We may never fully understand the magnificent work accomplished on the cross by Jesus Christ. It is so big and so monumental it is simply amazing. I want to talk to about one aspect of this wonderful work and that is the completing healing and restoration available at the cross. God truly is Yahweh Raphe-the God who heals us.
Sickness and disease do not originate with God but entered the world with the fall of Adam and the corruption and pollution of sin that infiltrated the entire creation. Mankind became terribly marred by sin, evil, sorrow, and the countless disorders that plague the physical, emotional, mental, and behavioral components of man’s being. The entire human race groans and travails under the heavy burdens and consequences that result from sin and the Fall. These burdens include sickness, emotional illness, behavior dysfunctions, death, heartaches, loneliness, famine, bereavement, disease, loss, futility, fear, depression, hopelessness, and everything else that is contrary to God’s loving design and desire for His creation. How sorely mankind is need of a healer! Yahweh-Rapha steadfastly desires to repair these blotches on His beautiful handiwork and heal, repair, and restore His creation to its proper function and beauty. Yahweh-Rapha earnestly wants to repair men and women who are the crowning glory of His works and restore their dignity, giving them complete deliverance from the bondage of sin. This complete redemptive healing can only be accomplished through Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross and in His resurrection. Just as Moses cast the tree in the waters of Marah and made the bitter water sweet, Jesus Christ was crucified upon a tree to take away the bitter waters of sin and restore the sweet living waters of healing and restoration to all those who come to Him. The healing tree of Calvary provides redemptive healing and wholeness.
I Peter 2:24 (King James Version):
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 ye were healed.
Galatians 3:13 (NIV):
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the
law, being made a curse for us, for it is
written, “Cursed is everyone who is hung
on a tree.”
Jesus Christ paid the full and complete price for our redemption on the tree of Calvary by not only bearing our every sin, but also by bearing our sicknesses and our pains. Jesus Christ redeemed us from the bondage of the curse of the law, and part of that curse was sickness and disease. Physical, mental, and spiritual healing is an integral part of the atonement and salvation that God made available by sending His only begotten Son to a world plagued with sin, sickness, and disease. In the Greek, “to be saved” means to be made whole, and that not only includes remission and forgiveness of sins, but also includes a physical restoration and healing of the body and soul. Jesus Christ was our complete substitute on the cross, as God made Christ to be sin for us as He died in our place so we could be made free from the penalty of sin. But the cross of Christ is much more, as God also laid upon that cross every sickness, every infirmity, every disease, and every pain that has inflicted and tormented the human race since the fall of Adam. All the bitterness that infiltrated the world from the curse of the Fall was laid on the cross of Christ, and He broke the authority and power of sin, sickness, disease, and death. Jesus Christ broke the power of the curse and made life sweet again. God gave us a new nature and made us a new creation in Christ. The old ways of sin, sickness, pain, disease, and physical or mental infirmity have no more authority over the born again believer, who chooses by faith to walk in their redemptive sonship rights. The cross made available the promised blessing of salvation, and this includes the blessing of sweet healing to our mind, body, and soul.
Christ’s awesome redemptive work enables us to live in righteousness and reign as kings in life, enjoying the more than abundant and good life that God has so richly and freely given us in Christ. According to Ephesians 4:8, Jesus Christ led captivity captive, and we no longer have to be in bondage or under the oppression of anything, for we have been delivered and made free. Anything that could ever hold you in captivity or bondage, Jesus Christ triumphed over it by leading it captive to the cross he bore at Calvary. Oh, that the Christian Church might see how big their redemption is in Christ! Oh, that the Christian church might see how much was accomplished for them at Calvary. We were justified, made righteous, sanctified, made whole, given a new nature, healed, delivered, set free and glorified by our Lord’s wonderful atonement and redemption accomplished at Calvary. The power of the devil was broken and paralyzed, and he became eternally defeated against the children of the living God.
