So often we hear a Scripture repeated and misapplied. How often have you heard Isaiah 53:5 spoken out and claimed to heal a temporary body here on earth? Today is Good Friday, the day that we give thanks to the Lord for His work on the cross to heal our sinful nature. “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” (Is 53:5)
Isaiah describes what would happen to Jesus. He describes the suffering of the Messiah and then writes the reasons for His suffering: He was pierced for our transgressions (rebellion) and crushed for our iniquities (depravity).
The prophet Isaiah was pointing out that our sins required an atonement. Our sins required forgiveness. Our sins needed to be washed off each of us. But the traditional way God’s people atoned for sin in the Old Testament was through the blood sacrifice of animals performed at the Temple. In order to provide atonement and to be washed of our sins, a perfect sacrifice was coming for all of mankind: God’s only son, Jesus.
The stripes mentioned by Isaiah were the awful lashings upon Jesus’ back by the Roman whips. Thirty-nine stripes were the traditional punishment for a condemned prisoner. According to the scripture, these stripes upon Christ were on behalf of our healing.
Peter also writes about the work of Jesus on the cross. He explains that Christ traded our sins for His life. He bore the punishment for our sins, the death we should have received instead of Him. Peter teaches that Jesus’ actions were done so that we could live righteously and have salvation.
“‘Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth’; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1 Pet 2:22-25)
The word “healed” when translated from both Greek and Hebrew can mean spiritual or physical healing. However the context of both Isaiah 53 and 1 Peter 2 make it clear that they are referring to spiritual healing. The verse is referring to sins and righteousness not disease and sickness.
Have you been wounded by sin, rejection, loss, or betrayal that has cut you to your core? Are these wounds still fresh and open? Like slicing cutting your finger, the negative spiritual effects of painful physical events, leave our souls reeling for comfort, peace, and wholeness. Only Jesus can heal that.
Christ died for believers to separate them from sin’s penalty, so it can never condemn them. The record of our sins, the indictment of guilt that had us headed for hell, was “nailed to the cross” (Col 2:12-14). Jesus paid their debt to God in full. In that sense, all Christians are freed from sin’s penalty. They are also delivered from its dominating power and made able to live to righteousness (Rom 6:16-22).
The healing is shown in the last verse of this passage: “But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life” (Rom 6:22). In other words, this death to sin and becoming alive to righteousness is the healing work of Jesus’ actions. It is the healing work of his stripes. Both Peter and Isaiah meant the wounds of Jesus were a part of the process.
Due to mankind’s sin, which brought separation from God’s fellowship, God sent Jesus to endure the sufferings and the brutal execution on the cross, “in our place,” as our substitute, so that all mankind could have a “bridge” back to the fellowship and benefits of God. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).
When you accept Christ into your heart, the spiritual healing begins because you are choosing to receive and accept God’s forgiveness of your sins. You are no longer separated from Christ because He now lives in your heart. Here are 3 ways we are healed by Jesus’ stripes:
- We Are Healed of the Guilt of Our Sins through the Cross: Yes we’ve been forgiven, yes we’ve been washed clean of our sins by His stripes. But what if we still bare the burden of guilt for our sins? Past actions fester into regrets and become gaping wounds because we are unable to let go of the guilt of what we’ve done. There are two kinds of guilt: Conviction and Condemnation. Conviction is the Spirit of God gently correcting you and restoring you to Himself. No sin is too great. The latter is what the enemy uses to prevent Jesus’ stripes from healing us. The enemy loves nothing more than to torment God’s people with the pain of their past. Sometimes this kind of guilt is a symptom of unforgiveness in our hearts. In Matt 18:23-35 Jesus tells us how important it is to forgive those who have wronged us.
- We Are Healed Because Jesus Can Relate to Our Suffering: Who better than Jesus to understand our suffering. God is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Ps 34:18-19). In Jesus’ final days, He was betrayed by one of His disciples, denied by His friend Peter. He was whipped and then given a criminal’s death—being nailed to the cross. In the midst of all of it, Jesus felt as though He was forsaken by His own Father God has He waited to die on the cross. No matter the suffering you are experiencing, Jesus gets it. He understands. As you face betrayal, difficult relationships or whatever it may be, God understands, God cares, God is near at hand to comfort and help. To those who love Him, God says, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Is 41:10).
- We Are Healed Because Jesus Makes Us Whole: Bartimaeus was born blind. To earn a living, he sat everyday at the city gates and begged for money. However, be began to hear stories of healing by Jesus. And he began to hear rumors that Jesus would be visiting his city. When the day came, Bartimaeus was unrelenting in his pursuit of Jesus because he had faith that Jesus would make him whole. And Jesus tells him that it was his faith in Jesus that healed him (Mark 10:52). The value of one’s faith does not come from the one who expresses it but from the object in which it rests. Ultimately, healing is not contingent upon the quality of one’s faith, but upon the Healer. The healing expressed in this story is the Greek word, sozo, which means “to rescue, to preserve, save from death or keep alive.” It refers to our spiritual salvation which is linked to our faith.
When Jesus said to certain people, “Your faith has made you well,” He was saying that their faith (their confidence in Him) had been the means of their restoration. The power of Christ was what effected the cure, but His power was applied in connection with their faith. Just as the faith of some enabled them to receive healing, so healing was sometimes stymied by a lack of faith (Matt 13:58). In the same way, salvation comes to a sinner through faith. Everyone who is saved must believe, but it is the power of Christ that saves, not the power of faith. Faith is only the instrument, not the power itself.
Jesus was thinking of each and every one of us when the skin of His back turned into mere ribbons from the lashings. I also think He thought of us when He crawled onto the cross and even when He took His last breath—knowing He would soon defeat death and fulfill the wages of sin. Go to Him. No matter what is tormenting your soul. God has already forgiven you and Jesus already planned ahead and paid your debt. There is no other way to receive forgiveness of our sin than to turn to Jesus in faith. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'” (John 14:6)
Source: By His Stripes We Are Healed