By Femi Aribisala
The Lord laid the iniquity of us all on Jesus Christ. Then He said: “by His stripes, we are healed.” This is quite simply ridiculous and unfair from a human point of view. But it is the wisdom of God.
Healing with stripes
Let us understand two principles of the kingdom of God here. The first one says: God does not heal with medicine. He heals with stripes. What does this mean?
The principal thing that God heals is sin. He heals sin with the cane. He heals sin with the rod.
David understands kingdom dynamics. So, he says: “Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4). The Psalmist says: “It was good that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” (Psalm 119:71).
The word of God says furthermore: “Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.” (Proverbs 23:13). If you do not beat him with a rod, he will die. Remember this. God is only concerned about one kind of death: spiritual death. He is not particular about physical death.
God does not use medicine to heal. He uses stripes to heal. He uses suffering to heal. He uses affliction to heal.
The president told the nation that anyone who contravenes his new edict would be executed. Soon, his first-born son was falsely accused of the transgression. He was brought before the judge. Everyone knew the trial was a sham. Surely, Mr. President will not kill his son.
But his son was declared guilty and sentenced to death. Surely, Mr. President would not allow his son to be killed but would pardon him at the last minute. However, the son was brought before a firing squad and executed on national television.
After the execution, the president appeared before the nation and repeated his earlier injunction. Anyone who transgresses his edict would be killed. Do you think the people would now believe him?
Yes, they will because this president is crazy. If he did not spare his own son but had him killed for his disobedience, he would surely not spare anybody else. Therefore, by the killing of his son, we are given a healing message: God will not tolerate sin.
“For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (Hebrews 2:10).
That is kingdom dynamics. Joseph suffered that his brothers might be saved. He said to them: “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” (Genesis 50:20).
In effect, Joseph was thrown down a well, sold into slavery, thrown into prison so that his brothers might be saved from famine. If all those bad things had not happened to him, culminating in his becoming the prime minister of Egypt, his brothers would have starved to death in the famine that came later.
Therefore, understand this. God uses calamity to heal. He uses sickness to heal. He uses tsunami to heal. He uses these things to instruct, to reprove, to exhort, and to edify.
Someone else’s wounds
Second principle. The Lord is going to use the stripes of someone else to heal you. Then He is going to use your stripes to heal someone else.
“God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-6).
What do you do when your Messiah is arrested and beaten to a pulp? What do you do when your Messiah is nailed to a cross and dies? What do you do with a Saviour who cannot save himself? What do you do with a physician who cannot heal himself? If the children of your doctor were dying one by one of diseases, would you continue to trust him? Would you retain him as your family doctor?
Here is wisdom. If your doctor cannot die of your disease, you cannot be healed. Your healing is not in the drugs that he will prescribe. Your healing is going to come about because of the suffering and the death of your doctor.
The Messiah must suffer because we have no understanding of how God regards sin. He must suffer because sin is deceitful, and God needs to expose to us its deceitfulness. He must suffer because sin is pleasurable, and God needs to show us that it is deadly.
Observe the following. It was the patient who was sick, but it was the doctor who died. It was David who sinned with Bathsheba, but it was his son who died. God transferred the legal punishment for David’s sin to his child.
It was David who sinned by numbering Israel, but it was 70,000 Israelites who died. God transferred the legal punishment for David’s sin to the Israelites.
David said to God: “Was it not I who commanded the people to be numbered? I am the one who has sinned and done evil indeed; but these sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand, I pray, O LORD my God, be against me and my father’s house, but not against Your people that they should be plagued.” (1 Chronicles 21:17).
It was the driver who was drunk, but his car killed many innocent bystanders on the road. The doctor told the athlete that he has AIDS. The man said: “So what?” The doctor said: “If you have AIDS you will die.” The athlete insisted: “I have just won the gold medal at the Olympics. I feel stronger and healthier than I have ever been in my life.”
So, the doctor suggested an experiment: “Let me contract your disease.” So, the doctor entered into an exchange program with the patient. They put the doctor’s blood in the patient, and they put the patient’s blood in the doctor.
Soon the doctor was afflicted with AIDS. The patient watched the doctor suffering. He saw him growing thinner and thinner. He watched this man emaciate to the bone. He saw him in pain and agony in the prime of his life. One day he came to see him and watched him as he took his last gasp and died.
Surely, the athlete now knows that AIDS is deadly. The Messiah must suffer because by His stripes we are healed. If the Messiah does not suffer, there can be no healing.
God said: The death of the doctor was the healing of the patient:
“That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.” (Matthew 8:17).