Yesterday we focussed on the cross, on Jesus’ choice to embrace brokenness, and to sacrifice himself that we might be made whole.
To the people there at the time it must have seemed like the brokenness had won, that despite his love and acts of goodness Jesus had been defeated by death. Surely there was no way back from this?
And yet, on the third day, that’s exactly what happened- Jesus came back. Just as an object repaired by the technique of Kintsugi is different from its original state, Jesus was not quite the same as he was before. Some of his followers spent significant time walking and talking with him along the road to Emmaus without recognising him, and even Mary, one of his closest friends, failed to recognise him at first.
There was no question though that this was Jesus- real, alive, flesh-and-blood. Brokenness and death had not had the final word; God had shown that his healing power was stronger. There is no brokenness that is beyond his repair.
Just as Kintsugi honours the history of the object and makes no attempt to hide the brokenness and repair but instead makes them a feature, even after his resurrection, Jesus still bore his scars.
They seem to be a notable feature in the accounts of his post-resurrection appearances to his disciples in the upper room and later to Thomas:
- “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it is really me.” (Luke 24:38-39 NLT)
- “As he spoke, he showed then the wounds in his hands and his side.” (John 20:20 NLT)
- “Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side! Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”” (John 20:27 NLT)
Jesus’ scars seem to be important as a way of identifying him, of helping the disciples see that this really was their friend Jesus and that he really had risen from the dead.
His scars are no longer ugly, but a beautiful reminder of truth. St Thomas Aquinas writes, “He kept His scars not from inability to heal them, but to wear them as an everlasting trophy of His victory.”
The scars speak of the pain and suffering he endured and remind us of the price he paid for us, but they are also a testimony to his victory, declaring that brokenness can be restored and evil does not have the final word.
Just as the golden lines of Kintsugi testify to the possibility of restoration and the hope of brokenness made beautiful, so too can our scars be a testimony of God’s healing power and his ability to transform even a seemingly impossible situation into something good.