A birthmark, as defined by Wikipedia, is a benign irregularity on the skin which is present at birth or appears shortly after birth, usually in the first month of life.
Do you have a birthmark? I have a large one on my back. The funny thing about my birthmark is that it sort of looks likes the map of Ireland. What makes that extra special is that I was born in Ireland. My parents use to say that my birthmark showed I was kissed by Saint Patrick so that I would not forget my heritage. Both of my children have birthmarks and so does my granddaughter. Each birthmark is unique and different. These marks also make us unique and different. I have heard that some parents of identical twins will be able to tell them apart by their birthmarks.
Do you have any scars? Scars are another form of marks on our body. Some people bare physical scars while other people have emotional scars. Scars are a sign of some kind of trauma that has happened to our body or spirit. I have several scars from surgeries I have endured. I also have some emotional scars, the largest one from the death of our son many years ago. My scars have healed, mostly, but are still visible to those that know me well. They are my reminders of what the Lord has brought me through and they helped shape me into the person I am today. We also have seen such a variety of scars on the orphans we work with in other countries. Some of the stories behind the scars are heartbreaking.
Even the animals can carry such marks on their bodies. During biblical times, an animal with a mark or blemish would not be acceptable for sacrifice as seen in Exodus 12:5 “Let your lamb be without a mark, a male in its first year: you may take it from among the sheep or goats.” These kind of marks were thought to symbolized the sin of the animal so made them unacceptable for a sacrifice. Just like these blemished animals, sin leaves a mark on us also. Christ was offered as our sacrifice on the cross as shown in 1 Peter 1:19 “like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” The blood of Christ washes away the mark of sin from our life when we accept Him as our Savior.
As Christians, we receive another important mark on our lives. At our baptism the pastor usually speaks these words “you are sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ’s own forever.” We are being transformed into the image of Christ through our baptism. Once we are marked as belonging to Christ, He can no longer sees the stain of sin in our heart. This re-birth mark sets us apart from the rest of the world. We are now set aside for God’s purpose.
The world sees our re-birth mark of Christ by the way we live our life. The world will hate us because of our re-birth mark. They will try to scar us by using their marks of trails, rejection and persecution but we are called to persevere these attacks; 2 Corinthians 12:10 “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” We must not allow the world to rob us of our re-birth mark that was given to us at our baptism. We must continue to let the light of Christ shine through us and into the world. Philippians 2:15 “that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you are seen as lights in the world.” We can choose to accept these marks just as Christ accepted our marks of sins on the cross for us. 1 Peter 2:24: “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” If we do not accept Christ’s re-birth mark then someday a different mark will be given to those in the world that have not accept Christ. Revelations 13:17 “and that no one would be able to buy or to sell, unless he has that mark, the name of the beast or the number of his name.”
Life will give us birth marks, scars and sins. Christ offers us a re-birth mark. Christ’s way is not the easy way but it is the only way that leads us to eternal life. Which mark will you choose, the world’s or Christ’s?
Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”