23 March 2008

Stigmata

by Phil Johnson

o I stabbed my hand with a paring knife today trying to remove an avocado pit just before lunchtime. Three stitches. Believe it or not—although I am one of the most consummately clumsy people you would ever want to meet—this is the first time in my life I have ever needed to have stitches for an injury. Three of them.

The urgent care nurse asked me when I last had a tetanus booster. It was ten years ago, on the Fourth of July, when I stabbed my finger with a razor-sharp BBQ fork whilst trying to separate two frozen hamburger patties. That wound went all the way through my finger but was too small in diameter to require stitches. This one went only about two-thirds of the way through my palm, but it was big enough to need sutures.

Ouch.

Serious prayer request:

Our friends Chuck and Teresa Weinberg are going through a severe trial this weekend—replete with dozens of small but amazing miracles, wonders of divine Providence, and timely answers to prayer. I'll let Chuck tell you about their family's ordeal in his own words here. Please keep Chuck, Teresa, Grant, and their family in your prayers this week. And keep watching Chuck's blog for updates.


Phil's signature


And now...

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from "The Evidence of our Lord's Wounds," a sermon preached 2 December 1877, on a Sunday evening at the Met Tab.


ook at Jesus, dead, buried, risen, and then say, "He loved me, and gave himself for me"! There is no restorative for a sinking faith like a sight of the wounded Savior. Look, soul, and live by the proofs of his death! Come and put thy finger, by faith, into the print of the nails, and these wounds shall heal thee of unbelief. The wounds of our Lord are the tokens of his love.

They are, again, the seals of his death, especially that wound in his side. He must have died; for "one of the soldiers, with a spear, pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare witness."

The Son of God did assuredly die. God, who made the heavens and the earth, took to himself our nature, and in one wondrous person he was both God and man; and lo! this wondrous Son of God bore sufferings unutterable, and consummated all by his death. This is our comfort, for if he died in our stead, then we shall not die for our sins; our transgression is put away, and our iniquity is pardoned. If the sacrifice had never been slain, we might despair; but since the spear-wound proves that the great Sacrifice really died, despair is slain, hope revives, and confidence rejoices.

The wounds of Jesus, next, are the marks of identity. By these we identify his blessed person after his resurrection. The very Christ that died has risen again. There is no illusion: there could be no mistake. It is not somebody else foisted upon us in his place; but Jesus who died has left the dead, for there are the marks of the crucifixion in his hands and in his feet, and there is the spear-thrust still. It is Jesus: this same Jesus.

This is a matter of great comfort to a Christian—this indisputably proven doctrine of the resurrection of our Lord. It is the keystone of the gospel arch. Take that away, or doubt it, and there remains nothing to console you. But because Jesus died and in the selfsame person rose again, and ever lives, therefore does our heart sweetly rest, believing that "them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him"; and also that the whole of the work of Jesus is true, is completed, and is accepted of God.

Again, those wounds, those scars of our Lord, were the memorials of his love to his people. They set forth his love so that his chosen can see the tokens; but they are also memorials to himself. He condescendingly bears these as his reminders. In heaven, at this moment, upon the person of our blessed Lord, there are the scars of his. crucifixion. Centuries have gone by, and yet he looks like a Lamb that has been slain. Our first glance will assure us that this is he of whom they said, "Crucify him; crucify him." Steadily look with the eyes of your faith into the glory, and see your Master's wounds, and say within yourself, "He has compassion upon us still: he bears the marks of his passion." Look up, poor sufferer! Jesus knows what physical pain means. Look up, poor depressed one! he knows what a broken heart means. Canst thou not perceive this?

Those prints upon his hands, these sacred stigmata, declare that he has not forgotten what he underwent for us, but still has a fellow-feeling for us. Once again, these wounds may comfort us because in heaven they are, before God and the holy angels, the perpetual ensigns of his finished work. That passion of his can never be repeated, and never needs to be: "After he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, he sat down on the right hand of God." But the memorials are always being presented before the infinite mind of God. Those memorials are, in part, the wounds in our Lord's blessed person.

