Are We Healed By His Wounds
October 16, 2021
“By His wounds you are healed!” 1 Peter 2:24
Partial quotes and quoting out of context are popular among Christians who wish something to be true. In this case, I am talking about a verse found in Isaiah 53:5 and 1 Peter 2:24. In the King James Version it reads, “…and with His stripes we are healed.” This verse is misquoted to imply that the horrible beating and subsequent death of Christ has brought physical healing to all believers. I’ve heard it used in prayers for sick and lame people many, many times. There is, however, a problem with using that verse to call upon God for healing. It does not mean that the death of our Lord guarantees healing. Why would it? Take a few minutes to read the surrounding verses in both cases.
Jesus’ death on the cross gave Him the absolute right to become a sacrifice for our sins, not bring healing to our bodies. His death, burial and resurrection brings eternal healing and total future absence of tears, pain, sorrow and suffering. Future! Eternal!
Revelation 21:4 says, regarding our eternal destination to the City of God, the New Jerusalem; “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” No more pain. On this side of Glory, we will have pain and crying.
Then there’s another problem with using this verse as assurance of God’s desire to physically heal all who call upon the name of Christ…it doesn’t always bring the desired result! How many times have you prayed for healing, using this verse, and nothing happened? How many times have you been in meetings where many were prayed over using this verse and nothing happened?
God can and does heal people but not because of Christ’s wounds. If He chooses to heal someone, it is His choice and will, not because someone misused a verse in the Bible.
A very well-known example of not being healed is Joni Eareckson-Tada (Tada is an evangelical Christian, author, radio host, quadriplegic, and founder of Joni and Friends). When she was 19 (and a Christian) she broke her neck while diving from a raft. There have been thousands of prayers sent up to God imploring Him to touch and heal Joni. All to no avail. But what about the idea that the “stripes of Jesus brings healing?” Perhaps that is not what the verse from Isaiah 53 and repeated in 1 Peter 2 means.
Here is what Joni said after imploring God to restore her body: “I learned that the core of Christ’s plan is to rescue us from sin. Our physical aches and pains and broken relationships aren’t his ultimate focus—he cares deeply about these things, but they’re symptoms of the chief problem in this fallen world. God’s goal is not to make us comfortable. He wants to teach us to hate our transgressions as he grows our love for Him.”
Jesus suffered and died for the forgiveness of the sins of the world, not for physical healing. Look at the lives of His apostles. They were scorned, mocked, beaten, tortured, jailed and killed! Surely they could have called upon the stripes of Jesus to heal them. While He was alive, our Lord healed hundreds, perhaps thousands of people and raised some from the dead. Not by His future stripes but by the will of God.
Go back to 1 Peter 2:20-25 and see what he is saying about suffering for Christ. Human life is temporary. Pain and suffering are not uncommon expectations for Christians in many parts of the world. Surely we must see that God did not send His only Son to be tortured and painfully killed by crucifixion so we could claim his suffering and pain will guarantee physical healing to everyone living today. Perhaps “By His stripes we are healed” is referring to forgiveness of sin, the gift of new life. Eternal life is where we will have perfect pain-free bodies.
A phone call. It was a schoolmate. “Hey, I’ve got my Dad’s car tonight. Want to go for a ride?” (The car was a 1957 Chevy Bel Air with a powerful V8 engine. It was new).
We were both 15. No driving license. His dad was unaware of my friend’s plan. “Ok. I”ll tell my mom I’m going over to your house. Where do you want to pick me up?” In a few moments, we were headed out of town on the two lane country road that all teens took for fast driving and smooching. Tonight would be fast driving.
As you leave the city limits and take a few curves, the road lays out long, smooth and arrow straight. “Want to see how fast she will go?” he said.
“Yes!” I looked at the speedometer which read 50. It pegged out at 120! We were not wearing seat belts. They were a nuisance.
He shoved his foot to the floor. That Chevy V8 lept into action, roaring down the highway faster and faster. The speedometer swept past the numbers, as we were sucked back into the front seat: 60, 70, 80, 90. We were giggling, shrieking, cursing. Two teenage boys, being naughty and brave in a rocket to the stars. We reached 120 miles per hour!
Ralph took his foot off the accelerator and we coasted down to normal speed. He pulled over and parked. “Wow!” he said.
“I know. I’ve dreamed of something like this. That was the best, man.”
It was a black night with no highway lights. Neither of us were frightened.
