Healed - From What? Part 2
In yesterday's blog, I made the case that "a text cannot mean what it could never have meant for its original readers/hearers." To illustrate this, we compared Isaiah 53:4-5 with both 1 Peter 2:24 and Matthew 8:17. From this comparison, we were able to discover with high precision what the original hearers understood, which then informed us how we are to interpret if we're to do it correctly.
Today we're going to look again at these verses, this time zeroing in on the word grief. In doing so, I will show how we can biblically conclude that Isaiah 53:4 does mean physical sickness, but that this passage still doesn't claim it to be a part of the atonement (reconciliation). Instead, in context, it reveals that this Jesus who heals sicknesses is the one through whom atonement (reconciliation) came. So let's get started!
Isaiah says, "Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried;" Now, it's important to note that the word grief (חֳלִי) can mean malady, anxiety, calamity, disease, grief, and sickness. But how we translate it requires the whole of scripture, not just some lexicon and this is where Matthew 8:17 helps us so tremendously! Matthew describes the accounts of Jesus healing Peters' mother in law, "many who were demon-possessed" and "all who were ill" as a fulfillment of the beginning of verse four in Isaiah. Thus we can conclude that Isaiah meant sickness and disease in the way many of us think of it.
However, one thing we cannot overlook is where we are in the storyline. In Matthew 8 we are pre-cross. So if what Christ purchased on the cross is what defines atonement (reconciliation), healing (of diseases) isn't declared as something He bought in light of 1 Peter 2:24 because Peter plainly shows that healing in his context was reconciliation between God and man by the "healing" of sin. Instead, Jesus healing people physically was a fulfillment of prophecy which revealed that He was who He claimed to be; the one who would atone for the whole world. (An excellent illustration of this is Matthew 9:1-7)
Now hear me clearly, this in no way negates that God can, does and even wants to heal today. It's no different than his same desire to heal in the Old Testament of which we have plenty record. Nor does it negate that it is a gift in the Church as described in 1 Corinthians 12 and James 5:14-15. All this view asserts is that there may not be a guarantee that God will heal everyone this side of heaven and that healing wasn't a guarantee of the atonement. The power of this argument, made even stronger because our observation, confirms what we already read in scripture. (i.e., not everyone gets healed)
So does your faith in divine healing have to change because healing may not be a part of the atonement? I don't think it does. We are not settled yet so we will continue to ask questions moving forward.
Tomorrow we're going to look at the Lords Prayer and the great commission (in Mark) which constitute another argument for healing as a part of the atonement. I hope you'll join me! Please go ahead and read Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:1-13 and Mark 16:15-18.