"I bear the brand marks of Jesus in my body." —Galatians 6:17
Livestock are branded so that others can tell who owns them. Paul bore the brand marks of Jesus on his body, so all could determine that Jesus owned him. Paul's brand marks were scars and bruises from the beatings, stonings, and other sufferings he endured for Jesus (see Acts 14:19; 16:22ff; 2 Cor 11:23ff). Other saints have born the stigmata, the wounds of Christ, in their hands and feet.
Could someone tell by looking at your body that you belong to Christ? Here are the brand marks of some Christians I know:
- circles under the eyes denoting lack of sleep in parents who had more children in loving obedience to the Lord,
- extra pounds on a parent who, in selflessly caring for children, couldn't find time to work out,
- marked loss of weight during Lent from devoted fasting,
- radiant smiles and glowing faces stemming from overflowing joy in being owned by Jesus (cf Ex 34:30),
- eyes which reflect a peace that passes all understanding (Phil 4:7) in the midst of incredible personal suffering,
- shaved hair on the heads of males in two families as a sign of empathy to a loved one suffering from cancer, and
- a permanent, skin-white colored "band" on the wrist of a priest who vowed to wear a thick pro-life bracelet until legalized abortion is overturned in the USA.
Be crucified to the world (Gal 6:14). Be branded for Jesus, and "glorify God in your body" (1 Cor 6:20).
Prayer: Jesus, receive my body as a living sacrifice (Rm 12:1).
Promise: "As a mother comforts her son, so will I comfort you." —Is 66:13
Praise: Praise the risen Jesus, Who bears the marks of His death as a sign of His great love for us.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 22, 2007
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