Scars that Speak
A few weeks ago, I watched the start of one of the Republician debates which took place in the Ronald Reagan Library. I was impressed that Air Force One was inside the building! Every president raises money to build his library to serve as a reminder of his presidency. In the 23rd chapter in 1st Samuel, we see an aging King David looking back on his time on the throne, and making a list of men who have served him over the years. He wanted people always to remember their contribution to Israel. The list included 37 men who were called “the Mighty Men of David.” I want to talk about No. 3 on the list. His name was Benaiah, and he was the captain of the guards that protected the king.
Benaiah’s resume is found in verses 20-23. Benaiah once found himself alone and face to face with two great Moabite champions. They are described as being like fierce lions. It was a fight to the death, and Benaiah was battered yet victorious. Next, we are told the Benaiah fell into a pit that had a lion in it, on a snowy day. Now that’s a bad day in anyone’s book!. My unsanctified imagination can just see a hungry and trapped lion praying to God for food to eat when through the darkness crashes Benaiah to the floor of the pit. Now in a cold dark pit, Benaiah prevails over the king of the beasts. The Bible tells us that Satan can come as a roaring lion or an angel of light. Benaiah’s next challenge wasn’t with lions but with a smooth-talking, good-looking Egyptian who is carrying a concealed weapon behind his back. He comes to Benaiah as a friend to embrace him, and then he pulls a sword out for the kill. Benaiah servives this sneak attack and kills the Egyptian.
Now, let’s try to imagine the moment that David made his decision to make Benaiah the captain of the guard. Let’s say that David interviewed many men who were well-trained, intelligent and of high pedigree. Yet David could not find any peace about whom to choose. The next man who walks through the door is Benaiah. David looks at a man who didn’t need to say a word in order to get the job. The scars of his battles on his body told David everything he needed to know. This man would lay down his life to save the king. You see, the scars were Benaiah’s resume.
In the 20th chapter of the gospel of John, it was the evening of the day Jesus had risen from the dead. The disciples were in the upper room with the doors locked in fear of the authorities. They had not seen Jesus. They had only heard Mary’s story of seeing Him. Suddenly, Jesus appears to them. Two important things take place. First, Jesus says “peace be with you” and second, He shows them His scars. The scars convinced them it was Jesus, and peace was possible. David was at peace knowing Benaiah would lay down his life for him. We can be at peace knowing Jesus (“the captain of our salvation” Heb. 2:10) has laid down His life for us. The scars say it all.