Marked by Christ

It’s old school really. Thousands of years ago, piercings and tattoos were not cool art or swagger. Nebuchadnezzar used the modification as the Syrians took the Israelites to Babylon. If they survived the torment of piercings – often through the jaw, tongue, nose or ear and chained to another slave – they lived a ruthless and brutal life of shame. It was a life of bondage and mockery, wearing the scars to their graves.

Tattoos could be burned, cut or inked into the skin for humiliation and identifying slavery. Exodus 21:20, written by Moses, said that if you loved your master after you’ve been free, then pierce your ear with an awl to the masters doorpost and serve him forever.

Fast-forward to 2014.

It seems like everywhere you look, somebody has “art” displayed all over their body. I saw this guy with large women’s eyes on both sides of his neck that actually kind of freaked me out. Will he be our next president? Some are really colorful and busy, others are small. Many make statements. Is it art or just a way to be noticed? Cool, you say.

So what does the Bible have to say about all that, you ask? Let’s look at the Old Testament, which, by the way, if you’re one who says the Bible is outdated, consider this: The wheel is older, but you still use it. College is centuries ancient – you get the idea.

In Genesis 4, God put a mark on Cain after he killed his brother. Revelation 13 tells of the mark of the evil beast on everyone during the tribulation coming.

Today we look at Leviticus 19:28: “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you; I am the Lord.” Leviticus also covers laws for Israel which remind us we live in the age of grace because of Jesus Christ.

A body needs healing from these marks or wounds. Healing is often an outward phenomenon with internal physical manifestation. We also believe in emotional healing as well as mental. None of us have the power to heal but we go to God when we need spiritual healing. As a chaplain at disaster sites, I have found people need supernatural healing. Jesus was so pierced and bruised and tattered, why didn’t he heal himself?

Isaiah 53 says, “He has no beauty that we should desire Him. Despised and rejected we hid our faces from Him. He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows, stricken. Smitten by God and afflicted. He was wounded for our rebellion, bruised for our iniquities. By His stripes we are healed, having gone astray, turning our own ways; the Lord laid on Jesus the sin of us all.”

Jesus Christ chose the piercings and tattoos. Now before you begin shouting blasphemy, hear me out. The piercings came with the crown of thorns on His head. His hands and feet were nailed to the cross, and His side was pierced by a sword. He was eternally marked with scars from that day for us, perfected in heaven, to be reminded of the price He paid for you and me.

Tattoos are expensive, but this was far beyond any art, cool or stupid.

Many marked for life love it for themselves. Do you need healing or a resurrection from the scars of your past? It’s never enough to satisfy. Like oxygen, you always need more. You can’t wash it off, stitch it up or cover the past. It’s always a reminder.

Many have been healed. Truth is, Jesus is the only power to heal. Doctors think they do; psychologists want to help. Religious tradition is supposed to work, but Jim Kelly, formerly of the Buffalo Bills, will tell you it didn’t work. Only when he gave his heart to Jesus did the healing begin. Drugs heal but God created the herbs of the earth and all in it.

Throughout the gospels, Jesus heals the sick, opens blind eyes, raises the sick, even raises the dead. Do you need spiritual healing? Listen to what the Holy Spirit is prompting in your heart, and let God heal you. Clean up the clutter in your life, stand up and be set free. Somebody loves you.

In Revelation 3:20, Jesus says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him and he with me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with me on my throne as I also overcame and sat down with my Father on His throne.”

Isaiah wrote, “Come now let us reason together, tho your sins be as scarlet, they can be white as snow.”

You can be forgiven when you open the door of your heart to Jesus. He’ll never leave you nor forsake you so that where He is, you will be with Him also. Oh how I love the fragrance of being in the presence of God, worshiping at Jesus’ feet, blessed by the Holy Spirit moving in my heart.

I’m marked. I got the scars from my armor being tested through many battles. Jesus pierced my heart with His word.

Love someone other than yourself – love Jesus. If you hear Him knocking at your door, won’t you open up and let him come in, sit and dine with you today? Don’t be too busy to talk with Jesus Christ. Its just that simple. If you’ve got the time, He has eternity waiting for you.

David Bennett, of Reedsville, recently moved to the area from north Pittsburgh. He ministered there with Calvary Chapel from southern California, home of Maranatha Music. Bennett also was a former rapid response chaplain at disaster sites with Samaritan’s Purse. He has been married for 37 years and has four grown sons and six grandchildren.