“But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
This is a beautiful verse and fills us with such victory and strength when we place our faith in it’s Word. It also brings us brokenness when we find that God does not always heal us physically or our loved ones and we are left with confusion and pain along with loneliness because we find it hard to turn to a God that doesn’t appear to keep His word.
Yes. I said it. That’s what happens isn’t it? Don’t we secretly feel that way? If we are being totally truthful and frank, haven’t we heard our whole lives in church service after service while sitting on those beautiful pews, that Jesus died for our healing? Hasn’t it been said over and over and over that He died for our physical healing? Haven’t we believed that as long as we can remember? Haven’t we had it said at the alter to us as we asked for prayer? Haven’t we stood by beds in hospitals with cherished loved ones because we are faithful Christians and we BELIEVE and quoted that very verse out load and then even to God as we prayed for someone’s healing? We stood on that promise - sometimes with victory and cheering as they grew stronger and finally got to go home but sometimes only to have them pass away in a day or two or in a week or a month. And we wonder if our faith wasn’t strong enough or if we should have fasted or fasted longer. Once we’ve tried to blame ourselves we turn on God. And now we question why He isn’t healing our Aunt who has Cancer or our child who has a drug addiction or our Father who has Alzheimer’s or our pet dog that loves us no matter what and why our loved one died when we begged so hard for them to stay and we wonder why God chooses to heal some but not others and we question how this verse- Isaiah 53:5 - can be true, though we know it must be true, because our faith tells us the Bible is true. Now we feel confused and hurt and betrayed.
We can’t stop wondering why our baby died or our child passed on or why that car wreck took our best friend or why our spouse passed on or left us for another person, which feels like death. These things need healing but God doesn’t appear to be healing them on the surface and sometimes not at all and we are physically sick and broken from the pain and hurt. We feel alone because brokenness leads to being alone. We can’t describe it to anyone but the loneliness eats away at us. We Isolate ourselves so stop feeling the pain. We don’t have the energy to go through the motions and we just don’t want to. We slow down. The spin that was our life slows down to a manageable pace and we stop moving so much because we can barely breath. The isolation creates a gap and the gap can’t be crossed to reach the one that loves you. These things can be in the physical or the spiritual and so we are doubly alone and broken and hurt. Our insides scream for healing just like our physical bodies but God seems to have let us down. His word doesn’t even appear to be true or He would have healed them, or healed us. We would be cheering instead of sobbing if that verse was right.
We see it in relationships all around us, in marriages and between siblings; brothers that won’t speak to brothers or sisters that won’t speak to sisters. We see it between children and parents and nieces and uncles or aunts and nephews. Brokenness that needs healing. Maybe we take some responsibility in it all but maybe we don’t. Maybe we see clearly what the other people should have done or what we should have done but maybe we don’t. Someone holds on to something though and the healing never comes.
In the end, it’s all laid at God’s feet because we know that He’s the ultimate power and He’s in control despite free will and we want some answers and we need it to be done with. We want to know why this verse says He paid for our healing when He won’t heal us every time. We demand to have an answer because when a relationship breaks and someone dies or leaves, it creates an empty hole and we don’t know how to fill it. We need a healing. A physical healing. Our spirits may be broken as well but we feel the pain in our body, in our bad thoughts or moods, in our blood pressure or our bad dreams or our lack of motivation to do anything or in the way we cry at the drop of a hat or how we can’t make ourselves go to church because we can’t stand for anyone to look at us or to see our brokenness or how we’ve become destructive to ourselves without even trying to or how it comes out in anger or rage even though we can’t stand to be that way. However, it shows physically we need to be physically healed from the pain and the loneliness because it’s in our brain that we can’t trust God even though we go through the motions and say that we can trust Him because we know what is true even though we can’t fit those puzzle pieces together anymore. We just can’t figure out how to be healed when we feel broken and these words in verse 5 of Isaiah 53 don’t seem to be rock solid anymore. When we can’t stand on God’s Word, because it appears that it’s not true, we have a broken relationship with God even though we don’t want to admit it even to ourselves and for sure not to anyone else because we are Believers and we know His Holy Bible is the Word. So now what? We need a healing. A physical healing that will lead to Spiritual healing or a Spiritual healing that will lead to a physical healing if God doesn’t take us home first. But a true healing.
