What are the seven wounds or scars of Christ?

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God’s love for sinners led Him to give all for their salvation (Romans 5:8). Jesus Christ bore the chastisement necessary to give guilty humans peace with God. “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

Our Savior shed His blood to save humanity from eternal death (Romans 6:23). He did this because, “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins” (Leviticus 17:11, 14; Hebrew 9:22). Every animal sacrifice pointed forward to the ultimate sacrifice of the “Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Therefore, “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

The Bible records the following seven wounds or scars of Jesus:

1-The wounds on His head

Matthew wrote, “And plaiting a crown of thorns, they put it on His head… (ch. 27:9, also John 19:5). The type of thorns that were grown in Jerusalem were called the Arabian Nebulae. This plant had sharp thorns that were up to 4 inches long. It is estimated that the cruel crown had over 100 spicules or thorns. This crown was pushed into Jesus’ head causing deep wounds.

The prophecy given to Ezekiel appears to apply not only to him in his day, but also of Jesus. “And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day…  And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house” (Ezekiel 2:3, 6). 

In addition, Jesus received blows on his face on two different occasions. This could have caused additional wounds or scars. Matthew wrote, “Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands” (Matthew 26:67; John 18:22). This was a fulfillment to the Old Testament prophecy.  “I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6).

2-The wounds on His back

“Then Pilate therefore took Jesus and scourged Him” (Matthew 27:20; John 19:1). The Romans used the brutal cat-of-nine tails whip to scourge prisoners. At the tips of the whip were nine strands of leather which had sharp bones or metal balls attached with nails. As the whip was lashed on the back of the prisoners, it would tear out the flesh causing intense bleeding. According to the law, victims could be whipped up to 40 times. However, the punishment would frequently end at 39 lashes because the effects were often fatal.

This was a fulfillment of several Old Testament prophecies to the wounds or scars of Jesus. “The plowers plowed on my back; they made their furrows long” (Psalms 129:3). “I gave My back to the smiters” (Isaiah 50:6). Also, “They shall smite the Judge of Israel with a rod” (Micah 5:1). Jesus indeed endured suffering and pain for those whom He loves.

3 and 4-The wounds on His two hands

Perhaps the most notable scars or wounds of Jesus are those on His hands from the crucifixion. “So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified” (Mark 15:15 also Matthew 27:26, 35; John 19:1, 17).

The nailing of Jesus’ hands was a fulfillment to a Messianic Psalm. “For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet” (Psalm 22:16).

Also, the prophet Zechariah foretold of the Messiah’s pierced hands. “And one shall say unto Him, what are these wounds in Thine hands?…” (ch. 13:6). He also added, “They shall look upon Him Whom they have pierced” (Zechariah 12:10).

After the resurrection, Jesus invited Thomas “the doubter” to see and touch His nail-pierced hands for himself. “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands… Do not be unbelieving, but believing” (John 20:27).

5 and 6- The wounds on His two feet

The New Testament records that Jesus was crucified by nailing His feet. “And when they were come… to Calvary, there they crucified Jesus” (Luke 23:33; John 19:16-18). This was a fulfillment to the Old Testament prophecy that stated, “For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet” (Psalm 22:16). Also, “They shall look upon Him Whom they have pierced” (Zechariah 12:10).

The piercing of the feet was an important part of the crucifixion. When the victim was nailed in the feet to the cross, this was essential to them being able to breathe. As they hung with arms extended, breathing was very difficult and the person would have to push up with their legs onto their nail-pierced feet in order to inhale. It caused excruciating pain with every breath, but it was how the victim temporarily survived. This is why the guards would break the legs of the victim in order for the person to expire. However, it was prophesied of Jesus that none of His bones would be broken. “He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken” (Psalm 34:20).

“The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away… But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs… For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken” (John 19:31, 33, 36). 

7- The wound on His side

In order to verify Jesus’ death, “one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water” (John 19:34). This fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy that stated, “They shall look upon Him Whom they have pierced” (Zechariah 12:10). After the resurrection, Jesus invited Thomas “the doubter” to put his hand also into His side saying, “Reach your finger here…and put it into My side…” (John 20:27).

This final piercing of Jesus showed the state of His heart. The fact that both water and blood came out demonstrates the extreme stress and trauma He was under. It was so intense that it brought about a condition known as pericardial effusion. This is where fluid builds around the heart and can be fatal.  It is often said that this event shows that Jesus died of a broken heart.

Jesus’ wounds of love

God demonstrated inexplicable love for the lost race in enduring this sacrifice for us. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

The scars or wounds on Christ’s glorified body will remain throughout eternity to testify to the Creator’s infinite love for humanity. “And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends” (Zechariah 13:6).

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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