By his wounds we are healed

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The General’s Easter message

by General Shaw Clifton –

Who among us does not need healing? Which of us is perfectly whole? Where is the one with no need of a Savior? The first step toward healing is to recognize our need. Yet how often our pride gets in the way and we struggle on wounded, our vitality quietly seeping away and our effectiveness for the Kingdom compromised.

The Salvation Army consists of soldiers of Christ working tirelessly for God’s Kingdom of purity, love and light. The work takes its toll. The fighting can be hard. Inevitably there will be wounds along the way. Many of you reading this are aware of it. You serve well, but can grow weary. You work hard, but can grow tired. You give of yourself sacrificially for others, but the results can seem small.

God sees it all. More than that, our Savior has experienced it for himself. In the person of Jesus Christ we find a Savior who is the Wounded Healer. Those resounding, passionate, moving verses found in the book of the prophet Isaiah, chapter 53, speak to us still today: “He had no beauty or majesty…He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering…and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows…He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities…and by his wounds we are healed” (vv 2-5).

There is no one who does not need the Savior. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory God intends for each human being (Romans 3:23). Isaiah 53 says: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (v 6). This is Jesus, our only Savior. This is the Son of God, born of Mary, raised in Nazareth, the young man who was perfectly filled with the Spirit of God, born to be our Wounded Healer.

Do you know him? Have you searched him out? Have you recognized your need of a Savior and turned to Jesus? Countless millions have done so, included among them the world’s Salvationists. By his wounds we are healed. Without him we would be nothing. Only Jesus makes us whole, and we return to him again and again seeking fresh healing from the hurts and trials of the battle against sin and evil.

How gentle is this Wounded Healer, how understanding of our pain. How gracious he is, how patient with our pride, how tolerant of our foolishnesses. He has walked our way before us and understands. Therefore we can approach him with confidence, for he knows and sees it all. He is not shocked by our sin, not repelled by our lack of love, not anxious to make us feel small. Instead he longs for each of us to reach that full height of all we can become in the strength of his power and love as they flood our beings. He has a plan for each of us and it begins at Calvary’s Cross.

See the Wounded Healer there impaled. The nails through his hands and his feet hold him, but not as firmly as his love for you, not as determinedly as his longing for your healing from sin. How ardently he desires your salvation, how invincibly he loves you. Do you see it? Can you realize it? Your Wounded Healer did it all for you and for me. At Calvary’s Cross we find forgiveness for our sins, balm for life’s hurts, healing for our wounds, through the only Savior. There is no other.

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