Let’s take a moment to heal that broken trust in a few of you and help close that gap and restore that solid rock that we felt turning to sand. God’s Word is true. Don’t distort it and don’t take everything we read or hear as fact. Even now, check this with the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to let you know the truth. Take time to pray over this and ask God to reveal to you what He wants you take from this. Get out your bible and check the verses. Challenge what is written. Never take it at face value. God’s truth is the only thing that matters, not what we’ve always believed or been taught. I am praying as I’ve written and read my own words over and over that I wouldn’t say one thing that isn’t true and that God would speak life into this message and heal some folks. I didn’t sit down to write this. On the contrary, I sat down to read my bible but this verse was on my daily planner and I happened to read it and God just lead me to start writing. I had no idea what was going to pour out of me. The thoughts developed as I wrote. I believe them to be accurate though and I see now where God is leading me. So many folks have been let down by this verse, Isaiah 53:5. At least they think they have been let down by it and by the preaching of this verse, that we need to take a few moments to set the record straight. I want us to look at it a bit closer and a lot deeper.
“… by His wounds we are healed.” it says in the NIV versions and “… with His stripes we are healed.” In the King James. What does that mean? In black and white: every wound - every stripe from that leather whip - that He took on his physical body, every pain that lead to His being killed on the cross: the lies and insults (Mark 14:56,Mark 15:31-32), lashings and beatings and the spit more than once (Luke 22:63-65, Mark 14:65, Mark 15:15, Mark 15:19), being stripped naked and changed into the purple cloth or robe in front of everyone present and mocking Him (Luke 22:63-65, Mark 15:19-20, Luke 23:11, Luke 23:35-39) and having a crown of thorns stabbed into His head (Mark 15:17-18) and then of course, finally crucifying Him, which means to kill Him in a horrible fashion by nailing Him to a tree. (Mark 15:20, Mark 15:24, Luke 23:44-46). Yes, all of these wounds, these pains, paid for our healing, right? Our physical healing was paid for as Jesus hung on that cross. That’s what we’ve been told. That’s we’ve believed Isaiah 53:5 to say. Isn’t it? So why then aren’t we healed? Why when we pray is the answer sometimes no? Why aren’t our loved ones with us now if Jesus paid for our healing? They believed right along with us. We stood together in faith. We understood that Jesus took the pain and wounds and stripes to heal us and we stood on it. He did take the pain. History proves it, not just our Bibles, though it is historically accurate as well. Jesus took those wounds because He loved us so much He wanted to prove that God’s teachings, the thing He spoke of and spoke for God to help us, were true. He took it. He took the wounds even though He hadn’t done a thing wrong and the authorities knew it and stated that he hadn’t done anything wrong. (Luke 23:4, Luke 23:13-16, Mark 15:12-15, Luke 23:13-15, Luke 23:20-22)
BUT it’s been preached over and over and over. I’ve heard fellow Christians say this verse, Isaiah 53:5 and they actually state that it means God will heal us or them. It’s almost a demand or entitlement and many times is exactly both of these things - as if God owes us this because Jesus already paid it. Some of my deepest and most devout Brothers and Sisters believe this though they may not have thought it out so accurately and they may be outraged by my writing of this at first but stay with me.