Glorified spirits can never cease to sing, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain"; for every time they gaze upon him they perceive his scars. How resplendent shine the nail-prints! No jewels that ever gemmed a king can look one-half so lustrous as these. Though he be God over all blessed for ever, yet to us, at least, his brightest splendor comes from his death.

My hearer, whensoever thy soul is clouded, turn thou to these wounds. which shine like a constellation of five bright stars. Look not to thine own wounds, nor to thine own pains, or sins, or prayers, or tears, but remember that" with his stripes we are healed." Gaze, then; intently gaze, upon thy Redeemer's wounds if thou wouldest find comfort.
C. H. Spurgeon


40 comments:

VcdeChagn said...

Wow...the Weinberg's story was amazing....I am truly amazed at how God works and provides us with Grace. I could write a book the size of War and Peace on how many times He has sovereignly decided to preserve a member of my family. With four boys 5 and under, I'm almost certain it will be the size of a set of encyclopedias by the time it's all said and done...Lord willing.

I just found out that a missionary's son was attacked in Israel... (booby trapped Purim basket). One is in intensive care, probably going to lose an eye. And his family praises God. We happen to sponsor some missionaries who work with him over there, that's how I found out about it.

Rick Frueh said...

Spurgeon is my favorite and most personally moving preacher, even if he is a Cal...never mind.

:)

Terry Lange said...

Those pesky avocadoes... look at the trouble they will cause!

Anita Hensley said...

Set the avocado half with pit on counter, take sharp knife and give the pit a quick whack just enough to sink knife into the length of it, twist knife while still in the pit, watch pit pop out. no stabbing necessary. works every time.

YnottonY said...

Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologica, records that:

"Augustine says (De Symb. ii): "Christ knew why He kept the scars in His body. For, as He showed them to Thomas who would not believe except he handled and saw them, so will He show His wounds to His enemies, so that He who is the Truth may convict them, saying: 'Behold the man whom you crucified; see the wounds you inflicted; recognize the side you pierced, since it was opened by you and for you, yet you would not enter.'"

This same passage in Augustine is referenced by Richard Baxter in a side note in his Catholick Theologie, II, 67.

Rick Frueh said...

BTW - I love the preamble "Stigmata" to Phil's narrative concerning the avacado passion. Are there "stations of the Avacado" we all can follow? Of course calling that injury "stigmata" is akin to calling awakening from a nap as a "resurrection".

Aside from the ouch, I found it amusing. I have always suggested that the crisis American prayer request is for God to work a miracle and heal my automatic pool cleaner. That comes not but by prayer and fasting! :)

YnottonY said...

I realized how depraved I still am when I started laughing at this part of Phil's preamble:

"I stabbed my finger with a razor-sharp BBQ fork whilst trying to separate two frozen hamburger patties."

Of course, the next sentence immediately stopped my laughter :-o I guess it was laughter of identification. I had to have stitches between two fingers because I stabbed a knife through a sponge when trying to clean it as a young child. It's just confirmation that I am indeed a Polak :-)

DJP said...

For me, it was using a knife to pry a hot dog off a frozen bunch of them. Cut an artery. I think the ER doc messed it up because he didn't believe I'd cut an artery until he wasn't able to stop it bleeding. (I'm not a doc, but I would have thought the blood PULSING out would have been a clue. The nurse scoffed at the stubborn doc.) So ever since, my nerves are messed up in the end joint of my left index finger.

Whee.

Doug McMasters said...

Phil,

That was the pits. Anita's advice works well; we've employed that technique with great success and no injuries.

The Doulos said...

Avocadoes are cleary a dangerous fruit/vegetable/whatever. And the government should do something to protect unwary and innocent bloggers like Phil from these dangers. Warning labels attached? Genetically engineered pitless varieties? Mandated steel mesh gloves when handling them? Or perhaps Ron Popeil will come up with a machine to remove the pits, maybe the Pit-O-Matic.

