by Debbie Wilson
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. 1 John. 3:16 NIV
Jacob lifted Anna, spun her around, and lightly set her down. “Oh Jacob,” his wife smiled and gently stroked his ear. “How I love you.”
The touch on his ear took Jacob back to the day the awl pierced it. Six years of serving his master and five years of loving his wife had made the decision between freedom and Anna easy. He wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of his days serving his master and loving his bride.
Your Husband Loves You: Look at His Ear
Under Old Testament law, a Hebrew could sell himself into slavery to pay his debts. The Mosaic Law limited his service to six years. If his master provided a wife while he was a slave, then his wife and any children born during his servitude belonged to the master. The day he gained his freedom would be the day he said good-bye to his family.
“But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life” (Exodus 2:5-6 NIV).
A slave’s pierced ear showed he’d chosen slavery with his wife over freedom without her.
The Psalmist used this custom to describe devotion to the Lord. “Opened” can be translated pierced as it is in Psalm 22:16: “They pierced my hands and my feet.”
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—but my ears you have opened [pierced with an awl]’” (Ps. 40:6, 8 NIV).
Jesus Loves Me: Look at His Scars
Christ changed one line when He quoted this verse. The late Bible teacher J. Vernon McGee explained that Jesus was showing that His body, not His ear, was pierced for us (Isaiah 53:5 NIV).
“Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: ‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me;…’ “Then I said, ‘Here I am— …I have come to do your will, my God’… And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:5-7, 10 NIV; the phrase Jesus changed is italicized).
If a slave’s pierced ear showed his devotion to his wife and master, how much more does Jesus’ pierced body show His love for His Father and for us, His bride. When the wife of a slave who’d sacrificed his freedom for her questioned her husband’s love, she had only to look at his pierced ear. If we ever feel unloved, we need only look at Christ’s pierced body.
Jesus’ scars say, “I love you!”
“Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe’” (John 20:27 NIV).
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Drawing from her walk with Christ, and years as a Christian counselor, coach, and Bible teacher, Debbie W. Wilson helps women give themselves a break so they can enjoy fruitful and grace-filled lives. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. Her latest book, Little Faith, Big God, was released in February 2020.
She and her husband Larry founded and run Lighthouse Ministries, a nonprofit counseling, coaching, and Bible study ministry. She is an AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) certified speaking and writing coach. Debbie enjoys a good mystery, dark chocolate, and the antics of her two standard poodles. Refresh your faith with free resources at debbieWwilson.com.
Join the conversation: How do you know Jesus loves you?