God doesn’t owe us healing. God doesn’t owe us anything. We create a painting. We are the creator and the painting is the created. Do we owe our painting a perfect spot on our wall to hang it in the bright sunshine? Do we owe our painting, our creation, the lime light or is it ok for us to put it in the closet and wait for another season to hang it on display? We don’t owe our creation anything. We are the creator of that painting. The painting bows to us and becomes what we want it to be, not the other way around. That’s hard for prideful folks to take but it’s true. Love gives us freedom and choice with consequences but we are still created beings and still created for a reason, His reason. He owes us nothing. He gives us freely His salvation and love and grace and mercy if we want it. But He doesn’t owe us that. He doesn’t owe us healing. He doesn’t say that He does, though Christians try to say that He wrote it into our Bibles. This verse is not demanding He heal us because Jesus already paid for it and we deserve what is rightfully ours. Shock. The truth of the matter is, none of us would say it that way probably but that’s what we’re doing when we call upon this verse to demand God heal us or our loved ones. When we want to prove to Him why He needs to heal us. Yes. That’s exactly what we’re doing. And we need to stop it. There is no humility is demanding from God. There is no power in ourselves to make something happen. Our power is God Himself through the Holy Spirit Jesus Christ and demanding as we stand in our churches and in our bedrooms or in our Hospital rooms for God to do our bidding because this verse says that it’s already paid for is a crying shame and sheer pridefulness and wrong.
I still remember the first time in my life I heard someone pray at a bedside in a hospital where we were laying hands on them and asking God for healing. I was shocked by the Holy Spirit. I had never heard anyone demand anything of God through prayer until that moment. There prayer was so heart felt at first and so filled with love but the asking became a demand as my Brother in Christ prayed and Isaiah 53:5 was quoted over and over. “You said.” “You promised.” “We stand on this Word”. “We know you will heal them.” My heart broke. I could hear the demand and entitlement, the pridefulness, but that person that was praying couldn’t see it or hear it. They loved the Lord so much that they thought what they were speaking was simple faith, strong faith that they were owning in the name of the Lord. We don’t begin to know what God is going to do though unless He has revealed it to us. What appears to be good in this world may not be. Just because we love someone and don’t want them to go to God yet doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for that person. God knows what’s best. He knows how He wants the puzzle pieces to fit. Demanding that God heal them because He said He would with this verse is a sad distortion that many Christians cannot see. Having faith that God will and can is a much different heart attitude than the prideful attitude that says He should have done it or demanding that He do it when we say. Look deeper.
Then the person passes away. You prayed for them with conviction, maybe you even fasted. You knew God was going to heal them. But He didn’t. Just like when King David fasted and prayed (2 Samuel 12: 16) begging God for his baby but God didn’t heal him, instead He took him home and you have this devastating moment when God chooses to not give you what you want and leave that loved one with you and you don’t understand. You had faith that Jesus died not only for your salvation but also for your healing. You wonder why He didn’t own up to healing your spouse, your child, your Dad or Mom, your friend or neighbor that you loved with all your heart and you knew God had the power but He just didn’t choose to do what you begged. You can’t understand why because of this verse. This verse. Isaiah 53.5. You know that where your loved one is, is better. We hear all the time how selfish that it is that we want them here instead of there. I disagree though. Love wants to be close. Love wants that relationship. Love wants to feel the joy of the conversation, shared thoughts and ideas. Love wants to snuggle or hug, or high five. Loves wants to share a meal and a movie and a car ride. That’s not selfish or rotten to want to experience things continually with someone you love. That’s natural.
Before we were broken by Satan, by sin, in the Garden of Eden we were made for Eternity and we were made to be two as one. There was another one there with us through everything. The relationship was established before sin. Isn’t that interesting? A relationship with God and a relationship between a man and a woman was established and blessed before sin ever entered this world. In the Garden of Eden, before sin, no one left and no one died. That’s what we still want healed. That’s what we long for. That’s the true illness and that’s what truly needs God’s healing. We are designed for eternity, it’s natural to not want to turn loose of anyone we love and in all actuality, it’s natural to be upset that we must. We feel the imbalance and it pains us. We weren’t made for it. It’s caused by sin not by God so we feel the devastation deeply and we are crushed by death. We can own that. It’s ok to be devastated.
