This week I’ve been thinking about flesh—as in the wounded flesh of Jesus, whom we can rightly call “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).
I need to think about flesh because, as with the word “world,” the word “flesh” comes at us in diametrically opposed ways. Flesh can mean people seeking to live in isolation from God and therefore “sold under sin” (Romans 7:14); and flesh can also mean the tender innocence of a newborn child as in “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). Remarkably, God the Son became flesh not to condemn but to save, and his saving love has such passion that he could show us his wounded hands and side in a way that speaks peace, creates faith, and gives life. (John 20:19-31).
When our Lord and God comes to us with wounded flesh we can touch—or as living bread we can eat (John 6:53)—we can walk by faith, even when we feel wounded ourselves. We can trust that Jesus will not cast us out or ever let us go. (John 6:37-39) We can, if it helps, speak with Jesus as the “wounded surgeon,” always at work for our good, even when we do not understand his ways. In East Coker, T.S. Eliot puts it as follows:
The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer’s art