by Julie Zine Coleman
There is more to bearing children than labor. One Easter Sunday, the women of my family sat on the porch commiserating with my daughter-in-law, whose profile was quickly growing as her due date neared. “Your body will never be the same,” warned one of the girls. A truer statement was never said.
I remember taking a good look in the mirror after having my first child. It was a shocking dose of reality. Aside from the discouraging baby weight, the most apparent change was the stretch marks. I knew they would fade, but they would never completely disappear. At the time I mourned their presence. But I feel differently now. Thirty-five years after becoming a mom, I regard them as a permanent memorial to the great gift of bearing my children.
Someday, on the other side of death, we will enjoy perfect bodies. I don’t know about you, but I am counting on being thin in eternity. I am also counting on good knees, excellent eyesight, and no more bad hair days. But I do wonder if God’s idea of perfect and mine coincide.
What will our resurrected bodies be like? We can glean a little about them from what we are told of Jesus after his resurrection. His appearance was apparently altered. People didn’t recognize him right away for the most part. Mary Magdalene thought him to be a gardener, and the disciples on the road to Emmaus, even after conversing with him at great length, had no clue who he was. From a boat in Galilee, even after hearing him call to them, the disciples failed to recognize it was the Lord.
Then there is the ability he had to appear and disappear. Luke tells us Jesus suddenly “appeared among the disciples,” apparently going through the walls or shut door to be there. For this reason they thought he might be a ghost, but he assured them he was alive and well: “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; touch me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have,” he told them (Luke 24:39 NASB). Jesus also ate on several occasions, giving further credence to this.
We know one other thing about Jesus’ resurrected body: he retained the marks from his crucifixion ordeal.
Thomas missed the first appearance of Christ in the hours following his resurrection. The disciples had tried to convince him the impossible had happened. “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe,” he stubbornly informed them (John 20:25 NASB).
Eight days later, Jesus gave him the chance to do just that. “Reach here with your finger, Thomas, and see my hands; and reach here your hand and put it into my side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing!” he told him (John 20:27 NASB).
The suffering was over, the ordeal at an end. Jesus had risen from the dead and was living, breathing, and healthy once more. But the scars remained.
In Revelation 5, John reports seeing Jesus standing at the throne, making ready to open the book. He describes him looking like a lamb that has been slain. Someday we will get a chance to see his scars for ourselves. They will remain a visible reminder for all eternity of what was inflicted on him for our sake. We will forever glory in what they mean: because of the terrible suffering they memorialize, we were healed.
I’m glad they will never go away. For they truly are beautiful scars.
“He was pierced through for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities. The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by his scourging we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 NASB
About the author: Julie Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Her award-winning book, Unexpected Love: God’s Heart Revealed through Jesus’ Conversations with Women, was published in 2013 by Thomas Nelson. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at unexpectedgod.com and Facebook.
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