I've recently been re-reading Christ the Healer by F. F. Bosworth (the second time through in the last three months)—an excellent book on healing. Bosworth continuously raises the question, is physical healing part of Christ's redemptive work on the cross? His conclusion is, yes, Christ died to redeem us physically as well as spiritually. We can experience healing from sickness and disease as well as forgiveness of sin.
Since putting into practice some of the principles he describes, a painful knee condition I've been dealing with for several months has just about disappeared. (You may say, "Well it would have gotten better anyway!" but it was noticeable how often when I chose to believe God's Word, the pain went away.)
So I've been exploring the topic.
One of the chief passages about what Jesus accomplished through his finished work on the cross comes in Isaiah 53.
"He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
"Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed" (Isaiah 53:3-5, NASB).
The words, griefs and sorrows, which come twice here, are the Hebrew words choli and yagon. According to Strong's Hebrew Concordance, choli is translated as "grief" three times, but words like "disease," "illness" and "sickness" twenty-two times. Yagon is translated as "sorrow" four times, but words like "pain" twelve times.
So it seems that "A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief might be equally well (or better) translated, "A man of pain and acquainted with sickness," and "Surely our griefs he bore and our sorrows he carried," as "Surely our sickness he bore and our pain he carried."
That's how Matthew interpreted it too.
"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. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: 'He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases" (Matt. 8:16-17).
Makes you think!
Adapted from Felicity Dale's blog, Kingdom Women. Felicity Dale is an author and an advocate for women in the church. She trains people to start simple, organic house churches around the world.