Thanks for the story, the Weinberg's info and the Spurgeon.

S.J. Walker said...

I'm not sure what I am supposed to comment on Phil. The creepy hand wound, Spurgeon, The Weinbergs...

Let me just say. Chuck and family are in our prayers as well. God is Good. I can't get over that either. I will be checking for updates.

As far the hand thing. Again. Creepy.

Spurgeon? What can I say. I guess I just can't wait to meet him along with about 65421813536953543554 more--and I hope that number is a short guess.

S.J. Walker said...

When I was four, for my birthday I got 20 dollars from my grandparents in Iowegia. The next day, we went to town (about 30 miles away by way of this)

I went and bought my first truck. A Tonka Chevy Silverado--with an opening tail gate! Not much payload, but GREAT mileage!

I brought it home and had in my room. When Dad got home from the sheet metal shop that evening, I ran to get it to show him. I went to pick it up and felt a cool feeling on my hand. I walked out to the living room and told my parent I had an "ouwy". I held my hand up and my thumb hung down a long ways with just the tension of some of the muscle to keep it at all. I had sliced clear through the webbing of my palm on the tail gate of the truck.

That night, we had a good ol' Colorado blizzard. Mom and dad put me in the car and drove thrity miles as fast as possible through a blizzard on the road I showed you above.

We finally made it to the ER and the doc patched me up. I don't remember how many stitches it was, but he had to quilt me back together.

Then there was the time I fell off the landing of a job trailer and landed on a pressure washer. Really cool scar.

S.J. Walker said...

Are there "stations of the Avacado" we all can follow?

Ah yes, the "Via Do La Guacamole"

Everyday Mommy said...

Phil...

You're not going to believe this, but I promise you it's true. I stabbed myself in the palm of my left hand while attempting to remove an avocado pit. Lots of blood, 5 stitches and twenty years later, I still love avocados.

jules

p.s. Just for you, Phil.

Stefan said...

The greatest King of all was crowned not with a jewelled diadem, but with a crown of thorns. He died for us, and He rose for us, so that we in turn may glorify Him. Amen!

Thank you for the Weinbergs' story. God's challenge to us is to see His grace even in the midst of suffering. Their resoluteness is humbling.

A couple of weeks ago, a believer in the Vancouver area was deliberately murdered by a hit-and-run driver. His family and church bore amazing witness to God when within a few days, the pastor and family said they'd forgiven the driver, and the pastor preached on the sovereignty of God in allowing the event to happen, so that his friends would be drawn closer to the Lord. The story was covered in the local media, even the explicit references to the work of God—I pray for the man's family, and I pray that at least one person who was reading, watching, or listening to the news was effectually moved by the story.

Daryl said...

Well as long as we're trading stories...

I was building benches for our kitchen table this weekend (not enough chairs, lots o' kids) and shredded the top of my thumb with a 3/8" spade bit...the really pointy sharp ones.

Majot pain and 4 fascinated kids. My eldest son (9) quite serious and hoping I was OK, the second (7) quite interested to see it up close, my daughter (5) all sympathetic kissing Daddy 'I hope you'll be OK Daddy' and my 3rd son (3) laughing 'Daddy hurt hisself'.

Quite a crew whilst I struggled between crying, moaning or laughing at the kids...

The scar should be worth it but I wouldn't recommend the procedure.

Daryl said...

Stefan,

I hadn't heard that the guy was a believer. Was that the 3 guys and the white pickup story?

Stefan said...

I was riding a bike down a highway once, going at high speed on a curvy, downhill stretch. (Sounds nuts, but it was a scenic highway with a wide paved shoulder.)

Something happened, and I wiped out and plunged headlong into the rocky ditch. (I was wearing a helmet, praise God.) The highway wasn't too busy, and nobody on my side of the divider saw what had happened, it was over so quickly; and the ditch was deep enough that no one could see me.

