Let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. Galatians 6:17
When walking through city parks in St. Louis, one can see how dead trees, especially in spring and summer, distinguish themselves from living ones; they have no leaves and no fruit. By and by the park employees take an ax or hatchet to slash away a part of the bark and paint the spot with bright red paint. They are marked for destruction and will soon be removed from the park.
People, too, bear marks of life or of death. Some are, as it were, a reverse plate of believers described in Psalm 1: Their leaves have withered; they bear no fruit. They are spiritually dead. Sooner or later the Lord will say with the owner in Jesus’ parable of an unfruitful fig tree; “Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?” (Luke 13:7). One could well imagine that they bear a red mark designating them for destruction.
Altogether different are people who have a living faith. Isaiah calls them “oaks of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:3). An outstanding example of such Christians was the apostle Paul. He was filled with spiritual energy and life – and he bore much fruit – because he had a living faith. He confessed, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Because Saint Paul was such a devoted spokesman for Christ, he did not escape the attention of the enemies of the cross. The apostle, persecuted by them, could say, “I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.” His enemies wanted these scars of whippings and stonings to be the marks of death. But in the sight of God they were the marks of life. We, too, like trees adding fruit to their foliage, bear the marks of Jesus as we confess our faith in Him and do His works.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, live in me so that Your saving love may leave its marks on me. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)