33 Days to Resurrection Sunday!
March 14, 2017
Isaiah 53:5 “…and with his stripes we are healed…”
SCRIPTURE READING: ISAIAH 53:5-10
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
REFLECTION: Look again at maladies and the cures in Isaiah 53:5:
The malady: Transgressions.
The cure: He was wounded.Nails, thorns, and a spear wounded our meek Savior. (John 19:37)
The malady: Iniquities.
The cure: He was bruised.Fists bruised our Lord’s sinless body. (Matthew 26:27)
The malady: No peace.
The cure: He was chastised.A reed that served as a mock scepter was taken from His hand and then used to beat his thorn-crowned head. (Matthew 27:30)
When we come to the fourth cure, “By His stripes,” no specific malady is cited. We know that the whip of the Roman Legionnaire shredded the flesh of our Lord’s body leaving the stripe-marks here mentioned. (Matthew 27:26).But Isaiah does not explicitly tell us what it is that the “stripes” will heal.
“Transgressions,” “iniquities,” and “peace-lessness,” are spiritual conditions. We usually assume that the “stripes” were to bring about physical healing, but the context surely demands a spiritual significance.
That the Lord miraculously healed and heals the physically sick we are sure. We are witnesses of His power over nature. Yet we are also sure that every person our Lord healed during his ministry, even those whom He raised from the dead, ultimately passed through the valley of the shadow of death.
We believe that the cure for transgressions is permanent. We believe that the cure for iniquities is enduring. We believe that the cure for peace-lessness is lasting. But if we see the stripes as the remedy for“physical ailments,” we must admit the cure is temporal at best.
The Apostle Peter refers to this Scripture in his first letter to the persecuted Church. He urges suffering Christians to follow in the footsteps of Christ, who, “his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes we are healed.” (I Peter 2:24). Here again there is no specific mention of physical ailment. There is an explicit reference to spiritual health, evidenced by “righteousness.”
While in the Recovery Unit at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, the doctors asked the respiratory therapists to remove the ventilator from my Father’s face. He looked at his anxious wife and two sons, faintly smiled and whispered, “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies.” (Psalm 103:1-4). I can’t tell you how thrilling that was for our family.
Then within twenty-four hours my father was again requiring the ventilator. Nine weeks later he was breathing the ethereal air of heaven. He testified, “Bless the Lord… who healeth all thy diseases…” then infection took him from us.
What is this healing to which David and Isaiah and Peter refer? It is first and foremost that healing of the sin sick soul. That old African-American Spiritual had it right:
“There is a balm [cure] in Gilead
to make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead,
to heal the sin sick soul.”
Marvelous truth. Christ came not only to forgive transgressions, wash away iniquities, and speak peace to troubled souls, He came to bring spiritual health to sin-prone souls.
He came so that we might be filled with “all the fullness of God,”(Ephesians 3:19) and that“the very God of peace” could and would “sanctify wholly.”He suffered outside the gate that He might sanctify us with His blood. (Hebrews 13:12) He did all that was necessary so that “our whole spirit and soul and body would be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). To those who doubt the possibility of such spiritual healing, sanctifying grace, the Apostle Paul testifies, “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
PRAYER: Our Father, “My heart is thrilled when ere I think of Jesus! That blessed name, which sets the captive free! The only name, through which I find salvation! No name on earth has meant so much to me.” I cannot possibly comprehend all that Christ accomplished “wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed,” but I can offer a heartfelt “Hallelujah!” for your sacrifice for me. “I long to be perfectly whole, break down every idol, cast out every foe, now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow!” Bless and make me a blessing today. In the strong name of Jesus, Amen.Our Father, &c.