“While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?
Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” [Keep Reading]
Jesus shows his wounds. He doesn’t hide them. They were not miraculously healed nor did they disappear. He was not completely “made whole” again. He continues to bear the scars of his crucifixion.
Why? Certainly God could’ve miraculously “touched” Jesus’ wounds as Jesus so often did with others. If God went to the trouble of raising him from physical death…why not make his body fully new?
We can see the wounds served an immediate benefit to the disciples. They offered proof that he was in fact the same Jesus that was crucified. He is the Risen One. But really, would the disciples have believed any less if the wounds weren’t there? Would I believe any less?
God made a choice as to how he was going to show up in the resurrected body of Jesus—with the scars of the crucifixion. In as much as God showed up in Bethlehem through the flesh, skin and bones of the infant Jesus, it seems that God also showed up in the Resurrection through the flesh, skin, bones…and wounds of the Risen Christ. Is it possible the latter is even a more complete picture of the fullness of God?
“Why are you frightened and in doubt?”
Jesus’ question reverberates in me. It calls into focus what we truly believe about the Resurrection. I picture Jesus standing in front of His disciples, and making them look, see and touch his wounds. Be clear about this. The wounds are real—and they signal an important message: God does not hide wounds…not even God’s own.
If that is the case, then maybe God left the wounds there for more than just proof that Jesus was the Risen One. Maybe God is trying to say something to us about the wounds themselves?
What if they serve as a mirror—a reminder to us about our capacity for violence AND about God’s capacity to bear our violence without seeking revenge. What a beautiful sign of God’s mercy.
And not just that. Jesus showing his wounds also foreshadows what it means to follow him—to bear the wounds of our neighbors and communities until the wounding stops. In this, we experience God’s love and mercy. This is what true discipleship looks like.
There is great hope for me in thinking about a Resurrection narrative that includes the wounds in such a redemptive manner.
And it makes me wonder, what if we enter into communities with the same greeting as Jesus did? What if our first steps fully communicated, “Peace be with You,” by offering first, before anything else, our common woundedness. Would it help others to see? Would it help us to see?
Skin, bones…and wounds.
Lina Thompson Street Psalms Fellow
Pastor | Lake Burien Presbyterian Church Seattle, USA