Vol. 1 - No. 11 

November, 1982

"With His Stripes We Are Healed"

by Jesse G. Jenkins

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 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.” (Isaiah 53:4-5). Of what kind of “healing” did Isaiah speak? Physical? Spiritual?

This is a favorite “proof text” of those who teach that Jesus, through special servants, performs miraculous, physical healing today. But the statements within the verses, the context, the use made of it in the New Testament and New Testament instructions about miracles all show that the thrust of the passage has to do with spiritual healng -- forgiveness of sin.

Statements Within the Verses

“He was wounded for our transgressions.” “He was bruised for our iniquities.”

“The chastisement of our peace was upon him.” “With his stripes are we healed.”

It should be evident that “transgressions,” “iniquities,” and “peace” are not referring to physical healing, but to forgiveness of sins, with a resultant right standing with God.

Context

“The Lord hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all.” (vs. 6).

Verses seven and eight speak of his death and conclude with: “for the transgression of my people was he stricken.”

“It pleased the Lord to bruise him,” and in his death, he was made “an offering for sin.” (vs. 10).

“By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” (vs. 11).

“And he bare the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (vs. 12).

The context is plainly talking of his being “an offering for sin,” so that we can be forgiven of our “iniquities” and “transgressions” and thus stand before our God and Saviour “justified” and at “peace” with him.

The Use Made Of It In The New Testament

First Peter 2:24 applies “by his stripes ye were healed” to Jesus bearing our sins on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live unto righteousness.

Hebrews 9:28 relates his being a sin offering to our salvation.

Second Corinthians 5:21 shows that he was our sin offering “that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

Acts 8:32-35 has Philip using Isaiah 53 as his text to preach Jesus and baptism in his name.

Luke 22:37 quotes Isaiah 53:12 and in the context of Jesus' betrayal, suffering and death, which death was for our sins. (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Matthew 27:38, 57-60 fulfils Isaiah 53:9, 12. “He made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death.” “He was numbered with the transgressors.”

All of the above references apply Isaiah 53 to the suffering and death of Jesus, which was for our forgiveness of sins.

But one says: Matthew 8:16-17 applies Isaiah 53:4-5 to Jesus' “healing the sick.” That might be so. But I am not sure that it is. The Septuagint, from which the New Testament quotes freely, gives these verses as follows: “He bears our sins, and is pained for us: yet we accounted him to be in trouble, and in suffering, and in affliction. But he was bruised because of our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him: and by his bruises we are healed.” Now that does not sound much like Matthew 8:16-17 to me. It is definite that the healing of verse 5 does not refer to the physical, for the healing is accomplished “with his stripes.” And his suffering and death were for our spiritual healing, not physical.

But if Matthew 8:16-17 should refer to Isaiah 53:4-5, it would not prove that Jesus, through his special servants, performs miracles today.

New Testament Instruction About Miracles

That Jesus did, through his special servants, perform miracles, is plainly taught in the New Testament. But that the purpose of these miracles was to confirm the word is also plainly taught. (Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:1-4). Thus, when the word was fully confirmed -- revelation completed -- the purpose of miracles was fulfilled and miracles ceased.

With the exception of the apostles being clothed with power to be Jesus' “witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth”(Acts 1:8), and those at the house of Cornelius receiving the gift of tongues to convince the Jews that God accepted Gentiles (Acts 10:46-49; 11:14-19), the only way one received the power to work a miracle was by the laying on of an apostles' hands. (Acts 8:18). And it follows as clearly as can be that there is none on earth today on whom an apostle has laid hands. Thus, there is none on earth today through whom Jesus performs miracles. And to try to make Isaiah 53:4-5 teach that Jesus performs miracles today is a manifest misapplication of the passage.

Conclusion

Isaiah 53 shows that God, through Jesus Christ, has provided salvation for man. And providing salvation is one hundred per cent the work of God, through Jesus Christ. Neither you, I, nor all of us combined can add one thing in this category! But whether one accepts the provided salvation is one hundred per cent up to the individual. Neither Deity nor man can do this for one. The individual must make Christ his Lord, that is, the ruler of his life. And this requires response; this means that one is committed to obeying Jesus.

Thanks be to God that he was willing to pay such a price for our salvation. Thanks be to Jesus that he was willing to die for us. Thanks be to the Holy Spirit for his revelation that we may have a directive in life. Oh, how ungrateful is the one who does not lovingly respond. Oh, how glorious are the blessings for the one who does make Christ his Lord, and is justified by him.