By the grace of God, however, one lady happened to be driving by just at the moment that I went over; she saw my head disappear over the edge just as she passed by on the opposite side of the divider. She stopped, crossed over the highway, and turned out to be a registered nurse with a cellphone. Help was soon on the way; sooner than I could possibly have expected. A fire truck, ambulance, and police cars showed up quickly; I was well enough to get a ride in the police car to the hospital, where I was treated for scrapes, but mercifully had no concussion, broken neck, or worse.

Of course, I have many more stories like that, as does everyone else here; but that's probably the best example I have of the grace of God in the midst of pain and suffering.

(And a practical lesson: always wear a bicycle helmet!!! I would almost certainly have not survived, or at best been a lifelong quadraplegic, if it were not for the helmet—and God's grace.)

Stefan said...

Daryl: Yes: that's the one. The three guys were driving to the airport to take a vacation in Hawaii when it happened. Here are Google News stories about it.

RememberPolycarp said...

Ouch Phil!! I do quite a bit of cooking myself, and I've done the same thing with a knife.

I hope this does not come across as a distraction or off-topic (today seems as good a day as any), but I'm having a huge dillema and was hoping to draw from the collective theological expertise among so many bloggers here for a bit of insight and/or direction in what has become a tiresome and rather depressing quest in recent months: finding the right church and/or denomination. My family is getting tired of all my new discoveries of churches that have led to a host of disappointments for diffrent reasons, not the least of which has been two churches in the Brethren denomination that have ventured down different strands of the emergent/missional road (we were at each of these for quite a while and became rather involved). I'm not a theologian like many of you, but have been a believer for 23 years who holds very conservative views. Since we left the second of the two Brethren churches, we have gone into the dreaded “church shopping” mode over the past several weeks, landing us in an Orthodox Presbyterian Church (which seemed to significantly lack passion and/or seems somewhat like dead orthodoxy; I also do not agree with their view on infant Baptism), an EV Free church (which seems like a prime candidate to likewise go down the emergent road after a conversation with the pastor who did not see any reason to exercise caution against it), an independent, fundamental Baptist church (KJV/NT only and extremely separatist and/or legalistic), a Calvary Chapel (doctrine seems too “in-house” and compromised on the Arminianism/Calvinism question...or other theology for that matter). While I wouldn't call myself a hyper-Calvinist, I'm essentially a Calvinist in my thinking; I believe in believer's baptism, and I believe in inerrancy of scripture, I believe in salvation by faith alone in Jesus Christ, etc. Or, to clarify, I've never disagreed with anything I've heard from guys like Alistair Begg, MacArthur, Mohler, Sproul, Zaccharias, Barnhouse...or read in sermons of the late Spurgeon, Lloyd-Jones, GC Morgan, etc. That's where I am in my beliefs, yet finding a church seems near impossible and daunting at this point. If I had to choose from the guys I've named above, I wish I could be part of Begg's church, but we are in nop position to move to Cleveland. Thanks for any insights you can offer, and I apologize if this went off-topic; perhaps others have my same dilemma and they could likewise be edified by the wisdom of others??

Mike Riccardi said...

What area are you in?

SolaMeanie said...

I share Sam's sentiment? On what should I comment? If I suggest that Phil be kept away from sharp objects, I might get in trouble. If I suggest that Phil use a 30.06 to de-pit the avocado, that might get him in trouble with the authorities.

Spurgeon needs no comment from me. The Weinbergs' story deserves praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. I could comment on my ongoing admiration for the lion photo Rick Freuh uses, but that's old territory.

Oh, well. Happy belated Resurrection Day.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Stigmata

An interesting title for an accidental self-inflicted wound.

For another type of self-inflicted wound, (a bit of a stretch I admit) it's instructive to read of Frank Turk's exchange with the I-Monk on I-monk's blogsite about the topic of "Post-Stupid":

http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/post-stupid

Although the interchange probably wasn't meant to be amusing, it did prompt a smile here and there.