I Peter 2:24 clearly proclaims that “by his stripes we have been healed.” The word “stripes” in the Greek is a welt, wale, bruise or wound caused by blows; it is the mark left on the body by the beating with a rod or a whip or the fist; it is a lashing that draws blood. It literally means a “battle face” which is a face that looks like it has been through an extreme battle, war, or fight. In the Hebrew, it means: the mark or print of blows in the skin. Jesus Christ was subject to savage beatings by the religious leaders and the Romans over a period of time of about forty (40) hours, from the time of his arrest until the time of his death. The vicious blows on the body of Jesus Christ began during his illegal trial, when one of the officers of the temple was offended by Jesus’ remark to Annas, the high priest, and struck him with a rod (more accurate translation from the Greek). The Greek word “smitest” in John 18:23, describing this beating, means “to skin, flay or scourge.” The rod would have been a thin, flexible whip-like cane. Upon hitting the face, it would easily bend and wrap around the face, cutting the flesh.
The second record in the Gospels of the stripes that Jesus Christ bore for you is after the illegal sentence of death by the high priest, scribes, and elders. The high priest’s servants, the guards, the religious leaders and the mob began to spit on him after the mock trial, and covered his face and began to strike and beat him with their palms and with rods, mocking the Son of God. The Greek words used in the Gospel accounts indicate that they skinned, flayed, or thrashed him with their hand, fist, rod, or weapon and violently beat and pummeled him with repeated blows. This opened terrible wounds on the body and face of Jesus.
Later the Romans would brutally beat and flog Jesus beginning with the scourging ordered by Pontius Pilate. The soldiers stripped Jesus, tied him to a post, and savagely flogged him. The Romans used a scourge of cords or leather thongs to which were attached pieces of lead, brass, or small sharp pieces of bone. The whipping on the bare back would hideously gouge the flesh, literally plowing it loose from the ribs and vertebrae. In Word Studies of the Greek New Testament, Wuest expounds more on this brutal Roman scourging:
Criminals condemned to crucifixion were ordinarily
scourged before being executed. The victim was
stripped to the waist and bound in a stooping position,
with the hands behind the back, to a post or pillar.
The suffering under the lash was intense. The body
was frightfully lacerated. The Christian martyrs at
Smyrna about A.D. 155 were so torn by the scourges
that their veins were laid bare, and the inner muscles
and sinews and even the bowels were exposed. The
Greek word translated “stripes” refers to a bloody wale
trickling with blood that arises under a blow. The word
is singular, not plural. Peter remembered the body of
our Lord after the scourging, the flesh so dreadfully
mangled that the disfigured form appeared in his eyes
as one single bruise. Thus we have the portrait of the
suffering Servant of Yahweh. His blessed face so
pummeled by the hard fists of the mob that it did not
look like a human face anymore. His back lacerated
by the Roman scourge so that it was one mass of open,
raw, quivering flesh trickling with blood.
The effects of this scourging are vividly described in Psalms.
Psalm 129:3 (KJV):
The plowers plowed upon my back; they made
long their furrows.
Rows of ploughed flesh lined Jesus’ back from these beatings, as his back looked like a freshly ploughed field with deep furrows. Yet the brutal beatings and stripes that Jesus Christ bore for your healing was not done. After the death sentence by crucifixion, Pilate sent Jesus into the judgment hall, the Praetorium, with a cohort of four to six hundred Roman soldiers, who gathered to mock and torture him some more. They put on his head a crown of thorns, composed of twigs broken off from a thorny plant which grew on wasteland nearby. These thorns were long, sharp, and re-curved and were driven into his scalp causing festering wounds and profuse bleeding. They viciously flogged Jesus again as the cruel mocking and terrible scourging lasted into the night, and in the morning they dragged Jesus out of the judgment hall to be crucified.
God gave Isaiah revelation concerning this brutality of our Lord’s sacrifice for us.
Isaiah 50:6 (Holman Christian Standard Bible):
I gave my back to those who beat Me, and
My cheeks to those who tore out My beard.
I did not hide my face from scorn and spitting.
Isaiah 52:14 (NIV):
Just as there were many who were appalled at
Him-his appearance was so disfigured beyond
that of any man and his form marred beyond
New Jerusalem Bible:
As many people were aghast at him-he was so
inhumanly disfigured that he no longer looked
like a man.