We are doers. All day long we fix things in our lives and in the world and we can’t fix this. We can’t do anything about it. It’s an act outside of our powers. We did all we could do in the end by praying about it and keeping the faith. We turned to our King, our Father, our Teacher, our Friend - our God. We begged Him to heal our loved ones and give them more time, for them and for us. Maybe we had the deepest faith ever - knowing with everything in us that our Lord would heal them or maybe we only had a slight hope as we turned to Him not knowing for sure but all of it was counted as faith no matter how great or how small ( Mathew 17:20) and none of it seems to have mattered because the person we loved is gone and we are left with a broken heart and a broken faith and a broken life and Isaiah 53:5 is why we had such hope that God would have to heal our loved one or ourselves, because sometimes we are the ones that are handed the devastating news and we don’t know how to heal ourselves in anyway and we are still waiting but nothing seems to be changing or getting better no matter how much we pray and plead. I challenge you to look deeper though (Hebrews 6:1-3). Look past our physical world and into the spiritual world.
Of course, God has the power to do anything He chooses and the choices He chooses are out of sheer love and goodness because He is sheer love and goodness. There is no evil in Him. There are no ulterior motives in Him. He only chooses the best things for us because He is the best thing for us, as our creator and our God He knows what is best in His perfection and power. (Deuteronomy 32:4, 2 Samuel 22:31, Joshua 4:24) Period. We don’t always agree with Him though. We’d never say that but our pain makes us feel it. Many times, we want a different outcome. We would never say that we know more than God or even let that thought cross our minds but in the end, we think our loved ones should have stayed with us. Our heart just wants them. Or we think that we shouldn’t have to go through this illness. “Why me God? Why me?” Our trust that God’s got our best is challenged in these moments even if we can’t see it or say it. Our hearts know it though.
Isaiah 53:5 says Jesus went through all of these things and by His wounds we are healed. What does this mean when it says we are healed but some of us believers are not being healed? I say believers because this promise if for those that trust the Lord. If you don’t “believe” then there is no power to heal you. You won’t except it. You won’t except the power because you don’t put any faith in it. If you except Jesus as your Savior, and faith in Jesus is the power straight from God, then you have power to be healed. So as believers, how are there some believers not being healed when others are? How is this possible when we stand on the word of God and say and know that it’s true and right? Does God show favoritism? Absolutely not. Romans 2:11 confirms this. So, let’s look a bit deeper.
God can heal us and many times He does. We see the physical evidence every time someone gets past a cold or sickness or when folks are healed from diseases. We see it when bones that were broken become whole again and strong or when someone who was blind can suddenly see. What does healing mean in this verse though? Is it only the physical healing of our bodies? These bodies that have sin in them and cannot even go to the place that we get to go because of that sin? I don’t believe so. Stay with me. Hear me out.
Is everyone around you sick? No. Not on the surface. Not everyone is sneezing, not everyone is coughing, not everyone has a cast, or a missing limb or some incurable disease. Not everyone has missing teeth or no hair or can’t speak or some rash. No. Not everyone is sick around us. So everyone doesn’t need physical healing. Only some of us need physical healing and some of can’t even get healing even though not all of us need it. So, did Jesus only die to heal some of us? God forbid. Of course not. What He did for one He did for all. So, is God speaking of something deeper here? I believe so.
Are all of us ill in a different way? Is every single one of us broken and sinful without Christ, destined to die not just in the physical but in the spiritual without faith in God’s Son Jesus Christ? Does every single one of us need to be made whole by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross? YES. Aren’t all of us dying if we don’t place our faith in Jesus alone as God’s Son and sacrifice and accept eternal life? YES. “… by His wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 Being healed in the flesh is a good thing when God chooses it but being healed in the spirit where we are instructed to worship Him and rejoice in Him is even a greater gift and so needed. We must stop making everything about the physical. These bodies are not our final resting place. They are not our home. Our home is in Heaven. (2 Corinthians 5:1) These bodies are so dirty they can’t even make the journey with us and we are given new ones. (1 Corinthians 15:50-55, 2Corinthians 5:1-10)
God placed it on my heart while reading Isaiah 53:5 that what is being spoken of here is a deeper healing, a true healing, a spiritual healing. The healing that takes sin out of us forever and closes that gap between our Father and us for eternity. That’s what we needed for healing and that’s what Jesus died to do.
