The star of Bethlehem pointed the way. Shepherds worshiped; angels sang—but there’s a darker side to Christmas involving not stars but scars. As a man, Jesus was born to die. As God, He died for our sins. The prophet Isaiah foretold his birth 700 years beforehand: “Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given...” (Isaiah 9:6).
Here’s a question: Is Jesus God or man? The correct answer is “yes.” He is the God-man. The Lord Jesus is God in human flesh. “A child is born” speaks of His humanity. “A son is given” speaks of His deity.
As a child, He was born in Bethlehem. As God, He has ruled from eternity. Bethlehem was not His beginning—only His earthly birth. Seeing a baby there in the manger, we can’t imagine those little dimpled feet or delicate pink hands one day pierced with hideous, cruel nails. Yet when the time came, Jesus’ scars became the proof His disciple Thomas needed before knowing without doubt the Man who stood before him was the risen Lord Jesus Christ. Thomas saw His scars and exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28)
The scars of the Lord Jesus are not incidental; they’re so fundamental that He carried them with Him to Heaven. The only man-made things you’ll see in Heaven will be the scars of Jesus Christ. When He returned to Heaven, He took home with Him the scars in His hands, feet and side—an eternal memorial of His sacrifice. And when He comes again, one of the ways we’ll know our Savior will be those scars.
The scars of the Lord Jesus Christ tell us three things.
1. Jesus Suffered
And one will say to him, “What are these wounds between your arms?” Then He will answer, “Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” (Zechariah 13:6)
God in human flesh suffered.
He was despised and rejected by men; a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief… (Isaiah 53:3)
Often people ask, “If there’s a loving, all-powerful God, why does He allow so much suffering?” But the greater question is, why does God allow Himself to suffer?
God the Father suffers because He has children away from Him. God in Heaven grieves. The Holy Spirit grieves (Ephesians 4:30).
2. Jesus Sympathizes
Does your head suffer when your body feels pain? Of course. Christ is the Head of the church. We’re His body. When a Christian is persecuted, Jesus is persecuted. “When you suffer, I suffer,” Jesus says, and because He has, He understands. He’s been there and felt our pain.
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
When we see the scars in His hands, they will testify to His humanity, a God who suffered as man and understands.
3. Jesus Saves
His scars tell me Jesus saves. Why would God the Son, who could do whatever He wants, choose to step out of Glory and be nailed to that hellish cross? He didn’t have to. He could have refused. But Jesus said, “No man takes My life from Me; I lay it down of Myself” (John 10:18). The nails didn’t hold Him to the cross ─ love did. “…God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19).
Jesus did for us what we could never do for ourselves. Jesus came to Earth that we might go to Heaven. Jesus was born of a virgin that we might be born again. Jesus became the Son of Man that we might become the sons and daughters of God. Bethlehem’s brightest Light and treasured Gift died that we might live. That is the best gift we can ever receive.