“Lo! He comes with clouds descending, once for ev’ry sinner slain; Thousand thousand saints attending, swell the triumph of His train: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! Christ the Lord returns to reign.
“Those dear tokens of His passions still His dazzling body bears, Cause of endless exultation to His ransomed worshipers. With what rapture, with what rapture, with what rapture Gaze we on those glorious scars!”
Unbelievers may deny that Jesus rose from the dead, even if they are willing to acknowledge the fact of His crucifixion. Others deny that He was crucified, much less raised, perhaps suggesting that someone else died in His place. Even at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, His enemies bribed the soldiers guarding the tomb, paying them to lie and say the disciples stole Jesus’ body.
We know otherwise. On the third day after His death, Jesus was raised bodily from the dead. Scripture tells us that His risen, glorified body still bore the scars of the nails in His hands and feet and the mark of the spear in His side. When the frightened and astonished disciples could not believe that the risen Lord stood before them, the scars provided the necessary proof. Jesus told them, “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Touch Me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have” (Luke 24:39 ESV). Jesus invited His skeptical disciple Thomas to put his finger in the mark of the nails and place his hand in Jesus’ side. The glorious wounds erased all doubt.
One day “with clouds descending,” our Lord will return in glory. When “Christ the Lord returns to reign,” there will be no doubt as to His identity: “Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of Him” (Revelation 1:7 ESV). Even unbelievers will know who He is, and it will not be a day of joy for them. But we know and believe in our risen and reigning Lord, and for us that Last Day will be a day of rejoicing like no other.
When Jesus returns, His dazzling body will still bear “those dear tokens of His passion,” the marks of the nails and spear in His hands, feet and side. What will it be like to see “those glorious scars”? Of course, we do not need to see those scars to know what our Lord endured for the sake of our salvation. We have the eyewitness testimony of the Word, the testimony of disciples who saw and touched those tokens of our Lord’s suffering. As Jesus told Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29b ESV). We believe, and on that great day we will see the Lord in the flesh and gaze with rapture on the glorious wounds by which we are healed.
Prayer: Lord and Savior, I look forward to the day of Your return. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn “Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending,” which is number 336 in the Lutheran Service Book.
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
1. Popular culture and entertainment are full of doomsday/end-time scenarios. Why do you think the Second Coming of Christ is not represented very often in these productions?
2. Do you consider yourself ransomed from your sins by Jesus? How so?
3. How do you think Jesus will appear to us when we see Him in glory?