Friday, 20 April 2012


I've always fancied having a shark bite scar.

Is that a bit weird?  Surely not.  It would have meant near-certain victory in all those 'compare-your-scars' battles as a boy.  Sure, there's a clear line on my chin where I exploded it on the floor and needed stitches.  There's another on my forehead and a third above my eyebrow from mishaps in my early childhood.  There's rather an amusing one on my left hand from when I broke a friend's door handle off trying to get into their house.  There's even a tiny one, now hidden by my wedding ring, that I got from some barbed wire while chasing someone during a school activity (I should probably point out I was a student, not a teacher, at the time).  While I was being tended to on that occasion, the lad I had been chasing said, "That's what happens when you take on Rambo".  Hmm.

But a shark bite scar; ooh, that would be impressive.

There's only one problem.  To get a shark bite scar, you have to be bitten by a shark.  And that really doesn't appeal.  Sharks are big, and better swimmers than me, and I can only imagine the process would not be pleasant.  You see, scars often have stories, and that's where the pain comes in.

When Jesus showed His disciples His scars, it was a reminder, as if they needed it, of His story.  It was a reminder of His suffering.  We know now, better than the disciples first understood, that Jesus' scars weren't just part of His story, they're part of ours too.  His scars are a reminder of a desperately-needed rescue.  Thomas desperately wanted to see those scars.  He gets a bit of a hard time - 'doubting Thomas', but the fact is, he saw the scars and he believed:  "Then [Jesus] said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands.  Reach out your hand and put it into my side.  Stop doubting and believe."  Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!""

You know those 'compare-your-scars' battles I mentioned?  Maybe you've never got involved in such things (it's perhaps a slightly odd ritual...).  I had a friend at school (he's still a friend, but we're not at school any more!) who always won.  He had a massive scar straight down his chest.  That's what happens when you have heart surgery before you even hit school age.  His scar was another reminder of rescue.  The story behind it was a life-or-death one - he was born with a hole in his heart.  Without surgery, he'd have had no scar, but he wouldn't have lasted very long either.  When he won a race at sports day at school, his mum turned to my mum and said, 'I never thought I'd see that'.  As his mother and as a doctor, she probably knew better than anyone the story of his scar.

So I'm going to go through life without my shark bite scar (especially given I live such a long way from the sea...).  But I will keep thinking about scars, and the story behind them.  It's strange to think that Jesus' scars brought me healing.  The relationship between me and God, that I'd 'wounded', could only be healed by God choosing to be scarred for me.

Jesus, His scars and my rescue.

Have you got any cool scars?

What do scars mean to you?

Have you thanked Jesus lately for the scars he got rescuing you?

Friday, 13 April 2012

Bringing a sacrifice.

In the Old Testament, people had to bring sacrifices to God as part of their worship.  When Jesus came, He didn’t bring a sacrifice, He was the sacrifice.

If we bring ourselves as a sacrifice, we are giving God our all, and this is exactly what He deserves, bearing in mind what he sacrificed for us.  We worship Him with what we do with our hands, what we watch with our eyes, what we listen to with our ears and so on.  This is also to do with purity.  In the Old Testament, people were to bring lambs, bulls and other sacrifices that were ‘without fault’.  They couldn’t wander over to their flock and pick out their dodgy three-legged sheep, or pick a bull from the herd that was on its last legs, or a bird that was injured or blind.  They were told to give their best.

It’s no different for us (except we’re giving ourselves, not our sheep!):  we are called to offer our bodies at their very best - a holy offering to God.  Remember, what we offer to God shows what we think He is worth.  By offering Him our very best, we demonstrate that we really believe He is worthy of it.  God gave us His very best and so shows us what He thinks we're worth. 

What do we think He's worth?

What do you offer to God in worship?

Is there something you need to give up in order to show Him what He's worth to you?