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Galatians 6:17 – Paul branded

02-11-2022 - Posted by Hans

For the rest, let no one afford me weariness, for I am bearing in my body the brand marks of the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is Paul’s last comment in the letter, before the closing greeting. He began his substantive defense by claiming that he had received and learned his Gospel directly through revelation from Jesus Christ (1:12). In Galatians 6 he ends with the claim that he even carries the marks (Gr. stigmata) of Jesus in his body.

The Judaizers forced the Galatians to circumcision as a mark (6:12). However, Paul mentions “the brand marks of Jesus” in his body. What does he mean? Several times we noticed that the apostle had problems with his eyes (4:15), which also explains why he did not write his letters himself, except for a closing greeting. It is precisely this last passage in Galatians that Paul wrote himself, and the readers could recognize his handwriting by the “big letters” (6:11).

The thought again strikes us that when Paul saw a dazzling light in his calling (Acts 9:8; 22:11), he was branded (stigmatized!) in his eyes. Many years later, he is still physically affected by this. It became his handicap and at the same time he carried a lasting memory of his vocation on the road to Damascus!