By Pastor Dana A. Holmes

Christ on CrossIsaiah 53:4-5
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
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.
[Emphasis mine]

Isaiah 53:11-12
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Andrew Murray (1828-1917), in his book Divine Healing, wrote the following commentary on the two passages of scripture above.

The expression “to bear” could not but appear in this prophecy. It is, in fact, the word which must accompany the mention of sin, whether as committed directly by the sinner, or whether as transmitted to a substitute. The transgressor, the priest expiatory victim must all bear the sin. In the same way, it is because the Lamb of God has borne our sins, that God smote Him for the iniquity of us all. Sin was not found in Him, but it was put upon him; He took it voluntarily upon him. And it is because he bore it, and that, in bearing it, He put an end to it, that He has the power to save us. “By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities...he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because…he bare the sin of many.” (Isaiah 53:11,12) It is therefore, because our sins have been borne by Jesus Christ that we are delivered from them as soon as we believe this truth; consequently we have no longer to bear them ourselves. In this same chapter, the expression “to bear” occurs twice, but in relation to two different things. It is not said only that the Lord’s righteous servant has borne our sins (v. 12), but also that He has borne our sicknesses (v. 4, R.V. margin). Thus His bearing our sicknesses forms an integral part of the redeemer’s work as well as bearing our sins. Although Himself without sin, He has borne our sins, and He has done as much for our sicknesses. The human nature of Jesus could not be touched by sickness because it remained holy. We never find in the account of His life any mention of sickness. Participating in all the weaknesses of our human nature—hunger, thirst, fatigue and sleep—because all these things are not the consequences of sin, He still had no trace of sickness. As He was without sin, sickness had no hold on Him, and He could die only a violent death and that by His voluntary consent. Thus, it is not in Him but on Him that we see sickness as well as sin; He took upon Him and bore them of His own free will. In bearing them and taking them upon Him, He has by the very fact triumphed over them, and has acquired the right of delivering His children from them… Having taken upon Him sickness as well as sin, He is in a position to set us free from the one as well as the other, and that He may accomplish this double deliverance, He expects from us only one thing: our faith.

I concur with our brother’s assessment of these passages in Isaiah 53:4-5, 11-12. In fact, other passages of scripture seem to bear out these truths as well. For instance, Psalm 103:1-3 states, 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. In vv. 2-3, two important factors are evident:

1. A divine benefit.
2. Forgiveness of sins and healing of the physical body go hand in hand.

First of all, what are benefits? According to Strong’s Hebrew & Aramic Dictionary, it’s a service or requital, a reward, an act of good. The Psalmist said, …Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits (rewards, acts of good, etc.). He then began to list these rewards and acts of good toward us. The first two are, 1) who forgives ALL thine iniquities, and 2) who heals ALL thy diseases. Forgiveness and healing are our rewards of faith in Christ Jesus. How well the benefit of healing is described in Acts 10:38, which states, How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. Did you notice that He went about doing good and healing all? What a glorious benefit! Another passage of scripture where this benefit is expressed is found in James 5:14-16, which states, Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Peter is making this declaration in relation to Isaiah 53:5, and in his declaration, he changes the phrase “and with His stripes we are healed” to “by whose stripes ye were healed.” The reason for this was that Isaiah was looking forward to the cross approximately 600 years before it happened, and Peter was looking back to the cross after it had been accomplished.

Now, forgiveness of sins and healing of the body are “forever-settled subjects” to those who put their faith in Christ. Many people readily accept the “benefit” of God’s forgiveness of their sins, but fail to accept the “benefit” of healing for their bodies. This is due in part to the lack of teaching of the healing benefit and the “half of the Gospel” being promulgated throughout much of the Church world. The reason I called it the “half of the Gospel” is because only half is being preached. Divine healing is part and parcel of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and whenever the “full Gospel” is preached, healing for the body is included. Don’t misunderstand me. I do understand that the forgiveness of our sins is much more important than the healing of our bodies. After all, it is the forgiveness of our sins that gives us access to heaven, not the healing of our bodies. However, without the good news of Jesus paying for our healing, that access to heaven will be realized more quickly than it needs to be. I once heard the story of a Preacher who asked his congregation, “How many of you want to go to heaven?” To the Preacher’s surprise, everyone raised their hands except one man. The Preacher then addressed the man. “Sir”, he said, “You don’t want to go to heaven when you die?” The man answered, “Sure I do, when I die, but I thought that you were gathering up a load to go now!” Departing this earth to be with Jesus is far greater than anything that this world has to offer, and I am by no means criticizing anyone who departs to be with Him—sick or not. I’m simply saying that we have benefits that we can take advantage of if we know about them, including healing for our bodies, and we can live a full life, being a blessing to others and affecting the kingdom of God in a positive way.

Philippians 1:21-24
21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

Now let’s go back to the Book of Isaiah and see the effects of Jesus’ sacrifice on His own body. We already know that Jesus was beaten before He was crucified. Really, He began paying for our healing at the “whipping post,” for by his stripes we were healed, but this passage tells the rest of the story.

Isaiah 52:13-14 states
13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:

Now, the English word visage means the face or facial expression of a person; appearance. This is saying that Jesus’ face was marred (disfigured) more than any man who had ever lived.  You have never seen a face as disfigured as that, that Jesus’ was. It didn’t mean more than any man up to that time; it meant more than any man. The word form means the body, especially of a person.  The NIV translates this verse as …his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness. There is no beating that anybody could do to Jesus that would put him in such a condition. His whole face and body form changed until He was unrecognizable as a human. All this happened on the cross. I believe that the reason His face and form were changed to such a degree is that He took upon Him every sickness and every disease not only that existed at that time, but throughout all time! As was pointed out earlier, healing of the body and forgiveness of sins go hand in hand. Jesus paid for it all. Therefore, the good news is that there is absolutely no sickness and no disease that could ever come upon us that He can’t or won’t heal—nor does He choose whom He will heal. In fact, on the basis of what Jesus has done for us in his substitutionary work, God considers the matter settled. Now, if you’re religious-minded, you need to be sitting down when you read what I am about to say. God CANNOT choose whom He will heal anymore than He can choose whom He will save! We receive healing the same way we receive forgiveness of our sins: by believing with all of our heart!