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I awoke this morning with this Scripture: “By His scourging, we are healed.” I took this as the leading of the Spirit to teach on this. Perhaps someone out there is in need of this teaching.
Isaiah 53 is the great chapter prophesying the death of Christ on the cross. However, the passage describes more than just His actual death on the cross. It shows the entire ordeal which Christ endured and shows what He accomplished at each stage.
The passage actually begins in Isaiah 52:13, 14,
13 Behold My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted. 14 Just as many were astonished at you, My people, so His appearance was marred more than any man and His form more than the sons of men.
How was His appearance (or countenance) “marred more than any man”? Matthew 27:29 says that they put on His head “a crown of thorns.” Then they “took a reed and began to beat Him on the head” (Matthew 27:30). They also gave Him “slaps in the face” (John 19:3). Then, when they nailed Him to the tree on the Mount of Olives near the main road, the people who passed by were expected to cast stones at Him, aiming for His face.
By the time He died, “His appearance was marred more than any man,” so that we ourselves might appear in the image of God. Hence, while men were astonished at the appearance of Jesus in His crucifixion, they will also be astonished when the light of God shines in the face of the sons of God (2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:6, 7).
Isaiah 53:5 says,
5 But He was pierced through [chalal, “pierced, fatally wounded”] for our transgressions, He was crushed [daka, “broken, bruised, crushed”] for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging [khabura, “stripe, wound, blow”] we are healed.
Jesus was “pierced through” by the nails in His hands and by the spear in His side (John 19:34, 37). This was to deal with “our transgressions,” that is, our violation of the law, which is “sin” (1 John 3:4). Just as a nail or spear transgresses one’s body, so also does sin against our neighbor transgress his rights to be secure in his property. Such sin inflicts an open wound that must be healed, primarily through restitution.
He was also “crushed” or “bruised” (KJV) for our iniquities. A bruise is an inner wound that is caused by a blunt instrument. While one may see its evidence in the form of a bruise, it is not a piercing as such. Jesus was bruised for “our iniquities,” because iniquity is an inner heart condition. When Adam sinned, iniquity was passed down to us. Paul describes this in Romans 5:12 saying, “death spread to all men.” Translated properly, Paul says that death (mortality) is the hidden cause of our open sin (transgression).
Finally, Isaiah says that “by His scourging, we are healed.” Jesus was scourged (Matthew 27:26) in order to pay the full penalty for sin. Deuteronomy 25:1-3 says,
1 If there is a dispute between men and they go to court, and the judges decide their case, and they justify the righteous and condemn the wicked, 2 then it shall be if the wicked man deserves to be beaten, the judge shall then make him lie down and be beaten in his presence with the number of stripes according to his guilt. 3 He may beat him forty times but no more, so that he does not beat him with many more stripes than these and your brother is not degraded in your eyes.
Normally, the Jews beat people with a rod, especially when their sentence was less than the maximum. Five or ten stripes was inflicted with a rod. But in a maximum sentence, they used a whip with 13 tails and beat the offender three times, making a total of 39. They did this in order to avoid accidentally beating the man with more than 40 stripes.
Paul was beaten five times with “thirty-nine lashes” (2 Corinthians 11:24) and another three times “with rods” (2 Corinthians 11:25).
We are not told how many lashes Jesus received. Nonetheless, we know that He fulfilled the law in every detail. I believe that Deuteronomy 25:3 prophesied the precise number of lashes that Jesus would receive. The movie, The Passion of the Christ, however, depicted Him receiving more than 60 lashes. The screen writers did not understand how the law prophesies.
We read in Matthew 8:14-17,
14 When Jesus came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. 15 He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and waited on Him. 16 When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed, and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases.”
Matthew tells us that the Messiah’s beating, though yet future, was the basis of His power to heal the sick and, perhaps, cast out evil spirits. This is repeated in 1 Peter 2:24,
24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.
Peter makes a distinction between Jesus’ crucifixion and His beating, because each accomplished something different on our behalf.
For this reason, when we view that which Christ accomplished on the cross, we should be mindful of the fact that the cross itself did not accomplish everything. Some of the benefits were accomplished just prior to His crucifixion. First, His face was marred so that we might come into the image of Christ. Then He was beaten so that we may be healed of our infirmities and sicknesses. Finally, He was pierced by nails and a spear so that we might be healed of iniquity, that inner problem of mortality, and thereby receive life (immortality).