Seven centuries before Christ brought the world good news, the prophet Isaiah foresaw his birth (Isaiah 7:14). But he also foresaw his life in a strikingly thorough revelation. It was a profound prophecy in which he predicted the rejection of Jesus, society’s blinded view of him, and God’s will that he be killed. It even mentioned elements of how he would be crucified. It touched on his burial and resurrection, and made plain that the suffering of Jesus was for the intercession of sinners.
You can find that prophecy recorded in Isaiah 53. It only spans 12 verses, but each one is worthy of study and meditation in it’s own right. The core of Isaiah’s prophetic utterance is found in verses 4 through 6. That short passage is often used as a “go to” verse for healing — appropriating the words, “and by his wounds we are healed,” for the purpose of arguing that God has guaranteed physical healing for those who are able to employ enough personal faith. The phrase does, indeed, provide for physical healing – though it doesn’t in any way guarantee it in one’s earthly lifetime. Its greater (and obvious) thrust proclaims spiritual healing for God’s people. The passage is nested in a description of our iniquities, transgressions, and spiritual infidelity, and not our ailments. It is first and foremost for spiritual things that Christ died. And it is for these things that he suffered, and for which he makes intercession. It was for our shortcomings for which he was punished (vs. 5, and vs. 8). His suffering in that punishment spared us from punishment and gives us peace. It was God’s intention that he be smitten, crushed, and bruised.
He didn’t deserve that. We did.
It’s difficult to underestimate the power in that passage. If, as you are reading this, you recognize all of the places that you have fallen short of the mark, realize that God has forgiven you of those failings, and that he has, through his own pain and sacrifice, provided a way to remove your guilt, to make you new, to bring you peace, and to help you hit the mark (vs. 11).
On the other hand, if, as you are reading this, you recognize the deep suffering that Jesus endured on your behalf, and you have accepted that with submission to him, realize that there are tangible things that you can do to bring that healing to others. Ask yourself what you can do to impact the people around you with the love that Jesus has given you. Then do those things when God provides you an answer.