The great Apostle Paul states in Galatians 6:17,"From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my
body the brand-marks of Jesus." What a way to close out the book of Galatians! There is nothing special about
the Greek word here for brand-marks, the word here in Greek is only mentioned here in our Bible. But this is just
not a mark. When we think of this word, we probably go to cattle or personally owned farm animals, as to who
owns them and who they belong to. It is a mark of ownership, to designate ownership. I am quite sure animals
feel pain when imprinted with this mark, I am also quite sure that Paul has felt some awful pain being a disciple
of Christ. I am also quite sure that the scars on his body left by the stripes and the stones speak of his loyalty to
and fellowship with his Master.
These brand-marks are consequences of his Apostolic zeal. Paul, in Galatians 1:10, James, Peter, and Jude also
refer to themselves in their letters as bond-servants, the Greek word is, DOULOS, meaning slave. The Spirit gives
them an expression as to what they really are. A slave cannot simply terminate a relationship unlike a servant
can get up and quit. It is a blasphemous thing applied to a relationship of one man to another, but it is a blessing
to be applied in a relationship of a man to Christ. Commentator Alexander MacLaren states, "For this Lord has
absolute authority over us, and He can do what He likes with everything that belongs to us; and we, and our
duties, and our circumstances, and our relationships, are all in His hands, and the one thing that we have to
render to Him is utter, absolute, unquestioning, unhesitating, unintermittent, and unreserved obedience and
Paul certainly modeled that. Look at 2Cor.11:23-27 and see such things as Paul went through to serve Christ,
imprisonments, beaten times without number, 5 times he received 39 lashes, 3 times beaten with rods, once he
was stoned, in danger of so many things, including hunger, thirst and exposure. His body was indeed a perfect
specimen of what the brand-marks of Jesus must have looked like. So, is there a place in the Christian life for
self-will, a place for self-indulgence, a place for murmuring, and reluctance, a place for lots of our own rights?
Paul's scars are a badge of honor and courage. What can man do to me? The Psalmist re-iterates that very thing
in Psalm 56:4,11, and Psalm 118:6.
Application, can we apply this? How about Math.5:29-30, tearing out eyes, cutting off hands, of course not
literally. Showing humility and meekness will make you stand out in a crowd to show Jesus owns you. Living a
life of self-denial, crucifying the passions and lusts of the flesh, bearing in your body the death of
Christ.(Gal.2:20) There are pains, sorrows, disappointments, and afflictions that affect our mortal bodies(thorn
in the flesh) these are tokens from our Master, but remember Rom.8:18. Alexander MacLaren states, “It is
blessed, and a special mark of the Master's favour that He should think it worth His while to mark us as His own,
by any sorrow or any pain. However hot may be the iron, and however deeply it may be pressed by His firm,
steady, gentle hand upon the quivering flesh and shrinking heart, let us be thankful if He, even by it, impresses
on us the manifest tokens of ownership." Does your body bear the brand-marks of Jesus?
Elder Randy Slak