Why does Jesus’ death do that? Because He proves in being willing to die that He believed His own words and teachings to be true, so deeply true that He would allow them to kill Him to prove it. Then of course we have the historical facts that prove that He rose from the dead. The eye wittiness accounts of seeing Him alive after they saw He was dead. Powerful testimony. (Mathew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20 and 21) He came back to life, which is the promise we gain by having faith in Him and by trusting God that He really did send a Savior like He said He would. That’s our perfect package of healing. Not a promise to heal this broken body full of sin that is compromised and can’t be restored without dying but a promise to heal us spiritually forever and to give us a new body, without corruption and pain and brokenness. Yes, God can heal us here if He so chooses and prayer and faith is a good, good thing and we must continue to have faith and to pray even when it comes to physical issues but don’t let this verse be a stumbling block in your faith when God chooses to take our dear loved ones home or let our illnesses continue on and on. He’s not reneging on a promise and breaking His own Word. He’s healing on a different level than our eyes can see and He’s doing what is very best for us because He loves us. He’s making our loved ones complete and leading us to completion. He’s glorifying us for Himself so we can be with Him. That’s more important than giving us our way so we can claim a bible promise that isn’t being quoted correctly and enforced accurately.
So, go on and miss your loved ones until the day you join them. Go on and cry every time your heart breaks for them. Jesus shed His fair share of tears too. (John 11:33-35, Luke 19: 41) But know that your faith is real even when God says no and it’s important to not let it waver. Your God loves you and He’s with you every moment of every day even when you don’t understand and you’re in your deepest hurt. Know that the Bible doesn’t lie. We just don’t always have the depth to understand it and sometimes we think we already have it all figured out so we aren’t open enough to grow and be shown. Be humble. Let God reteach you. And… Keep going. Keep breathing. Keep seeking. Keep reading. Keep learning. Keep praying. Keep being. Do it in your own time, in God’s time and don’t feel broken by people’s opinions or desires for you to move on. Don’t wallow for longer than you need to but wallow as long as you have to. Don’t let people determine your healing when Jesus already has. Accept that this is a learning ground and that sometimes the answer is yes and sometimes the answer is no. The moment we said yes to Jesus we were healed spiritually anyway and the moment we physically die to this world and step into the spiritual we are completed in that healing and glorified by His sacrifice and love. This is what Isaiah 53:5 is speaking of I believe. Pure, real, deep healing, not the physical that will turn to ash.
Isaiah 53:5 King James Version (KJV)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.
Isaiah 53:5 New International Version (NIV)
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We need not fear because “We” never die but become immortal if we have faith in Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:53-54) and at the moment of our physical bodies being shed, our physical death - we are completely healed. Our loved ones in faith and of course children whom He said belong to Him anyway (Ezekiel 18:4, Mathew 19:14, Mark 10:14) find total healing too upon passing from this physical world unto Him.
Preachers mean well and believe they are speaking truth – and they are, in milk form instead of meat form, if they aren’t demanding that God do their will instead of His own– but go deeper. Get to the meat of the matter and sink your teeth into some real hope. Our healing in all realms is God’s choosing but we must choose to trust Him first and foremost. Not just trusting Him to heal us in the physical but trusting Him to heal us completely with salvation and then to trust Him that what He chooses for us in the physical, even if it’s to take a loved one home or to take us home ourselves, that it’s the right thing as well no matter what.
Outrageous, right? We’ve grown up hearing this a bit different in our Sunday services. It’s ok to grow though and keep asking God to reveal Himself and His truth and His Word. Don’t let your faith be destroyed when God says “It’s time to come home,” because the healing in Isaiah 53:5 is much deeper than our physical body. Stand on that faith and be strong and full of grace and love. Know that His Word stands forever. I love you guys. He loves you more. – Shannon d. Edwards