In the letter of Paul to the church at Galatia, we find that Paul is encouraging the people to place their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ rather than in keeping the law or following the Mosaic traditions of the day. Then as he concludes his letter in Galatians 6:17 he states that he, “bears in his body the marks of the Lord Jesus.”
It has been debated exactly what Paul meant by the word “marks.” Some believe that he was referring to physical scars on his body caused by the beatings, stonings and other persecutions he suffered at the hands of men. Some think Paul could have been talking about the fact that he had been circumcised, which the Jews felt must be done to a man that would be considered one of God’s people. Some believe that Paul was referring to his lifestyle or the Christ-like characteristics he demonstrated each day.
When one reads Galatians 6:14 we can see Paul is saying that it is not about physical “marks” but the change that occurs when Jesus comes into one’s heart to abide. When Jesus enters into a life, the changes will be obvious. There are three “marks” that Jesus demonstrated that should be seen in us if we are going to show that He has brought change in our life.
Mark one – Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit. Luke 4: 1 tells us that Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit and he allowed it to guide his steps through this world. When you read of all the things that Jesus did, such as preaching, healing, casting out demons and so much more, these were possible because He was filled with the Holy Spirit. If we are filled with the Holy Spirit it will be reflected in the way we live, walk, talk, dress, and handle the difficult situations that life hands us. The world should see a difference in us because we are filled with the Holy Spirit thus showing we are bearing the “marks” of Jesus in our body.
Mark two – Jesus was fully surrendered to follow the will of God the Father. This truth was evident as Jesus was praying in the garden of Gethsemane. He prayed, “Father if there is any other way let this cup pass from me but nevertheless not my will but thine be done.” Jesus knew that to bring glory, honor and praise to the Father He had to do everything God’s way. When we walk through this life we need to strive to fully surrender our life to following the Father’s will for us. It will not always be what we want to do or the way we want to do things but by completely surrendering to the Father’s will that’s what brings honor, praise and glory to Him. It is when we are fully surrendered to the Father’s will that we are bearing the “marks” of Jesus in our body.
Mark three – Jesus lived to serve others. Jesus life was focused on meeting the needs of others. We see that when the Son of God stooped to wash the dirty feet of His disciples. Then He set His eyes squarely on Calvary’s cross to pay a sin debt that we owed but are unable to pay. Many times we are so consumed by serving ourselves that we fail to reach out to others with Christ-like service to make an impact on those that God has placed in the paths of our lives. It is when we are serving others that we show that we are bearing the “marks” of Jesus in our body.
There is a desperate need in our world for Christians to “bear in our bodies the marks of Jesus.” When we do we will think like Jesus thinks, love like Jesus loves, serve like Jesus serves, and forgive like Jesus forgives. Let strive to bear the marks of Jesus consistently in our lives for others to see and to please the Father.
Rev. Tim Burton is minister of Flippin Memorial Baptist Church.