INTRODUCTION: This week Time With God will continue to explore who we are in Christ. Our prayer is that you will grow in confidence and hope as we unpack biblical truth about who God has made us to be.Please note that there will be no Digging Deeper section.
Edward Shillito was an English minister during the horrors of the First World War. His poem, Jesus of the Scars, magnificently portrays the unique foundation of Christian faith: God has wounds. By living the life we were meant to live and dying the death we were meant to die, Christ has dramatically thrown open the doors of his new creation; and to our complete surprise, his wounds have healed us—not in the way we may have wanted, but precisely in the way we needed.
- Before you read, take a moment to be still. Wherever the day finds you right now, fight the urge to rush through this. Ponder your wounds. Look at your scars. And then let your gaze drift to the pierced side of the One we intended to bury with criminals (Isaiah 53).
If we have never sought, we seek Thee now;
Thine eyes burn through the dark, our only stars;
We must have sight of thorn-pricks on Thy brow;
We must have Thee, O Jesus of the Scars.
The heavens frighten us; they are too calm;
In all the universe we have no place.
Our wounds are hurting us; where is the balm?
Lord Jesus, by Thy Scars we claim Thy grace.
If when the doors are shut, Thou drawest near,
Only reveal those hands, that side of Thine;
We know today what wounds are; have no fear;
Show us Thy Scars; we know the countersign.
The other gods were strong, but Thou wast weak;
They rode, but Thou didst stumble to a throne;
But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak,
And not a god has wounds, but Thou alone.1
READ THE WORD: 1 PETER 2:24 (ESV)
24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.
By his wounds you have been healed.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
RESPOND TO GOD
1 Peter 2:24 is a direct quotation taken from Isaiah 53. N. T. Wright states, “This is one of the clearest statements in the whole New Testament of the fact that Jesus, the Messiah, took upon himself the punishment that his people deserved. As Israel’s Messiah, and hence the world’s true Lord, he alone could represent all the others. He alone could completely, appropriately stand in for them.”2
Christ, through his wounds, has rescued us from being eternally separated from God. By allowing the ultimate evil to be done unto him, he has defeated evil itself. Not only have the shackles of sin been cast aside for us personally, but now we have also been invited to participate in the sufferings of Jesus for the sake of his world. All of creation groans, and through the healing work of the cross, we now as Christians have been given the opportunity to partner with the restorative work of the Spirit as he brings forth God’s kingdom. Again, Wright’s words are powerful as he states that Peter here “invites followers of Jesus to inhabit his extraordinary story: to embrace it as their own, and, being healed and rescued by those events, to make them the pattern of their lives as well.”
Respond to God by asking the Spirit to show you where you have settled for comfort. Where have you forsaken the narrative of Christ as you have grasped in the dark for security and ease?
- Ask God to remind you of your wounds, not so that you can wallow in your pain, rather, so you may let the healing of our Lord pass through you. Take a moment to reread Shillito’s poem, and thank God for living and dying for you, so that you may die to sin and live to righteousness.
1 Edward Shillito, Jesus of the Scars: and Other Poems (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1919) vii, 73.
2 N.T. Wright, The Early Christian Letters: James, Peter, John, and Judah, vol. 17 of New Testament for Everyone (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011) 71.