DID JESUS DIE FOR OUR PHYSICAL INFIRMITIES
July 1, 1987 Issue
A doctrine which has become popular among several denominations is that Jesus died not only for our sins, but for our physical infirmities, and that the blood of Jesus can remedy our diseases as well as our transgressions. Recently, some in the Church have been teaching the same doctrine, so I thought it wise to investigate the subject and determine what the Bible teaches about it.
The basis for this doctrine is the famous prophecy about Jesus found in Isaiah 53. Notice vs. 5. "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." The last phrase of this verse is used to prove that Jesus died that we might be healed of our physical diseases. In fact, some pray a prayer of this sort: "Lord, you have promised that by the stripes of Jesus we are healed, and I demand that you fulfill that promise and heal me now." The attitude that we can treat God as our slave and demand that he fulfill His promises on our time schedule and in the way we think he should is in itself sacrilege. But did God even promise that we could be healed from diseases by the blood of Jesus?
Many prophecies of the Old Testament are quoted in the New Testament, and the fulfillment of the prophecy is explained. Fortunately, God saw fit to quote Isa 53:5 and give us the true fulfillment of the prophecy. He does so in I Peter 2:24. Speaking of Jesus, Peter says, "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteous ness: by whose stripes ye were healed." In alluding to Isa 53:5, Peter indicates that the intended message of the prophecy is that Jesus bore our sins on the cross. So it was our spiritual disease of sin that Jesus died for, not our physical illnesses.
But some might say that another reference to Isaiah 53 in the New Testament does refer to physical healing. They refer to Matt 8:16;17. "When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses." This is indeed a quote of Isaiah 53, but the quote is from vs. 4, which says nothing about the death of Jesus, but refers to his ministry while he was on the earth. Isa 53:4 reads as follows: "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted." The quote of this verse in Matthew 8 shows clearly that this prophecy was fulfilled during the ministry of Jesus on the earth, and was not something that would come about as a result of this death. Matt 8:16 says clearly that the healing Jesus was doing was "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias." This verse was not one which was to be continuously fulfilled under the New Covenant, but it was to be fulfilled in the life time of Jesus.
Miraculous healing was never intended to be a benefit of the cross, but only a way to confirm the Gospel message before the written word was available. Mark 16:20 shows clearly the purpose of signs. "And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming and word with signs following."
The Bible does teach that we should pray for the sick and ask God to make them well, and God can answer that prayer! But he promises no miraculous healing today, and the blood of Jesus was never intended to have any effect on physical diseases.
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