The Easter story tells us that the risen Jesus still carried the scars of the Crucifixion in His hands, feet, and side.
This is one of the reasons why the disciples realised that He wasn’t a ghost.
The Risen-and-still-scarred Jesus returned to the Father, to the heart of heaven after 40 days on earth. We remember this at the Feast of the Ascension held this year on 26th May. According to the vision of heaven in the Book of Revelation, in heaven as Lord and God, Jesus still carries the scars of His Crucifixion.
John in Revelation writes that at the heart of heaven, sharing the worship of all creation with the Father, there is a Lamb who looks as though He has been slain
(Revelation chapters 5 & 6).
Why does John emphasise this detail?
I think it is an assurance that the God who meets us in Jesus, who lived and loved, suffered and died as a man, as one of us, still carries in heaven the pain and sorrow of life in this world.
This means that when we cry out to God, we are praying to one who knows; one who understands our situation and our suffering.
When I kneel in Church to pray for my friends, for members of my own family, who are facing pain and heartbreak, I am holding them before one who knows from the inside what they are going through. I don’t need to find the right words to say. God knows and God knows them.
When I sit at the bedside of someone who is suffering, when I hold the hand of someone whose heart is breaking again I don’t need words. The God who meets us in Jesus is already with them in their pain. The God who reveals Himself in Jesus carries the pain and the brokenness and the tears of our world in His heart for eternity.
The scars of Christ reveal the character of God; they reveal that God is eternally self-giving, sorrow-healing, death defeating love.
May the God who meets us in Jesus draw close to you and to those you love and to those for whom you pray. Amen.