Summary: In this message, Yours truly has endeavored to present before the readership the significance of some Biblical scars…some scary and some not-so-scary!!!
Scars: Some Scary and Some Not-So-Scary!!!
Hmmmm...Boxing is in the air...though for tragic reasons. Arguably the greatest Boxer of all times -Mohammed Ali-passed away recently. Well, let me begin with an interesting boxing related episode. Larry Holmes the undisputed World Heavy Weight boxing champion from 1978 to 1983 was in his younger days a sparring partner of Mohammed Ali.
Some wouldn’t believe that the upcoming and not-so-famous (at that time) Holmes was indeed legendary Ali’s training partner when he raved about it in his neighborhood. “I had to pull out pictures of me with him to prove it” wrote Holmes in his biography. Finally one day the “blessed moment” arrived, despite all the protective gear during the training sessions, one punch of Ali landed square on Holmes right eye giving him instantly the “Black eye” and what was Holmes’ reaction to it!!! Let’s hear it straight from Horse’s (Holmes sic) mouth “I wouldn't put ice on it. I wouldn't put dark glasses on. I went around telling people, 'Ali gave me this black eye.' ”. Boy was he mighty proud about the fact that he bore on his body the mark that marked him as Ali’s training partner!!!
Ditto with Apostle Paul who spake proudly thus: “…I carry on my body the scars of the whippings and wounds from Jesus’ enemies that mark me as his slave.” (Gal 6:17-TLB). In this message, Yours truly has endeavored to present before the readership the significance of some Biblical scars…some scary and some not-so-scary. Well, firstly the not-so-scary ones’…
Skin and Spirit…
On fulfillment of certain conditions, Exodus 21:6 outlines the “not-so-scary” procedure that would produce a scar in the skin of a Jewish slave (to be precise on his ear) which would mark him as a permanent slave to his master, who otherwise would have no power to enslave him beyond a 6 year span (prescribed span in the Law-Exo 21:1-5).
As Christians, we may not be at the beginning of our Christian journey bearing any physical marks of our life-long subjection and commitment to Christ but in our spirits there would be that indelible mark of the Cross, which would make us more and more Heaven-inclined and less and less Earth-oriented by the day (Gal 6:14).
While on the subject of slavery, it is simply remarkable to note how brothers (or should we say half-brothers-Matt 13:55) of our Lord Jesus namely James and Jude address themselves in their respective Epistles’. Post-resurrection of Jesus, so transformed were these erstwhile mockers of their “Elder Brother” (John 7:3-5) that far from addressing themselves as “Brothers of Jesus”, they amazingly stoop down to level of a “bond-servant” (Greek Doulos).
Bible students familiar with Greek language and culture of the First Century would know that they were two types of Slaves at that time. Firstly “Andropodon”, the one bought in the market, who had some “rights” and on fulfilling some “conditions” could walk away free from his Master but “Doulos” slave was one who was born in his Master’s household (his parents would have been slaves at the time of his birth) and was thus consigned to a life of life-long slavery from birth. It is a measure of James’ and Jude’s humility plus their commitment to their Master (with “a scar” of the Cross in their hearts) that from the time of their “second birth” they called themselves as slaves of not “Andropodon” category but of “Doulos” genre.
Slave and Spirited…
Back to Apostle Paul’s spirited declaration of his slavery in Gal 6:17. A la Larry Holmes, he was proud of his bodily scars-obviously an offshoot of all the physical persecutions he endured patiently-which stand as a silent testimony of his tremendous commitment to the Lord which marked his persevering , faithful service to the Master till the very end (2 Cor 11:24-27/2 Tim 4:7-8).
Dear Christian, if you are persecuted by the stooges of the “Roaring lion” (I Peter 5:8) that is a “good sign” for it means, you are really
a) “wrenching out the Lord’s lambs’ from his ruthless jaws” (I Sam 17:34-35…note the Lion’s act of aggression only when the Shepherd strives to release the lamb from its murderous jaws)
b) Feeding the Master’s flock with “sound doctrine” ( 3 John 1:9-10)
for the Enemy who is not so much bothered much by “Christians who are cooling their heels” is indeed troubled by only those who engage him in a fierce battle (Eph 6:11/1 Peter 5:9) whilst in pursuit of their Master’s goals’ of not only “rescuing souls from the his domain of darkness but also of subsequently feeding and safeguarding them properly (Matt 28:18-20/John 21:16-16).”
Mind you, scars’ sustained in fulfilling the Master’s “agenda” selflessly can sometimes be “emotional” in nature for out of the mouth of the agents’ of the great Serpent can come some venomous words meant to break “hearts” (read break “the will”) of a sincere servant of Christ (Psa 64:3, Pro 12:18 TLB) but the diligent righteous ones’ leaning on the Master’s power would nevertheless “soldier on” always punching above their weight... to use the Boxing parlance (Zech 4:6/ 2 Cor 4:7)!!!