This Sunday, as we celebrate Jesus’ Ascension, we get to sing one of my favorite hymns, “Crown Him with Many Crowns.” The third verse goes:
Crown him the Lord of love, behold his hands and side, rich wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified; no angels in the sky can fully bear that sight, but downward bend their burning eyes at mysteries so bright.
The risen, flesh and blood Jesus was taken to heaven with his wounds still visible in his hands, feet, and side.
And his wounds are still visible in heaven.
It’s an incredible claim. I get emotional every time I think about it.
When Jesus was raised from the dead his wounds were the proof that it was really him and not somebody else.
Now Jesus is in the heavenly dimension. He’s glorified, and humanity is glorified with him.
Meaning us and our wounds.
Jesus takes all the things we suffer in this life, the hurts, the scars, visible and invisible, and transforms them from hurt into glory.
I don’t know why there is so much hurt and suffering in the world. Most of it is due to human sin, rejection of God. But in becoming one of us, suffering with us and for us, it has to mean Jesus cares. It has to mean our wounds matter to God.
That’s why he was taken up for us, wounds and all.
Do you know any retired hockey players? Have you seen them up close? I’m pretty sure they wear their scars and their false teeth as a badge of honor.
The scars say “I did this. I had a full life. I really lived the life of a hockey player.”
If a hockey player’s wounds are a badge of honor, what do you think God can do with our wounds?
The wounds we suffer in this life become a source of glory in the next.
The things we’re tempted to cover up in this life become a source of beauty in the next.
Believers don’t suffer in vain.
Jesus glorifies our wounds, and because of the Ascension, one day our joy will be infinitely greater for the wounds we suffer here.