Day 15

Our Savior’s Nail-Scarred Hands

from the Because He Lives reading plan

John 20:3-29, 1 Peter 1:8-12

BY Andrea Lucado

As a serial doubter, I have always loved the resurrection story and its honest portrayal of who was quick to believe Jesus was the risen Christ and who was more skeptical. Historically, I have been more like Thomas, wanting proof and evidence: “If I don’t see the mark of the nails in his hands, put my finger into the mark, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe” (John 20:25).

Mary Magdalene’s reaction to the risen Christ differed from that of Thomas. She believed as soon as Jesus spoke her name. “Rabboni!” she cried in recognition (v.16). And later when she saw the disciples, she said with confidence, “I have seen the Lord!” (v.18).

Thomas trusted Jesus’s scars. Mary trusted Jesus’s voice.

In my early twenties, I went through a dark season of doubt. Out in the real world for the first time, surrounded by people who did not believe in Christianity, much less God, I was suddenly very unsure of my own beliefs. I desperately wanted to prove God’s existence to my unbelieving friends—and to myself. So I searched for answers in apologetics, academics, and science, confident that if I could pull enough evidence together, I could believe again, and my friends would too.

During that youthful season, it was not the hard evidence of academics and apologetics that I grew to trust and understand. Ultimately, what pulled me back to faith was this: At some point in my life I had known the risen Christ. I had felt the love of God through Him. I had experienced grace and forgiveness. I was not sure how to prove the existence of God through science, but I could not deny that I had experienced the risen Christ. I had heard Him say my name.

This is not to say investigating our faith is fruitless. After all, Jesus did not chastise Thomas for asking for proof. He gave it to him, saying, “Put your finger here and look at my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Don’t be faithless, but believe” (John 20:27). But even today, when I find myself wrestling with questions about God, the Bible, Jesus, or religion, what I return to is not the evidence I’ve gathered, proving His existence. What I remember is the fact that Jesus has touched my life, and I have seen the marks on it as a result.

When the doubt is crippling, when the road before us is unclear, may we remember this day near the tomb. Mary Magdalene thought she had lost her friend, her teacher, her Rabbi. All was sorrow before and around her—and then, she heard Him speak her name. Have you heard Him speak yours?

Post Comments (47)

47 thoughts on "Our Savior’s Nail-Scarred Hands"

  1. Shaina Lee says:

    I was going a rough season of my life when I was dating my previous boyfriend at the time. The sin that we both carried together weighed me down daily. I had no hope and I feared that God would not love me anymore if I confessed my sins. As days went by, my heart could no longer take the conviction on my heart. God called me by my name and said, “Shaina, I love you and I’ve always been by your side. Choose me and I’ll show you forevermore.”. I thought that through this sin I was living in, I’d never be forgiven. But through the grace of God, I’ve been forgiven. God was there by me every step of the way and by Him I was able to overcome.

  2. Steph C says:

    Mary knew the voice of her Savior as He spoke her name. I too have been through seasons of doubt. Where I have listened to other voices instead of His. In the end, it has not been the study of scholars or the persuasive argument of a friend that has drawn me back. It was His still, small voice kindly wooing me back to His loving embrace. So thankful for a loving Father who draws me back into His love and light when I have followed the path of doubt into the darkness of despair

  3. Leah P says:

    I have always loved the intimacy of Jesus calling Mary by name, and thinking of the comfort that moment would have brought to her

  4. Emily Mulder says:

    I love that it said that Thomas trusted Jesus’ scars. And Mary trusted His voice. everyone trusts and believes Jesus differently. Sometimes i trust his voice more than his evidence, other times the opposite. That resonated with me.

  5. Leslie Sesser says:

    I am a serial doubter too and regard Thomas as one of my favorite people in the Bible because I understand his doubt, but the account of Mary struck me this morning. She recognized Jesus by his voice. I pray that I will better recognize Jesus by his voice.

  6. Bunny says:

    Gramsiesue, Jesus was with you! How scary! Glad your hubby was able to stop him. Was he someone you knew? How is the employee doing? Thanks for sharing how God has touched your lives and is continuing to keep you safe.

  7. Jenny Sue DeWalt says:

    Thank you so much for sharing these specific, encouraging examples!

  8. Jenny Sue DeWalt says:

    Jesus rose. Hallelujah. I am so thankful that He did not leave us without hope, that He is such a good GOD. I am fascinated as I read about the different people in this account and the ways they responded differently in their grief, and in the face of possible hope. Mary seems like she was stumbling around, dazed and confused, looking for answers. It seems that she’s not phased by the unearthly sight of angels sitting on the place where Jesus lay. She is so honed in to finding Jesus’s body in her grief, that she just answers their question and moves on. When her risen Savior repeats the same question, she doesn’t dramatically react either. When He doesn’t give her the information she is seeking, she turns to stumble on through the mind-searing grief to find the body of her Beloved so she can array it with respect. And then Jesus says her name. Something most familiar. Mary. O her heart! How it must have jumped and surged with joy and all-consuming delight as she finally recognized her Redeemer calling HER name. And then I think of precious Thomas. Even though all his friends, his most trusted brothers, honestly and adamantly assured him that they had seen the Lord, he didn’t believe. He couldn’t. He dared not tempt his heart to trust so easily and be torn in two once more. He needed the cold facts. He was defiant, taunting even, in his faithlessness, “If I don’t see the mark of the nails in his hands, put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Never ever. But the Almighty God heard his specific request. And He waited until the disciples were INdoors to answer Thomas’ breaking heart’s plea. He came right thru the door without opening it, as He IS THE DOOR. Thomas was one of His sheep, and reiterating his exact demands, Jesus beckoned Thomas to “Put your finger here and look at my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Don’t be faithless, but believe.” Don’t be faithless, but believe. Give me faith, God, in my times of doubt. Let me recognize Your voice when I’m stumbling around in grief. And in this season of celebration after Your resurrection, fill me with Your joy, and send me too to share the Good News–You have risen, just as You said. Amen.

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