By Steve Wyatt
The venerable apostle Paul was reminiscing about his ministry exploits in a letter to the believers at Galatia. He’s nearing the close of his letter when he suddenly states, rather matter-of-factly, “On my own body are scars that prove I belong to Christ Jesus” (Galatians 6:17).1
And that’s all he said. No additional embellishment, no “please feel sorry for me.” Just the facts—“I’ve got some scars.”
And yet, in the very same paragraph, Paul also said, “But I will never brag about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14).
Remember that scene in Jaws where the crusty old marine biologist and the crusty old captain start playing the “my scar’s bigger than your scar” game? One would show his scar and tell his story—then the other would show an even bigger scar and, as fishermen do, tell an even bigger story. They were bragging about their scars!
Do you have a scar you like to brag about?
I do. I’ve got seven scars on my left knee alone. It’s an old football injury from my college days. It’s not a great story, to be honest with you, but with every year that passes, it does seem to get better!
I’ve got another scar in the middle of my forehead! I took a rock there—which explains a lot about me.
You’ve got scars, too. Some are physical, others are emotional. You probably even have scars that nobody else can see, but they’re still there. And some of our scars happened even though we did the right thing! Just like Paul.
Paul said in another place, “I’ve been flogged more times than I care to remember. I’ve been beaten with rods. Stoned, shipwrecked” (see 2 Corinthians 11:23-25). I’m not one to brag, but it IS true: I’ve taken a lot of abuse for the sake of Christ.
But when we gather at the table of the Lord to examine scars, we don’t offer praise to an injured football player or even some crusty old missionary/apostle. Because this table isn’t about MY scars . . . it’s about HIS.
No matter what you may think of me—or even Paul, for that matter . . .
Don’t look at me.
Don’t be impressed by Paul.
Only look to Jesus.
And as you examine his storied scars, please remember: It is only by HIS scars—“by his cuts and bruises you [and I] are healed” (1 Peter 2:24).
1 All Scripture quotations are from the Contemporary English Version of the Bible.
Steve Wyatt is lead pastor at The Crossroads Church in Anthem, Arizona.