“Do you believe that healing is part of the atonement?” The “senior” person sitting opposite me waited for my answer. I replied that in Matthew 8:17 Jesus had been healing people and casting out demons and he saw that as part of His role as the Messiah. That is what Matthew wrote, Mathew 8:16, That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” Another Messianic prophecy (from Isaiah 53:4) had been fulfilled by Jesus. Healing had become available for the people of God even as forgiveness would become available through Jesus’ death on the cross as the Messiah. The ‘senior” person seemed to relax somewhat having heard the answer.
The verse has been translated in various ways. For example the English Standard Version uses the words “griefs” and “sorrows” to indicate what Jesus carried. The New Revised Standard Version has “infirmities” and “diseases” as does the New American Standard Bible. The Holman Christian Standard Bible has “sicknesses” and “pains”. What then did Jesus as the Messiah carry on our behalf? These are the words.
“Sicknesses”. (Hebrew is “choli” which is used for physical illness in the son of the widow of Zarephath, 1Kings 17:17, After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill. And his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. Another to become physically ill was King Asa of whom it is said, (2 Chronicles 16:12) Asa became diseased in his feet. His disease was severe, yet even in his disease he did not seek the LORD, but the physicians. King Ahaziah also became ill and wanted to know if he would recover from his sickness, 2 Kings 1:2. Jehoram was an evil King whom God afflicted with illness because of his sin, 2 Chron 21:18 And after all this the LORD struck him in his bowels with an incurable disease. There is also in Isaiah 1:5 the sense of pain suffered by the nation of Judah because of their rebellion, Why will you still be struck down? Why will you continue to rebel? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. It would seem from these and other verses that the Messiah would bear the physical and emotional sicknesses of the people.
“Sorrows”. (Hebrew is “makob” which refers to pain, sorrow and suffering.) It can refer to physical or mental pain. In this verse 4 it says that the Messiah would suffer the pain of the people, Isaiah 53:4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. That was because the Messiah would be rejected and would know grief as the previous verse indicates, He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Jesus as the Messiah certainly did come to know the sadness of rejection as John wrote in John 1:11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But that was nothing compared with the suffering He would experience on the cross as He the Messiah was made sin for His people. Jesus was not just simply quoting Psalm 22 when He cried out on the cross, Mark 15:34 … “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The experience of being forsaken was real as the Father’s face, as it were, turned away from Him as He was made sin for us. He alone knows the full import of human pain and rejection. That’s why He can help us in our need.
Jesus as the Messiah bore our sins , our sicknesses and our sorrows on the cross so that we might be able to receive the healing that He has made available to His people. You see, the cross was followed by His resurrection when He rose triumphant over sin, sickness, sadness, and over the powers of darkness. He released His kingdom power as He sent His Holy Spirit upon His people. His people can take hold of all the blessings which are now theirs in His “unsearchable riches” (Ephesians 3:8). Healing in all its forms, physical, emotional, spiritual, relational, deliverance, inner healing and so many other healings are now able to be appropriated by faith In Christ Who through His role as the Messiah made them available in Himself.
Jim Holbeck. Blog No.28. Posted on Monday 25th July 2011