Getting my son's attention I asked, “Hey, Jaylen, do you remember when you fell off your bike last summer?” His quick response was, “Yes. And I have a scar to prove it.”
Scars tell stories.
Scars expose the proof that something happened. Jaylen’s scar on his shoulder proves he took a hard tumble off his bike.
I have scar stories, too. I have scars on my head proving I ran into the corner of a garage door and another proving I fell off my bike as I crossed the finish line beating a boy in the neighborhood race. I have a scar on my knee that proves I tripped while running as fast as I could because my mom had called me home 'for the last time.' And I have five scars on my midsection proving the removal of cancerous body parts.
Exposing scars and telling their stories is proof something happened. Scar stories prove wounds occurred. Exposing scars uncovers the story behind the scar.
It's Easter evening and the disciples are locked in a room, afraid. [John 20:19] In the middle of their fear Jesus shows up, stands among them, declares "Peace" and shows them his hands and side.
WHEN WE HAVE EYES TO SEE JESUS WE HAVE 20/20 VISION
The last time the disciples saw Jesus, he was dead. Exposing His scars is the first thing the resurrected Savior does when He sees these disciples. Jesus wants his disciples to have 20/20 vision in regards to his death. [John 20:20]
I had lasik surgery. I now have 20/20 vision. If an ophthalmologist looked into my eyes I wonder what scars would be present to prove I had this corrective surgery. I can’t see the scars, but a professional could – just because I can’t see the scars does not mean they don’t exist. Some scars are buried, some are hidden, some so deep we pretend they don’t exist – but that doesn’t mean they still can’t be exposed.
The greatest presentation of show & tell occurred in that locked room.
How did Jesus get on the other side of a locked door? Like hidden scars, the disciples are afraid of being exposed, but Jesus shows up. Jesus enters His disciple's fearful place. He didn't bust down the door, He shows up in their seclusion and speaks peace to their anxiety.
And then Jesus exposes his scars, proof of His wounds, giving them 20/20 Spiritual-vision causing His followers to be overjoyed.
By His wounds we are healed.
But in John 20:24 there's an absentee disciple. Thomas missed the greatest show & tell presentation of all.
Thomas is one of the original 12 disciples – he walked with Jesus closely, he witnessed miracles, he listened to Jesus preach and teach – he was in attendance for three years. And now he’s a missing disciple.
Does your church have a way to file a 'missing person report'?
When a person goes missing we go to the authorities and file a missing person’s report. What disciples were missing from your church on Easter Sunday? Which followers of Jesus were absent and missed the exposure of His scars? Which disciples need the scar story retold?
John 20:24-25 Thomas wasn't with the disciples when Jesus came...so the other disciples told him. Have you reported to the absent follower we have seen Jesus the Lord? Have you described what you saw? Did you leave any details out? HE IS RISEN! I SAW HIS SCARS! HE IS ALIVE! Do you tell what you have seen?
John 20:25 unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it, the absentee disciple says.
Doubting Thomas has a reputation
Over the years, Thomas has been consistently referred to as Doubting Thomas. If critical, I’m not sure this is reasonable. Any suspicious, cautious person who says I’m not sure or prove it gets labeled as a Doubting Thomas. Haven't we have all been there? Discouraged, devastated, distraught? This was Thomas’ moment.
He can’t see Jesus. And unless he does, he'll struggle believing Jesus is present. And that’s the value of other disciples exclaiming the existence of Jesus. They have seen the Lord and now they can expose what they saw. Because these disciples found the missing disciple, Thomas has a glimmer of hope, a speck of faith.
20:26 A week later his disciples were in the room again, and Thomas was with them.
Doubting Thomas waits.This doubter remained a whole week waiting for Jesus to show up. This doubter has faith Jesus will come.
John 20:26 “Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, peace…”
In the middle of the Doubter's doubt, Jesus shows up and speaks "peace." Jesus loves Thomas right where he’s at - in his doubt, in his discouragement, in his skepticism, in his pessimism -Jesus loves this disciple.
But Jesus loves a doubter too much to leave him there.
Thomas missed a lot while he was missing. In his absence, Thomas missed blessings, he missed fellowship, he missed out on the original scar story. But Jesus loves Thomas and shows grace to His disciple and exposes His scars anyway.
20:27 Jesus says to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side…’
Jesus was nailed to the cross days before. He had scars deep enough for a finger to penetrate where a nail had previously pierced and a man’s hand can plunge where a sword once penetrated.
Deep wounds leave deep scars
Disciples are often focused on the wound. Jesus wanted Thomas to focus on the scars. Why? Because scars expose. Disciples of Jesus need to remember that scars are not the wound, scars prove a wound occurred. Jesus had wounds inflicted to His body. He was wounded for Thomas, He was wounded for you. He has the scars to prove it.
Let’s assume Thomas was at the cross. He watched in agony as the nails were driven into His Master’s hands - hands that days earlier healed the sick, held children, served the bread and the cup, touched the untouchable, and even washed Thomas’ own feet. Thomas also witnessed with internal, horrendous pain as the spear drove and was plunged into the side of Jesus.
Thomas was wounded as Jesus was dying.
Thomas heard It Is Finished and assumed Jesus was done. Gone.
Thomas didn’t know what to do with all these deep wounds in his soul, so he went missing.
And now Jesus loves Thomas right where he’s at but He loves him too much to leave him there - so Jesus exposes His scars to Thomas. The scars remind Thomas of the cross, the scars remind Thomas that Jesus Himself, days earlier, told His disciples you do not realize what I am doing, but later you will understand; I will be with you only a little longer; do not let your hearts be troubled.
And it was directly to Thomas that Jesus responded, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” after Thomas questioned something Jesus had said.
Thomas was a wounded disciple. Wounds leave scars. These scars on Jesus remind Thomas that Jesus is who He says he is and He accomplished what he said he would do. These scars tell Thomas the story, they expose that Jesus is THE WAY, that He is THE TRUTH, and He indeed is THE LIFE.
Some disciples are afraid to expose their scars because they would be reminded of the wound. Deep wounds leave deep scars. Wounds hurt. Scars remain to remind us of the deep, deep love of Jesus in the midst of the deep, deep hurt.
You will never have a scar from a wound that goes deeper than the love Jesus has for you
As Jesus exposed his scars to Thomas he said Stop doubting and believe.
Jesus loved Thomas right where he was, but he also loved him too much to leave him stuck on the wounds – Jesus exposed His scars so that Thomas would stop doubting and believe.
Seeing, touching, and diving deep into the scars of Jesus requires a response from a disciple.
20:28 My Lord and my God! Thomas responded.
Thomas had his faithlessness turned into faithfulness, his doubt turned to delight, because the scars of Jesus were exposed, telling the life-changing story so his life could change. Will you?