There’s been a rise in tattoos, I reckon. There was a time when there was more of a stigma, or a stereotype at least, attached to tattoos. Not so much now. As a society, we’re loving tattoos. The more the better! There are lots of reasons people go through the pain of getting a tattoo, but I think it’s fair to say that generally, it’s about love. We put on display – on our bodies – marks, words and images that say something about who we are and what we love. Children’s names. Images of relatives. Art that says something about our personality and what matters to us. Often, they are about love.
You’ll often hear people tell you that God loves us. They won’t often tell you about God’s tattoos. Wait – you didn’t know?
In Isaiah 49:16, God reminds his people that he is committed to them with these words: “I have engraved your name on the palm of my hands”. God is reassuring a group of people who are deep in pain and disaster that He has not forgotten them. So God does have a tattoo! And it has the name of his people on it. But the marks of God’s love go deeper than that – literally.
At Easter we remember the death of Jesus, on a cross outside of Jerusalem just over 2000 years ago. Lots of people have heard about it, but not many would think of the bloody, painful death of a man as a picture of love. And yet that’s what the Bible says it was. Romans 5:8 says that “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners”. According to the Bible, Jesus’ death was proof of God’s love for us. He showed his love by allowing Jesus to die – to take the punishment and penalty for all of my wrongdoing and yours.
And it left marks. After rising from the grave (Easter Sunday!) Jesus showed his scarred palms to his disciples; the marks of where the nails had pinned him to the cross. Those marks were proof that he had defeated death. But they are also the marks of love. A reminder that God’s love for us isn’t just a love that would die for us but that it is a love that has died for us.
I don’t have a tattoo. I’m probably too scared of the pain. But God bears the marks of love. They are scars. Scars which are the proof of a love for you that is so great that he would die for you. Have you acknowledged His love with faith, and worship? This Easter, I encourage you to make the time to remember Jesus’ death.
May the Easter break and the accompanying holiday be a time of great joy and rest.