Every scar tells a story. As a kid I used to play games around the house, and one time I found a loose brick and ended up getting a scar across my forehead. Needless to stay, the scar is still there so many years later. Although some scars heal quickly, others take longer to heal, and often leave their mark.
I don't think anyone would admit they actually like scars, or would want to have them if they had a choice. Many scars are reminders of events or life circumstances where a sacrifice was made, or someone made a sacrifice for us. As it is, these happen to have a lasting effect on us, not just physically, but also emotionally as well.
During the Easter season, we remember the Christ of the cross and the sacrifice He gave for humanity—but what did humanity give in exchange for this sacrifice? A ton of scars. Most notably, three nails left their imprint; both on the cross, and also on the One hanging there.
Why, however, were the scars still present on Jesus' resurrected body? Perhaps, as we look back, we see a fuller picture of the redemptive aspect of sacrifice, as symbolised in these scars.
Some sacrifices are costlier than others. Indeed, sacrifices are supposed to be costly; but usually there is a choice involved. Sometimes things get complicated when the choice is made for us, or we have had to make a sacrifice for others. In these moments, the choice is often followed by a crucial sacrifice—leaving an unforgettable scar upon our hearts and minds, despite if we want or choose to forget.
No sacrifice, no victory!
The Transformers movie franchise speaks to this idea of sacrifice. Sam Witwicky explains how his great-grandfather was one of the first to discover the Arctic Circle and, during their voyage, ran into some trouble with one of the ships. While his crew was trying to get the ship moving forward, Captain Archibald Witwicky's voice rings out above the swinging of ice picks, 'no sacrifice, no victory!'
This statement shows why sacrifices must be made; and without them all good intentions end up being a total waste. Sacrifices in the short-term have consequent victory in the long-run; but without any sacrifice, the ever-elusive victory may remain a distant oasis. Indeed, sacrifices do leave scars, as the captain found out firsthand.
The greatest sacrifice took the blame for our shame. Christ became the scarred sacrifice, who took our place and traded perfection for pain. It was the ultimate role reversal, when our Saviour became our suffering servant. Sacrifice was necessary in order for victory to be fulfilled; and He has the scars to prove it.
In need of resurrection
We remember the meaning of sacrifice much more vividly after the sacrifice has been given; consider ANZAC Day or even the passing of a loved one. A painful sacrifice still hurts months or years later and leaves indelible, unforgettable scars. Yet, the good news is the resurrection has the power to make our scars small in significance.
Christ's own resurrection gives us the hope of new life; one that no longer represents the pain of scarring, but rather fulfilment as we realise our scars no longer define us. Perhaps we are all in need of a power which envelops our scarred existence; and draws us into reality which makes us whole again.
Personal sacrifices are the ones remembered the most often, and leave the greatest impact. As is often the case in life, neither the one making the sacrifice nor the one acknowledging it can forget a sacrifice. Oftentimes, scars are reminders leaving an impression to last a lifetime, and this is worth it all in the end.
A third-culture-kid born in Australia to Indian parents, Joseph recently returned from California where he was studying theology and has worked for the US Center for World Mission. His love of books and writing has now drawn him to PSI.
Joseph Kolapudi's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/joseph-kolapudi.html