See my hands and feet … stop doubting and believe!

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Over 100 years before the ancient Persian empire invented crucifixion, God spoke through the prophet Isaiah, “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” (Is. 49:16a). The image is startling – God carving the name of those He loves with an everlasting love into His own hands. God receives scars that write our name in a place that is always visible. This image completes God’s assertion that “Even if a mother could forget and fail to love the baby at her breast, I will never forget or fail to love you!” (Is. 49:15, my paraphrase).

This startling image of scars in the hands of God could hardly be a stronger allusion to the crucifixion of Jesus. His submission to death on a Roman cross stands in eternity as the declaration of God’s unfailing love and compassion for us. The perfect Son of God took our sins upon himself and as our representative died in our place. In doing so he satisfied the penalty for our sin and defeated the power of sin and death that held us captive.

On Resurrection Sunday we often move past the cross and give so much focus to the resurrection that we can miss the inextricable link between the two. On the day Jesus rose, he return us to the images given in the last supper – he broke bread with the disciples and ate with them(Luke 24:30, 42-43), and he showed them the scars that he wears now for eternity (Luke 24:39-40, John 20:20,27).

Just like Thomas long before us, meeting the living Jesus comes with an invitation to see and experience the scars in Jesus hands, feet and side. Scars He carries because of his love for us. His word to us is to “Stop doubting and believe.” (John 20:27)