The Marks of Jesus | Galatians 6:17-18
Galatians 6:17-18 | ESV [This Week’s Passage: Galatians 6:11-18]
17 From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.
Mike’s Authorized Version (MAV)
That’s it. I’m done. Let no one belabor the point any further, no more harassing, nagging follow-up questions or retorts. You want proof of God’s covenant in me? You want to talk about scars? Fine. Let me bare my back and show you the marks of Jesus I bear in each of those scars. Each welt, each wound will bear its own silent, final witness of what really matters.
The only thing now left to be said is, simply, my heartfelt prayer and desire that the free, forgiving and life-giving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ would not merely be understood in your mind as a theoretical, theological concept – but that it would be present to, in, and with your spirit, reshaping your inner and outer life from one end to the other, my brothers.
So say we all.
Stigmata. “A term used by members of the Christian faith (mostly Catholic in orientation) to describe body marks, sores, or sensations of pain in locations corresponding to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ, such as the hands, wrists, and feet,” one source says. The phenomena is actually connected with Paul’s statement here about the “marks (Greek stigmata) of Jesus.” I don’t think Paul was talking about materializing nail marks in his skin. No, I think by letter he is lifting his tunic and showing them his back – his back that would have borne the scars of so many public beatings. The troublemakers proudly boasted of their “stigmata” for God in the glorified surgery of circumcision. Paul one-ups them. In showing his back, his chest, his legs, his face, he bore stigmata that most would see as a real stigma. Most of us try to cover and cosmeticize our scars – especially if they mark the time I got beaten up in public. But for Paul they were all marks of Jesus, lines of grace through which His face is revealed. Religion masks. Jesus marks. Faith marks us. Our words and explanations become mere captions underneath what is truly the work of art to behold: Christ in me, Christ on me, Christ through me. This is the ultimate point of this entire letter to the Galatians, wrapped up nicely in Paul’s simple prayer, perhaps written with the largest letters yet: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” Grace with our spirit. Marks of Jesus on our body. Welcome to the New Creation.
How does your life bear the marks of Jesus?
Lord Jesus, may your free, forgiving, and life-giving grace burst beyond mere theory and theology in my life. Let your grace become vitally present to, in, and with my spirit, reshaping my inner and outer life from one end to the other. Make me a marked man, a marked woman, in Christ. Let me bear on my body, in my life, the marks of Jesus, of faith, of grace, of Life. Amen.
For all of this week’s resources on Galatians including this week’s DG video on Galatians, check out the Vineyard website.