Bearing The Marks Of Jesus

A body was stoned and left, in all appearances, as dead on the outskirts of the city of Lystra (Acts 14:19). Shortly before this event, this man had been exalted and proclaimed as a god, but he refused the worship of the inhabitants (Acts 14:14). Paul and Barnabas vigorously restrained the people from unwanted and undeserved adoration as gods. Instead of accepting exaltation as a god, they had directed the people to the one true God, “who left not himself without witness” (Acts 14:15-17).
Along with the angered Jews of Iconium, the Jews whom Paul had enraged at Antioch, made it their duty to travel some 130 miles to stir up the people of Lystra. They did not consider Paul and Barnabas being chased from their own cities as sufficient punishment, but wanted Paul adequately “marked” for preaching about Jesus. Later, Paul describes his scars as, “for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus,” (Galatians 6:17).
Paul’s experience was not unlike another Man who endured the pain of the cross, and despised the shame, but looked beyond the suffering of the cross that men might be reconciled to God (Hebrews 12:1-2; Romans 5:8-10; Ephesians 2:13-16; Colossians 1:20-22).
Jesus’ body bore the marks of the nails in his hands and feet and a Roman sword in his pierced side. The reason that Paul called the scars he bore the “marks of Jesus” was because they were identifiable with the righteous cause of Jesus. He had shared in some small way the same kind of suffering that Jesus had endured (cf. Mark 10:38-39; Mark 13:9; Matthew 10:17-18).
There are some folks who go looking for suffering. They seem to think that when they are obnoxious, rude and arrogant, and then suffer because of their own wrong doing, they must be blessed of heaven (cf. 1 Peter 4:15; Matthew 5:10-12). But whatever marks they bear are not the “marks of Jesus.”
Suffering for the sake of suffering may comfort the masochist, but it has no value beyond the salving of a perverted conscience. Seeking suffering is like spilling water to quench a thirst.
Brethren, if we are righteous, suffering will come (2 Timothy 3:12). However, in whatever form that suffering occurs, let’s not be terrified by the enemy. Rather, let us wear the “marks of Jesus” as a proud soldier displays his medals. The scars considered as shameful by the world, should in reality, be considered as evidences of courage by the Christian (1 Peter 4:13-19).