Isaiah 53:5 states, “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 NASB translation of this verse says, “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.”  A similar verse is found in 1 Peter 2:24, which reads “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”  In both of these verses the healing that is spoken of is spiritual, not physical.  God is certainly able to heal people physically, but these verses plainly talk about healing from our iniquities or sins.

When we hear the words “stripes” or “scourging,” it makes us think of John 19:1 when “Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.”  However, this scourging occurred before the cross.  We know that Christ had to die in order for our sins to be washed away since the priests were required to “kill” (Leviticus 1:11) the “male without blemish” (Leviticus 1:10) from the flock.  Christ is “the Lamb of God, with taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), so He had to die as well.  The Lord Jesus stated the purpose of why He came to this earth in Matthew 20:28, which reads “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  We read in Philippians 2:8 that “being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”  As a result of His death on the cross, we read in Philippians 2:9, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given Him a name which is above every name.”  As horrible as the scourging was that Christ endured, it did not take away our sins.  It was His death on the cross that satisfied a holy God.

The literal phrase in Isaiah 53:5 in the original manuscripts is rightly translated “by whose bruise” instead of “with His stripes” or “by His scourging.”  W.E. Vine explains that this is “not referring to Christ’s scourging, but figurative of the stroke of divine judgment administered vicariously to Him on the cross (from the Septuagint of Isaiah 53:5, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words).  The word bruise is singular, which reminds us that “Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:28).  Christ was judged one time by a holy God and this sacrifice never needs to be repeated.  We will forever praise and worship the Lord Jesus Christ for being our substitute on the cross.  He suffered indescribable agony so that we could be spiritually healed and “redeemed…with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18, 19).  (200.4)  (DJ)