Proverbs 9:6 Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.
There is much to be said about our divine destinies. Some people will be called to do hard things. We were all created for the purposes of God and sometimes these purposes can seem difficult to understand and live out. It is said that all the Apostles died a martyr's death except John who had his own arduous challenges to overcome. These forefathers of the faith gave their lives for the body of Christ and were treated terribly for trying to extend the hand of God in love.
The incredible courage it took for the first century Christians to live their lives in Christ was remarkable. They were threatened on a daily basis. The persecution of Christians was a national sport in the Roman coliseums. The wounds and scars that were brutally lashed out on these brothers and sisters in the Lord were cruel and sadistic. Yet, the church thrived as Jesus was proclaimed throughout the known world. These saints who bled to death and gave their lives while in the faith of the cross were gathered into the presence of God and have received their eternal joy.
The Apostle Peter was told he would have to be ready to go where he did not want to go but still was asked to follow Jesus wherever the call brought him. John 21:18 “I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”
John Oakes wrote, "The early church fathers are unanimous in claiming that Peter died in Rome, by crucifixion, during the persecution of Nero in AD 64. We can reasonably conclude that Peter was in fact crucified in Rome. As for his crucifixion upside down, this is much more weakly attested to in only one ancient source which is probably much less reliable than Clement, Ignatius, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Eusebius, and many others."
In whatever way Peter was crucified, my thoughts were drawn to the difference between Peter's scars made by nails and the Lord's scars. Peter died a martyr and will receive a martyr's crown that he will be able to present to the Lord. Peter's scars will not show as he, like all of us, will receive a healed and eternal glorified body. The martyrs who were burned, decapitated, and ripped apart will all have their martyr's crown, but only Jesus will have the scars of the cross forever and ever. John 20:27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”
We will see the Lord's scars throughout eternity as a reminder of the love God has for each and every one of us. Jesus said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and look at my hands. Go ahead Thomas, touch the scar and feel the reality of my love for you." I wonder what it will be like when we see Jesus and notice those scars that should have been ours to bare but Jesus took them for us. I also wonder if I were to touch the scar in His hands, would I feel the enormity of this incredible sacrifice that was done for me? I would have to say, "Yes Lord, your love is real. I can see it and feel it to my very core!"
Prov. 9:6 Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight. God has given us insight into His love for us through Jesus the Lord and the redemptive work He did on our behalf. Our divine destiny was written with the blood of the lamb and we were made whole through the finished work of the cross and resurrection of Christ. What more can God do to get our attention and leave our ways behind? God's gift of salvation is too great a gift to squander on the small temporary things of this world. Reach out and touch the Lord's scars. His love for you will pulse through them and grip your heart forever. Our destiny is in Christ. Blessings and joy to you all.