Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: BRAND (01/12/17)
- TITLE: Marked for Eternity
By Lois Farrow
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There are three today. Thump, thump, the mallets pound the nails into hands and feet. Shrieks rend the air as some in the crowd cry out at the brutality, the awfulness of what they are witnessing. These are the watchers with a personal interest, family members and friends of the criminals, family and friends of the one who is not a criminal, but is there today to take on the sin of the world.
Long, long ago the prophet Isaiah had written about this. ‘He was pierced for our transgressions,’ he wrote, ‘he was crushed for our iniquities.’ (Is 53:5) Today this is happening before the assembled audience. But not only on the ground is this scene being observed, the angels too are watching. But God the Father has turned away. He cannot look on the awfulness of our sin.
The three crosses are raised heavenward and dropped into the ground. A spear is thrust through Jesus’ side, another physical mark of his suffering on the cross. More cries rend the air. An unexplained darkness settles over the land, and the crowd slowly dwindles. There is something different and eerie about proceedings today.
Praise God, we know this wasn’t the end of the story. Jesus rose again and appeared to his disciples. They couldn’t believe their eyes! Could this really be him? How could this be true? They had seen him dead. People didn’t come back to life like that, did they? Except what about Lazarus, Jesus had raised him back to life again.
Later, Jesus showed them his hands and his feet, the marks of his suffering, his branding. Thomas wasn’t there that day and when he heard about it he said he wouldn’t believe unless he saw the marks for himself, and Jesus came right along and showed him.
“See, it is me,” Jesus said. “Stop doubting and believe.” And Thomas believed. (John 20:27)
The physical marks on Jesus will be there for eternity. Zechariah tells us that ‘the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn as one mourns for an only child.’ Can we imagine how they will feel when they see the nail prints, and have their eyes opened as to who he really is? (Zach 12:10)
Just as Jesus has been branded for us, we too have been branded for him. In Ephesians 1:13 Paul tells us that having believed, ‘you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.’
Do I appreciate the cost of the marks Jesus has in his body for me? Do I appreciate the seal he has placed on me guaranteeing my inheritance?
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