The love that Jesus showed for us is insurmountable. The agony of all He withstood before He even was placed on the cross, unimaginable. Yet, He withstood each blow, each insult, each rejection because He understood that without His sacrifice there would be no forgiveness of our sins. The scars that He bears belong to each of us.
No matter what we experience in life, no matter the depth of pain we may deal with, when we observe the scars left behind, let's remember the One who came to rescue us for eternity. One day, when we meet Him face to face, we will have the chance to kiss those nail-scarred hands. What a day that will be!