“Want to do it again?” he said.
No cars on the highway. Ralph pulled onto the road, headed back to town. Once again, he slammed his foot to the floor. The Chevy responded with a roar, hurtling us like a rocket back down the road. And there it was, 120 on the speedometer! We looked at each other in disbelief and excitement. It was then I saw it. A second passed before I yelled, “Curve!”
Back then, power brakes and steering were new and very sensitive. Plus, Ralph was not a skilled driver…at all. The last thing I remember was him hitting the brake pedal sending me into the metal cowling around the windshield. I was knocked out.
Just like in a movie, the next thing I remember is waking in the hospital bed the following morning as the nurse appeared.
“You are one lucky young man,” she said.
“What happened? I just remember hitting the windshield cowling.”
“The car spun out of control and then flipped over and over, coming to rest on the side of the road, throwing you out onto the highway in the process. You should have been killed my friend. A car full of boys came around that curve shortly after the wreck and they said you were sitting on the highway in the middle of car parts and pieces. They said you were conscious and talked with them but what you said made little sense. Three of the boys stayed with you while the other drove to the nearest place to call the ambulance.”
I laid in my bed, thinking of what happened. Considering my good fortune. And then it hit me; There must be someone who decides if you live or die; someone in charge of such things because I should be either dead or crippled for life. There must be a God!
My Senior Year
Without going into details, my senior year ended with a disappointing whimper as I watched my classmates graduate from High School. As is often the case there were rollercoaster highs and lows during that year.
I had a serious girlfriend whose name was Betty. Her twin was Barbara. Her parents were Christians and had a rule about dating their daughters. You must attend at least one service a week at their church. I found that Sunday evening was the least intrusive for me and satisfied her Dad. I was not a Christian.
One night as the service drew to a close, the pastor asked for heads bowed and eyes closed as he began the prayer time. This time he said, “If you need prayer, please raise your hand.” I recall that moment quite well. I was thinking about where Betty and I would get a hamburger and maybe a kiss or two. Just then my hand raised to the sky! In shock I turned my head and looked at my hand as if to say, “What did you do?” It was the strangest thing. And shocking. I shall never forget that moment.
Later, Betty kicked me to the curb and I went into depression, skipped a lot of school and my grades plummeted (throughout all my school years I was an A and B student—until the final part of my senior year. Finally the Dean of Boys arranged an appointment with my mother and I. He told her I would not graduate unless something changed on my part. I had no idea why I was so troubled and I really didn’t care. It turned out that I was one credit short of graduating so the Dean arranged for me to arrive early three days per week to set up the audio/visual cart for the first class. My mother was relieved and the dean was happy. I showed up twice and then refused to come again. The Dean talked with me one last time but saw it was hopeless. I didn’t graduate and didn’t care.
After graduation I just hung out with friends, slept in and goofed off. My mother and I lived together. One morning as she was on her way to work, she knocked on my door and stepped in. I was in bed.
“I think three weeks is long enough, don’t you?”
“What?” I said.
“You’ve been taking it easy for three weeks and now you have to get a job. You have one week to get a job or else move out!”
I knew she was serious. I just stared at her.
“Have a good day and I’ll see you later.”
I had a job in three days. It wasn’t a great one but it was a job.
And that was it. He leaped off the couch, headed for the bookshelf and took his Bible to the dining room table. And there he sat until he was washed from head to toe with God’s never-failing promises and words of encouragement. And some of them that spoke to his heart were as follows:
- Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
- Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. Philippians 4:6-8
- And my God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory, in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
- Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. . .If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God who gives to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him. James 1:2-5
- Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
- Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light. Matthew 11:28-30
- For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but He has given us a spirit of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7
- Finally, build up your strength in union with the Lord, and by means of His mighty power. Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will stand up against the devil’s evil tricks. For we are not fighting against human beings, but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. So take up God’s armor now! Ephesians 6:10-13
- Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. Hebrews 13:5
By then, his mind was beginning to recall scriptures and stories of God stepping into peoples lives, fighting battles for them, performing miraculous deeds, beyond human understanding or explanation. Tears began to fill his eyes and course down his cheeks, dripping off his jaw line, raining onto the table and Bible pages.
“Oh Lord, forgive me for doubting you again. I know you brought us to Oregon but when I saw what seemed to be failure, I believed what I saw instead of your many promises and words of encouragement. Thank you dear God for whatever the future brings. Whether we stay or get evicted we will praise Your name forever.”