RememberPolycarp said...

Southern California -- Long Beach

YnottonY said...

rem-poly,

I know this is probably overly simplistic and something you already know, but I still think it sums up what kind of church one should look for. As long as you can find a church that believes in credo-baptism, and also has a teacher that regularly preaches in an expositional way (like your favorite teachers), everything else is probably in order. It's difficult enough to find leaders who have genuine expositional priorities, so I would just be content with that. If they're preaching the word as they ought to (regular contextual studies with application), then they will most likely have discernment and maturity in other vital areas.

Frank Turk said...

I have never had stigmata, and I count it as a clear sign that I am a true Baptist who is unaffrected by the fads of this world.

The rest of you leave me concerned and deeply, deeply troubled.

DJP said...

How about "grieved"?

John P said...

The comments are starting to resemble this classic FS cartoon

DJP said...

Oh my gosh, I so love that cartoon. That is one of my all-time FS favorites, just hysterical.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Phil,

You might want to be careful...you might have some devoted Catholics of the more mystical variety kneeling on your front lawn.

Speaking of the lawn, make sure you keep your feet away from the blade.

NoLongerBlind said...

RememberPolyCarp:

Not sure if you've been down this route, but here's the web address
to a list of Master's Seminary Grads ministering in California:

(sorry, but I can't seem to make the link work in the blogging mode!)

www.tms.edu/alumnilist.asp?state=CA

I hope that helps you!

Joesph said...

......that's going to leave a mark....

S.J. Walker said...

Hey guys, I don't like changing the subject, and I won't leave a novel here, but could you ALL be in prayer for a friend of mine? He has recently found he has cancer.

Read more at A Lion Has Roared!

Thanks, & God Bless

ALL FOR ONCE/ ONCE FOR ALL said...

RememberPolyCarp,

I think another bellwether for a church is their website. You can easily start to p/u the pomo vibe in about 10 minutes. You start seeing that 60's70's retro web design and start a drillin' -

Our church had/has info on the Ooze, Mclaren, Mars Hill Bible College, XXX church... you get the picture. The online labyrinth link that said Jesus was married is gone though. That was jus a little too overt; especially since I told the pastor I knew it was there.

The doctrinal statement is usually of little help, but if at their site you see the words "missional" over 37 times, I'd skip that one :)

Even if the sr pastor is oblivious
to the EC slithering through the backdoor, you know the jr can't wait to show the world (on the web) that their church is down wit dat wild wood ec weed.

Use the mouse - it's toll free!

VcdeChagn said...

a Calvary Chapel (doctrine seems too “in-house” and compromised on the Arminianism/Calvinism question...or other theology for that matter).

As a Calvary Chapel person, It's gratifying to see that someone conservative doesn't see it as that bad. I'm certainly more Calvinistic than almost everyone at my church (there's one guy there that may be more than I but that's it..small church) including the pastor.

As far as IFB goes, was it Hyles flavor (avoid at all costs) or another IFB...some IFB's aren't too bad. NT only? These guys ever read 2nd Timothy? Or did they just leave the word "all" out of their KJV's for some reason.

In any case, no real recommendations for you because I don't know of any churches close to Long Beach except Calvary Chapels (and they're all huge..I'm not a huge church person).

Of course you are only 40'ish miles from John MacArthur's church...

Mike Riccardi said...

Yeah... I'd say Grace Church is worth the 45 minute drive.

farmboy said...

What about astigmatism? I've had one of those since before the first grade.

RememberPolycarp said...

Thanks so much to all of you who shared insights and/or suggestions. Much to pray about now!

ALL FOR ONCE/ ONCE FOR ALL said...

I was rocked when I found out Phil used a Mac. Now I find out he's a
"cutter" too! Total depravity!

Carrie said...

You shouldn't joke about stigmatas, Phil.

Now someone may try to steal a body part after you die. Although, PyroRelics does have a nice ring to it...