stigmata

Biblical Stigmata

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

“From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus” (Galatians 6:17 KJV).

The Apostle Paul wrote in today’s Scripture that no one could deny his apostleship was of Jesus Christ, for he bore “in his body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” What were these “marks?”

Interestingly, the Greek word here translated “marks” is stigmata, which in English means “signs of disgrace or shame.” Understand that these stigmata which Paul suffered were Scriptural, and they involved shame and hatred, not awe and pride like the “stigmata” of religious tradition (wounds on one’s hands and feet superstitiously believed to be Christ’s scars, which leads to nothing more than pagan idolatry).

Notice what an apostle endured in Bible times: “For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; and labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day (1 Corinthians 4:9-13).

How many of today’s (self-proclaimed) “apostles” could write what Paul did in the above verses? Today, Christendom uses the title “apostle,” not to refer to those who have been directly commissioned and sent by Jesus Christ to travel abroad preaching the Gospel (which is the Biblical definition), but to those who have deceived themselves into believing they have a special “anointing” of God. In Paul’s day, “apostle” was a term of scorn and hatred; today, it is one of great fame and wealth.

Read 2 Corinthians 11:22-30, and notice the beatings, stonings, imprisonments, 195 (!) lashes, and other pains Paul suffered for the Gospel’s sake. How many are willing to endure that stigmata for Christ?