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The Body Incorruptible

The Body Incorruptible

by David G. Duggan
www.virtueonline.org
April 14, 2018

Thanks to a misspent youth and a few emergency surgeries, I have several scars which though faded over time are still visible. But the wounds which these scars cover have closed up and no longer give me discomfort. Time heals all wounds, it is said, but scar tissue remains a visual reminder that our bodies are corruptible.

After the Resurrection, Jesus showed the Disciples his hands and side, and offered Thomas the chance to place his finger in his hands and his hand in his side. Though scripture is silent whether Thomas took Jesus up on His offer, a remarkable Caravaggio painting shows Thomas' right index finger lifting up the flap of Jesus' wound as furrow-browed he peers into the open gash. Jesus' left hand clasps Thomas' wrist as if to guide it, and on that hand you can see the nail's exit wound.

I am not a doctor so I don't know whether the three days in the tomb would have closed up the wounds, nor whether the week between Jesus' first appearance to His Disciples and His re-appearance to Thomas would have started the healing process. Without the pressure from a beating heart, and the body's natural healing mechanisms, the wounds would likely have crusted over, but that is not what scripture says. These wounds were still open, and yet they were neither bleeding nor suppurating.

Some say that the reason why Jesus' wounds did not heal is they became His identifying characteristic, just as police wanted posters note scars and other markings. That may be true, but that doesn't go far enough. Jesus' body was the Word made incarnate, and that Word, wounded in His life, needs to be perfected by our following Him.

"Those dear tokens of His passion, still His dazzling body bears," Charles Wesley's second Advent hymn reads. When we see Him on clouds descending, our corruptible bodies will have been made whole, and we will stand with Him in endless exultation that the Crucifixion's indelible markings did not quell the Father's design that by His stripes we will be healed.

END

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