The Thursday before Easter I got a phone call from my 86 year old mother back in the United States. It was just past midnight her time in the U.S., even though it was in the early afternoon here in Hong Kong. It was a very unusual time for her to be calling me. She said something to me on the telephone but all I heard was “Torsten” (my son’s name), “hospital” and “car accident”
My mother very quickly added, “He’s okay! He’s okay!” “I picked him up from the hospital…the cars are both destroyed, but it’s a miracle, Torsten and his friend and the other driver, they all had their seatbelts on. They all had airbags in the cars. And they all only have cuts and bruises from this big accident.”
My son is alive and well.
She went on to say that Torsten’s friend was driving the car, and the other car had pulled out right in front of them.
Because of the time difference between us, I had to wait the whole day before I could speak with my son personally. Meanwhile, though, he sent me pictures of the crumpled cars.
If I thought it was all a bad dream, now I had evidence that this accident was very real.
The next day, I was finally able to call my son, using Skype, so that I was able to see him, and hear from him personally about what had happened. And do you know what nearly the first thing he said was?
Do you want to see my scars and bruises?
And my grown son pulls up his shirt to show where the seatbelt had left a dark purple bruise across his shoulder, and he pushes down his belt to show where the airbags had left a big red welt on his hip.
My son looked at me and smiled. “It’s a miracle I’m alive,” he says.
In just that same way, but of course a hundred times more intense, does Jesus show the disciples his hands, and pulls aside his robe to show them his side, where the spear had made a deep ugly gash in his skin.
Peace be with you, he says.
My guess is that Jesus smiles as he says this.
It’s such a human thing to do, to show your scars after a near escape from death. But in Jesus’ case, he hasn’t just escaped death, he has defeated death.
“When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.”— John 20:19-20