All of the devilish forces of hell were unleashed upon the body of Jesus, and he was beaten so badly that it grossly disfigured his appearance beyond human likeness. You could hardly even recognize that he was a man as they ravaged his back and face with cruel scourging, and viciously pummeled his face with their fists and rods, even ripping out his beard. His body was a massive bloody mess of torn and ripped flesh that caused him extreme agony and pain. Jesus went through this unimaginable physical and mental torture to pay the price for our sins, our sicknesses, our pains, and our infirmities. At any moment during this torment and anguish, Jesus could have called 72,000 angels to stop the madness and free him from this torture (Matthew 26:53). But he chose instead to endure the cross, to endure the pain, to endure the beatings, to endure the mocking and to endure the torture because he loved you and me. When Jesus was beaten, mocked and crucified, he had you on his mind. Jesus would have gone through all the agony of the crucifixion for you, even if you would have been the only person who would ever believe and be saved. That is how special and valuable you are to our Lord.
Hebrews 12 tells us that with great joy Jesus endured the cross, because he knew he was paying the price for our complete deliverance and redemption. Jesus died in our stead; he paid the penalty for our sin and its consequences; he bore our sins, our sicknesses, our pains and our infirmities; he was savagely beaten and crucified for you so that he could justify you, make you righteous, sanctify you, and bring you into the family of God as a son and daughter. He broke the authority of sin, sickness, and disease by his sacrifice on the cross. He delivered us from the authority and power of darkness and gave us full citizenship in his kingdom. What a Savior! What a Lord! The love of Christ is so big that it is beyond human understanding that Jesus would bear the ultimate physical and mental torture and gross disfigurement of the crucifixion and die on the cross for you and me. We are made whole by the blood he shed for us and the body he allowed to be broken for us.
The prophet Isaiah further expounds on what Jesus bore on his cross and the physical, mental and spiritual healing that are part of our redemption.
Isaiah 53:3-7 (KJV):
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of
sorrows and acquainted with grief: and we hid as
it were our faces from him; he was despised, and
we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs (Hebrew choliy-sickness)
and carried our sorrows (Hebrew-makob-pains: both
physical and mental): yet we did esteem him stricken,
smitten of God and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was
bruised (Hebrew-shalowm-crushed, broken, shattered)
for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was
upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned
everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on
him the iniquity of us all.
The Word of God proclaims that Jesus bore our sicknesses and carried our pains. God emphasizes this indisputable truth by the word “surely” in verse 4, which means “truly, certainly and absolutely” and indicates its stability, faithfulness, firmness, and truth. God wanted to leave no doubt in your mind as to this firm truth that all of your sicknesses and pains were absolutely and certainly borne on the cross of Christ. The word “borne” in the Hebrew means: to lift up, to be taken away, to be carried off, to be swept away, and to move by bearing. The word “carry” in the Hebrew means: to bear a heavy load or burden. Both words do not just mean suffering, but denote an actual substitution and a complete removal of the thing borne. Jesus took upon himself every sickness, every pain, and every sin known to man, and paid the price for each one, effectively discharging their power and bondage over us. Your sicknesses, your pains, your sins and all of their consequences passed from you to Calvary and salvation, health, deliverance, and peace flowed from Calvary to you. Jesus Christ was our complete substitute for sin and its consequences, which includes sickness, disease, infirmity, depression, anxiety, weakness, oppression, and all bitterness of mind and body.
Yahweh-Rapha accomplished complete healing on the cross of Jesus Christ and reversed the destruction of the curse brought by the fall of Adam. With Jesus’ brutal stripes that ripped his body apart, we have been healed. Remember-the word healed means: to cure, to cause to live, to revive, to make healthful, to restore, to repair, to mend and to make whole. How wonderful and magnificent is this blessing of healing that is inherent in our redemption. There is awesome physical, mental, and spiritual healing in our salvation that floods our entire being with healing wholeness and restores, repairs, and mends every bitter disease of body, heart, and soul. This sweet healing causes us to live in peace and contentment, and enables us to have a living, deep, and intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father. Yahweh-Rapha wants us to live healthful, vibrant and vivacious lives on the earth. Yahweh-Rapha wants us to have absolute mental health, where our minds are renewed to the truth of his Word and our thinking is pure and unpolluted by the fears, anxieties, and worries of this age. No longer do we have to be in bondage to any depression, any thought of inadequacy, any feeling of unworthiness, any fear of doom, or any gloominess, because our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ paid the price for our mental healing and brought mighty deliverance and freedom through his redeeming work on the cross.
From Tim Rowe’s Book “The Magnificent Goodness of God and How it Will Transform Your Life.”