Summary: Oh, the comfort of knowing that when he rose from that grave, he left the grave-clothes behind, he left the tomb behind… but he kept the scars.
INTRO: 1. The greatest evidence that Jesus rose from the dead was not an empty tomb or the grave clothes folded neatly where Jesus’ body once were but the multiplied eye-witness accounts of a living Lord for some 40 days after he rose.
2. This was not a limited sighting.
a. In that short period of 40 days over 500 witnesses encountered this same Jesus after he had risen.
b. They had walked with him, talked to him, ate with him, touched him, was touched by him, was served by him and served him.
b. These where not gullible people looking for something to believe in… for the most part these where skeptics, doubted, defeated people who had their hopes dashed and who found it hard to believe that the man they saw die on that cross and buried is now alive.
3. Here in our text, we see one such encounter that Jesus had with his disciples… as they sit and hear the words of the two men who on the road to Emmaus tells of their encounter with the risen Lord.
a. This encounter begins with a terrified group, hesitant to speak to this man that now stands before them.
b. But Jesus changed the atmosphere in that room when he declared “Look at my hands and my feet.”
c. What was it about his hands and feet that would so radically change this band of frightened recluses into champions of faith? His scars.
4. Jesus is not ashamed of those scars, but he wears them as ornaments of his love for us.
a. They are not marks of shame to him… but beautiful proof of his love, of his sacrifice, of his victory on our behalf.
ILL. A small orphaned boy lived with his grandmother. One night their house caught fire. The grandmother, trying to rescue the little boy asleep upstairs, perished in the smoke and flames. A crowd gathered around the burning house. The boy’s cries for help were heard above the crackling of the blaze. No one seemed to know what to do, for the front of the house was a mass of flames. Suddenly a stranger rushed from the crowd and circled to the back where he spotted an iron pipe that reached an upstairs window. He disappeared for a minute, then reappeared with the boy in his arms. Amid the cheers of the crowd, he climbed down the hot pipe as the boy hung around his neck. Weeks later a public hearing was held in the town hall to determine in whose custody the boy would be placed. Each person wanting the boy was allowed to speak briefly. The first man said, “I have a big farm. Everybody needs the out-of-doors.” The second man told of the advantages he could provide. “I’m a teacher. I have a large library. He would get a good education.” Others spoke. Finally the richest man in the community said, “I’m wealthy. I could give the boy everything mentioned tonight: farm, education, and more, including money and travel. I’d like him in my home.” The chairman asked, “Anyone else like to say a word?” From the backseat rose a stranger who had slipped in unnoticed. As he walked toward the front, deep suffering showed on his face. Reaching the front of the room, he stood directly in front of the little boy. Slowly the stranger removed his hands from his pockets. A gasp went up from the crowd. The little boy, whose eyes had been focused on the floor until now, looked up. The man’s hands were terribly scarred. Suddenly the boy emitted a cry of recognition. Here was the man who had saved his life. His hands were scarred from climbing up and down the hot pipe. With a leap the boy threw himself around the stranger’s neck and held on for life. The farmer rose and left. The teacher, too. Then the rich man. Everyone departed, leaving the boy and his rescuer who had won him without a word. Those marred hands spoke more effectively than any words.
b. When death comes to claim me, it will step aside because of the man with the scars.
c. When hell comes to condemn me, it will have to step aside because of the man with the scars.
5. Those scars are not just his scars, they are mine as well.
a. Oh, the comfort of knowing that when he rose from that grave, he left the grave-clothes behind, he left the tomb behind… but he kept the scars.
b. I’m sure that Jesus doesn’t look anything like Hollywood has made him out to be, but I’m not worried when I get home in heaven, I’ll just look for the man bearing Calvary’s scars.
c. You’ll know him by his scars!