Why does the risen Lord still bear the marks of the wounds? And why do they comfort us? Here is a sermon that attempts to answer those questions.
A Sermon on Luke 24:36-48 and John 20:19-31
Wouldn’t a resurrection body by definition be better than new? If I were the one raising Jesus from the dead, I’d give him a body that was better than new. I’d fill in all the tissue that was chewed up by nail and thorn, and I’d knit the great gash in his side back together. I’d wash away all the dried blood and smooth away every mark of the whip. I’d cover all the wounds with skin like a newborn baby’s. Then I’d ease away all the soreness and stiffness. I would put all Jesus’ wounds into the past. I would give Jesus a body that was perfectly whole in every way. A body that can go through walls should by definition be perfectly whole.
But the God who did raise Jesus from the dead had other ideas. When the risen Lord appeared among his followers on Easter evening, he greeted them with a reassuring word of peace. But then Jesus pushed back his clothes, and there all those wounds were, still deep, and still red. He insisted that his followers see and touch.
Yep, that certainly did confirm that Jesus was the same one who had died on Friday. Yep, the wounds were in the right place. This wasn’t an imposter. But why couldn’t Jesus experience complete relief in the resurrection? To know it was him and to know he wasn’t a ghost, wouldn’t it have been enough for his followers just to see his face and touch whole, unwounded flesh? Wouldn’t it be enough just to see him eat the fish they offered? Why wasn’t the pain and the woundedness finished when Jesus drew his last breath on Friday? It would have been such a blessing to get the pain over with then.
But many do not receive that blessing. Their pain is not over with in a matter of hours or days. (more…)