Summary: We all have scars on our bodies, and each scar has a memory that reminds us that moment when the scar was received. When Jesus looks at his hands, he sees his scars. What do those scars mean to Jesus? Love.
The Scars Of Life
The Rev. Dr. W. Maynard Pittendreigh
We have been studying the Gospel of John since the Second Sunday of Eastertide. We have moved through this Gospel, studied its miracles, signs and teachings. We now come to the last two Sundays of this Gospel.
This morning we turn our attention to chapter 20 of John. Christ has been crucified. He has been buried. He has risen from the dead. It’s hard to believe, and as we see in this morning’s reading, not all of Christ’s followers blindly accept the news of that he has risen from the dead.
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
A friend of mine says that when he went into the Army, he was given a physical medical examination. The recruit in front of my friend was asked if he had any scars or identifying marks. He answered, "No."
The medic at the table said, "Boy, everybody has some scars or other identifying marks. You better tell me yours or I’ll have to take you outside and give you some!" Suddenly the guy ahead of my friend remembered a scar or two.
The medic was right, of course. Seems that everyone has at least one scar and a story to tell about it.
When I was a child, I took my father’s pocket knife and began to carve a piece of wood. It wasn’t long before the knife slipped and I accidentally carved my thumb. I hated to call for help, because I knew I wasn’t supposed to be using the knife to begin with, but with blood flowing freely, I decided it would be in my best interest to confess my guilt and ask for help.
Help came from my father, who took a needle and thread and stitched up my thumb. Dad was not a doctor, but he’d spent his life in textiles, and I guess he figured he could sew anything, whether it was cloth or skin.
I look at my thumb today, and every time I reach for a knife, I see the scar and I remember -- I remember to be careful.
In the movie, Jaws, three men are out at sea searching for the man eating Great White Shark. During a lull in their search, they find themselves sharing coffee and sharing horror stories. Each one has scars and each one tries to one up each other. One of the characters has scars from the war, another has scars from a previous shark attack. The character played by Richard Dreyfus rips open his shirt and points to his chest without speaking a word. Another man asks, "What? Bypass surgery?"
"No," answers Dreyfus, "Betty Sue, 7th grade. She broke my heart."
All of us have scars. You can’t live life without being hurt.
In Shakespeare’s "Henry V" the King makes a stirring speech to his soldiers before they are to fight the French in the battle of Agincourt. The English army is terribly outnumbered and morale is low. The speech made by the King is magnificent and the English go out and win the battle and the war. The battle was fought on Saint Crispian’s Day. Henry tells his troops that after this, whenever Saint Crispian is celebrated,