Nov. 16, 2007; The Series - Jesus, Unique & Unequaled Teacher

Focus Text: John 20.19-23

I think we all have them; friends who seem to delight in showing us their “battle scars.” I know I have a friend who had several surgeries, and he seemed to relish each and every opportunity that came his way to show off a scar from a previous surgery. Of course, he would always preface these exhibitions with, “I hope this doesn’t gross you out, but let me show you where…” That statement would be followed by a display of what ever area had been cut and sutured by the physician. I never had any surgeries, so I was just left speechless!!

“Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.’ And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’” (John 20.19-23).

The disciples of Jesus were left speechless but for an entirely different reason. We don’t know why He showed them His scars, but it was not for shock value nor was it as an idle conversation starter. There were far, far greater implications involved in the scars of Jesus. Unlike the scars my friend liked to show off, these scars had not been inflicted in order to bring healing; they had been inflicted in order to bring pain, suffering, and death. But the fact that Jesus was able to show His scars to them, said something that words alone could never say. No mere man could have suffered these things and them been around to tell about it! Yet, there He was, calmly and lovingly displaying the wounds of death!

The wounds which Jesus suffered were mortal wounds, or certainly were indicative of mortal events connected with the wounds. Yet, His devotees did not view these wounds in a lifeless cadaver; they viewed them in a walking, talking, breathing, and totally unaffected human form! Jesus was the Unique and Unequalled Teacher in many ways, but in this way He had no equal nor can He ever have an one – period!! Only a being of Divine proportions can lay down His life… AND pick it up again. Others could lay it down, and that is quite a feat to be applauded under right circumstances, but NO ONE could do what He did. Death for all “would-be champions of causes” is the final deed that can willingly be performed; for Jesus, death was not the final deed; it was but a necessary step to become the champion that He had was chosen to be. He was not to be a dead champion, but a live one upon whom death has no power.

Now to the point of this message and a couple of messages yet to come; imagine what it would have been like to have visually examined these wounds! Only a few hours later, great horror had descended upon the followers of Jesus because of these wounds; now unexcelled gladness visited them as they stood in awe looking at the mode of death that had been converted into the means of life – not His life, but their lives! Because He lived, so could they – and so can I! (Continued)

Questions:

1. Think back a few hours in the story as some of these very friends had seen the wounds inflicted in His body. Now imagine the contrast in emotions between those previous moments of horror and the current feelings which they were experiencing. How broad was that swing?

2. Why do you think He showed them His scars? Is it possible that some asked to see them?

3. What proofs did the scars offer that mere words could never prove?

4. What can we know because of these scars that could only be proven by such scars?