Tuesday, May 1, 2012
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I've got to tell you, I was really moved by Lincoln's story. He actually is a respected African-American pastor that I've had the privilege to get to know. One day he told me a little of his personal history, and it's like the histories of so many African-Americans. His father was a sharecropper, his grandfather was a slave.
And at the age of 11, Lincoln's grandfather had been taken from his mother and sold on the auction block, never to see his mother again. Amazingly, his grandfather seemed to carry no bitterness, no anger as he told his grandson about his childhood as a slave. But he did show his grandson his scars; the ones inflicted on him by his slave master. And my friend has never forgotten what Grandpa said about those scars, "Every scar has a story." I'm sure it did.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Every Scar Has a Story."
When God's Son left heaven and came here to earth, He was beaten, too. He had scars from his beatings, and every scar tells a story. You and I are that story. It's about how very, very much He loves you.
God talks about it in our word for today from the Word of God in Isaiah 53:3. It's a description of what Jesus Christ went through for you and me. It says, "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering...He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows. He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him." Now, remember who this is. This is the sinless Son of God, the one the Bible calls the "Prince of glory" (1 Corinthians 2:8). And He's pierced, punished, and crushed. Not for anything He did, but for all for things you and I did. Because He had come to absorb the punishment for every wrong thing we've ever done.
There's only one thing Jesus took back to heaven from earth - the scars. The nail prints in His hands and feet; the ones that are there because of how very much He loves you.
Every scar has a story. The wounds of Jesus tell us, "Your sins require an awful death penalty, and I've paid that price so you can be forgiven. I don't want to lose you."
I guess you can see why God will never forget what you do with His Son, and why it is fatal to depend on anything other than Jesus to get right with God and go to heaven. Maybe you've been counting on your Christian knowledge, or your Christian background, or your Christian connections, or some Christian ritual. Maybe you're hoping to make it because of how religious you are or how good you've been.
But if any of those things could have gotten you to heaven, there's no way Jesus would have gone through what He did for you. His death is your only hope of heaven, your only hope of being forgiven.
And, He's been waiting for you to respond to His love for maybe a long time, by giving yourself to the One who gave Himself completely for you. You know you could do that right where you are. Just tell Him right now, "Jesus, thank You for what You went through to pay for all the wrong things that I have done. I'm turning the wheel of my life over to You. You're my only hope, and beginning right now, I am Yours."
Finally, you can belong to Jesus, not just believe things about Jesus. If you want to make sure that you have begun a personal relationship with Him, let me invite you to go to our website and check it out. I've laid out there as simply as I can and briefly how you can be sure you have begun your personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It's YoursForLife.net. And I'd encourage you to check it out as soon as you can get to it.
See, the scars of Jesus tell the story of how very much He loves you. There's an old hymn that says it pretty well, "I shall know Him, I shall know Him, as redeemed by His side I shall stand. I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side by the print of the nails in His hands."