The Bible does not specifically tell us that Jesus, now in heaven, has retained the scars of His crucifixion. We can’t be absolutely sure, but we believe He does still have the scars—the only scars anywhere in heaven—based on a few clues in Scripture.
When Jesus rose from the dead, His resurrected, glorified body still had the scars. He invited Thomas, who had doubted the resurrection, to see and feel the scars of crucifixion: “Put your finger here,” Jesus said; “see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe” (John 20:27). Jesus’ scars were visible and touchable, post-resurrection.
John’s description of Jesus in the first part of the book of Revelation does not mention any scars or wounds (Revelation 1:12–16). Of course, the description is quite symbolic, emphasizing Jesus’ glory, power, and majesty. Later in the same book, Jesus is pictured as “a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain” (Revelation 5:6). This picture suggests scars, but, again, it is highly symbolic, and we are careful not to draw details of physical appearance from such a passage.
If Jesus still has the scars of crucifixion in heaven, why might He have chosen to retain them? The scars borne by our Savior represent several profoundly important things:
First, the scars are an eternal witness to the Incarnation of the Son of God. A spirit can have no scars, but “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). It was while He walked this earth as one of us that He received the scars. And Christ remains in the flesh forever. Just as the Son lost none of His divinity when He came to earth, so He lost none of His humanity when He returned to heaven. He is forever God in the flesh, the perfect (and only) Mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5).
Second, the scars reveal why Jesus came to earth: to be a sacrifice for us. As Jesus said, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). He came suffer for us, to save us from sin. He came to reconcile us to the Father in heaven. That reconciliation required His suffering:
“He was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
The scars of crucifixion Jesus bears attest to His sacrifice.
Third, the scars reveal that God loved us while we were still sinners. It was the sin of mankind that put Jesus on the cross. As He was being arrested, Jesus told His enemies, “This is your hour—when darkness reigns” (Luke 22:53). And the world itself grew dark when He was on the cross (Luke 23:44). But thus it had to be. If God had waited until we somehow made ourselves righteous, we would never have known salvation. We weren’t interested in righteousness, and we could not attain to it (Romans 3:10–12). Evil scarred Jesus, and those scars are proof that “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Fourth, the scars Jesus still bears in heaven reveal that He suffered as we do in this world. He knows our pain. He wept with those who wept (John 11:35). He resisted against sin unto the point of bloodshed (Hebrews 12:4). He is our High Priest who empathizes with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15).
Fifth, the scars signify that death has been defeated. The wounds Jesus received were lethal, but He triumphed over the grave. What’s more, He allows us to share in His triumph. The scars show that our final victory is in Him. “‘Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?’ . . . But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55, 57).
The scars of crucifixion Jesus will likely possess for eternity speak of the greatest love ever (John 15:13). Presumably, Jesus will have the only scars in heaven, in which case we will see a visible reminder of His praiseworthiness. Without the event that occasioned those scars, no one else would be there.