by Charles Spurgeon
Look at Jesus, dead, buried, risen, and then say, “He loved me, and gave himself for me”! There is no restorative for a sinking faith like a sight of the wounded Savior. Look, soul, and live by the proofs of his death! Come and put thy finger, by faith, into the print of the nails, and these wounds shall heal thee of unbelief. The wounds of our Lord are the tokens of his love.
They are, again, the seals of his death, especially that wound in his side. He must have died; for “one of the soldiers, with a spear, pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare witness.”
The Son of God did assuredly die. God, who made the heavens and the earth, took to himself our nature, and in one wondrous person he was both God and man; and lo! this wondrous Son of God bore sufferings unutterable, and consummated all by his death. This is our comfort, for if he died in our stead, then we shall not die for our sins; our transgression is put away, and our iniquity is pardoned. If the sacrifice had never been slain, we might despair; but since the spear-wound proves that the great Sacrifice really died, despair is slain, hope revives, and confidence rejoices.
The wounds of Jesus, next, are the marks of identity. By these we identify his blessed person after his resurrection. The very Christ that died has risen again. There is no illusion: there could be no mistake. It is not somebody else foisted upon us in his place; but Jesus who died has left the dead, for there are the marks of the crucifixion in his hands and in his feet, and there is the spear-thrust still. It is Jesus: this same Jesus.
This is a matter of great comfort to a ChristianÂ—this indisputably proven doctrine of the resurrection of our Lord. It is the keystone of the gospel arch. Take that away, or doubt it, and there remains nothing to console you. But because Jesus died and in the selfsame person rose again, and ever lives, therefore does our heart sweetly rest, believing that “them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him”; and also that the whole of the work of Jesus is true, is completed, and is accepted of God.
Again, those wounds, those scars of our Lord, were the memorials of his love to his people. They set forth his love so that his chosen can see the tokens; but they are also memorials to himself. He condescendingly bears these as his reminders. In heaven, at this moment, upon the person of our blessed Lord, there are the scars of his. crucifixion. Centuries have gone by, and yet he looks like a Lamb that has been slain. Our first glance will assure us that this is he of whom they said, “Crucify him; crucify him.” Steadily look with the eyes of your faith into the glory, and see your Master’s wounds, and say within yourself, “He has compassion upon us still: he bears the marks of his passion.” Look up, poor sufferer! Jesus knows what physical pain means. Look up, poor depressed one! he knows what a broken heart means. Canst thou not perceive this?
Those prints upon his hands, these sacred stigmata, declare that he has not forgotten what he underwent for us, but still has a fellow-feeling for us. Once again, these wounds may comfort us because in heaven they are, before God and the holy angels, the perpetual ensigns of his finished work. That passion of his can never be repeated, and never needs to be: “After he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, he sat down on the right hand of God.” But the memorials are always being presented before the infinite mind of God. Those memorials are, in part, the wounds in our Lord’s blessed person.
Glorified spirits can never cease to sing, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain”; for every time they gaze upon him they perceive his scars. How resplendent shine the nail-prints! No jewels that ever gemmed a king can look one-half so lustrous as these. Though he be God over all blessed for ever, yet to us, at least, his brightest splendor comes from his death.
My hearer, whensoever thy soul is clouded, turn thou to these wounds. which shine like a constellation of five bright stars. Look not to thine own wounds, nor to thine own pains, or sins, or prayers, or tears, but remember that” with his stripes we are healed.” Gaze, then; intently gaze, upon thy Redeemer’s wounds if thou wouldest find comfort.