“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.” I Peter 2:24 (KJV)
Did you catch the second to the last word in this verse? Did you notice it says “were”….as in…the past tense? The prophecy that corresponds with this New Testament verse is found in Isaiah 53:5, and it reads, “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.” This prophecy was made over 600 years before Jesus came to earth and fulfilled it. It was a foretelling of future events…that one day Jesus would come and make the supreme, ultimate sacrifice….not just for the saving of our souls, but for the healing of our physical bodies. When Peter refers back to the passage in Isaiah, the word “are” is changed to “were”. In other words, the atonement has already been made, the stripes have already been inflicted, and our healing is already take care of.
Have you ever had a particularly daunting task in front of you that you are dreading to tackle? Maybe it is something that you’ve procrastinated to do because it is so unpleasant and undesirable. Or maybe it is something that you had no idea how you would have the strength to tackle….maybe, to you, it was a complete impossibility. Then have you mentioned it to someone else, and received this reply, “I already did it. It’s done. I took care of it.” What relief! To have someone else come along and do something we were really dreading or unable to do. It is a load lifted and a burden borne when that happens.
Recently, Zachary was very sick. He had been sick all day long with vomiting and bad stomach pain. My heart had went out to him, and I had done all I knew to do to make him comfortable. I found my favorite spot to pray, and I began to pour out my soul to God. “Lord, I don’t know what else to do! What else do I need to do?” I cried. Immediately, I heard the voice of my dear Lord saying, “You don’t have to do anything. I already did it!” He brought I Peter 2:24 to my mind, and He reminded me that it is no longer a prophecy that we are looking forward to seeing fulfilled, as they did in the Old Testament. It is a prophecy already fulfilled! When Jesus came to earth, He fulfilled every Old Testament prophecy concerning His time here. Remember what He said in Matthew 5:17? “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.”
When Jesus received the horrible scourging right before His crucifixion, it involved the most cruel and inhumane suffering. Pieces of bone and metal were interwoven into the whips the Roman soldiers used to crack across His bare back, arms, chest, and yes, even His face. History bears out that He was beaten to a literal pulp during this awful ordeal. And do you know that every crack of the Roman soldier’s whip was for a purpose? Every lash in anger, every piece of flesh torn from the bleeding, mutilated, broken body of our precious Lord, every time He winced in pain and wondered how He would suffer another blow….all of that was so that you and I could be healed and made whole.
I feel so helpless to alleviate human suffering. I especially feel that sense of weakness and powerlessness when one of my closest loved ones is suffering. When I was young, I wanted to be a nurse. That changed real quickly when I was 16 and decided to work in a nursing home. I couldn’t stand to see people suffer…it just tears me up inside to watch someone hurt and not be able to do anything to help them. It is distressing to watch ANYone suffer, but when it is one closest to me, it is so much harder to endure. I’m sure we all feel that way.
So, as I was praying, wondering what else I could do, feeling so incapable, it gave me such a deep sense of peace to hear Jesus say, “You don’t have to do anything. I already did it.” And how! No one has ever suffered like Jesus did. No one ever will. Each pain that was inflicted upon Him, each throbbing welt of proof that was left upon His aching body, each and every lingering stripe….was all for our healing. He already did it. He knew it was beyond the scope of our ability, and we could never heal ourselves. So, He willingly volunteered to go through the agony, torture, torment, and pain, so He could look down upon us…not just with sympathy, but true empathy that only someone who has been there and done that can feel. His suffering made it possible for us to be healed.
I began to change my prayer that night. I began to thank Him for all He went through and suffered so we could claim His blood for the healing of our bodies, our minds, and our emotions. Remember the beautiful, old hymn, “There is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Emmanuel’s veins…” Not just for sin and uncleanness, but for the healing of our physical bodies. There is still power in that blood, my friend! “By His stripes we WERE healed”. It has already happened. He already did it. When He said, “It is finished!”, the price for our salvation….and our healing was paid....completely, in full.