Chapter 8
The Healing Blood of Jesus

God’s justice demands that sin be punished, and sickness is part of the punishment of man’s sin. Sickness and disease are part of the curse of the broken law.

This is seen in the many Scriptures in both Testaments which show the direct relationship between sin and sickness:

They [Israel] joined themselves also unto Baal-peor [the false gods], and ate the sacrifices of the dead [committed idolatry]. Thus they provoked Him [God] to anger…and the plague brake in upon them. (Ps. 106:28-29)

Therefore also will I make thee sick in smiting thee, in making thee desolate because of thy sins. (Mic. 6:13)

…Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. (John 5:14)

Sickness is part of the punishment of man’s sin.

On the cross, Jesus shed His precious blood and satisfied God’s demands for punishment. Since God’s justice has been satisfied and sin fully punished, healing is available to those who are no longer under the curse.

Therefore many Scriptures teach the relationship between the forgiveness of sins and the healing and deliverance of the body:

…[God] forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; (Ps. 103:3)

And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity. (Is. 33:24)

I said, LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee. (Ps. 41:4)

…to make an atonement for the children of Israel: that there be no plague among the children of Israel… (Num. 8:19)

…and they shall return even to the LORD, and He shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them. (Is. 19:22)

All those whose sins have been forgiven can also receive the healing and deliverance of their bodies. Just as it is God’s will that we receive forgiveness of all our sins,

…[God] forgiveth all thine iniquities… (Ps. 103:3)

so it is God’s will that we receive healing of all our sicknesses and diseases:

…[God] healeth all thy diseases; (Ps. 103:3)

In His earthly ministry, Jesus “healed all that were sick”:

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: (Matt. 8:16)

and that is what fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy:

…[Jesus] healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. (Matt. 8:16-17)

Therefore Jesus’ work on the cross was for the purpose of healing all of the redeemed of every infirmity and disease. If we obey Him and believe Him, Jesus will make us “every whit whole” (John 7:23).

To receive this provision in our experience we must believe God’s Word which says our full redemption and healing have already been purchased at the cross. We do not need to beg and plead with God to persuade Him to do something He says He has already done! We do, however, need to be in right relationship with God and with our brethren; and we must believe the Word of God that it was all finished at Calvary, and walk in His presence and will, enduring steadfastly, being fully persuaded that what God has promised, He is also willing and able to perform.

The Balanced Faith

As we have seen, in a general sense it is God’s will to heal His children. Nevertheless, God can and does use physical infirmities to chastise His people, and to mature and perfect His people. Consequently, the Christian should aggressively fight to possess the promises of God while always submitting the ultimate outcome to His sovereign will, knowing that God’s highest purposes are not our temporal convenience and blessing, but His own glory and our eternal transformation.

Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him… (Job 13:15)

If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. (Dan. 3:17-18)

Was Jesus Sick On the Cross?

Jesus fully paid the price for all our sins when He shed His precious blood on the cross. The shed blood of Jesus has set us free from all the punishment of our sins. It is all in the blood of Jesus. Salvation, healing, deliverance, protection and provision is all in the precious blood of Jesus.

As we have said, men try to add to the blood of Jesus, and teach that His blood was not sufficient to redeem us. It is no different in the area of healing.

Since Jesus bore the punishment of our sins which, for us, included sickness and disease, therefore some have taught that Jesus must have been sick and diseased on the cross. Jesus, they say, literally bore upon Himself – in His own physical body – all the actual sicknesses and diseases of mankind! For example, one man has written:

I am convinced, every diabolical disease known to man ravaged Jesus’ body as He hung on the cross...Sickness and disease were part of the curse. He had to suffer the full curse...Jesus never suffered sickness on earth until He received every disease that affects mankind, on the cross.

To many, this teaching appears quite logical at first glance, and it apparently gains support from Isaiah 53:4 which says:

Surely He hath borne our griefs [sicknesses, Hebrew], and carried our sorrows [pains, Hebrew]…

The prophet appears to be saying that Jesus bore our literal sicknesses and pains upon His own body as He hung on the cross.

The Pure and Incorrupt Blood of Jesus

But Jesus was not sick and diseased on the cross, and that fact is evident for several reasons:

(1) The Bible teaches everywhere that Jesus’ blood redeemed us.

In whom we have redemption through His blood… (Eph. 1:7)

The shed blood of Jesus, or the death of His body, is what redeemed us. We are redeemed from the curse of the law – which includes sickness and disease – not because Jesus was sick and diseased on the cross, but because Jesus shed His precious blood on the cross. We are redeemed by the blood of Jesus. Whether or not we understand it, that is what the Bible teaches.

(2) The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus was not sick and diseased on the cross, or at any time.

In Mark 15:34, while Jesus was on the cross He “cried with a loud voice” which means He did not have 183 million conditions of asthma, and 405 million lung diseases and 271 million throat cancers on the cross. He would not have had much of a voice if He did!

In Luke 23:42-43, Jesus answered the thief when he spoke to Him which means Jesus was not bearing 360 million cases of deafness in His ears on the cross.8

In John 19:25-26, Jesus saw and recognized His mother which means He was neither blind nor brain-damaged on the cross; and in John 19:27, Jesus made a logical decision when He committed His mother into John’s care, which means He wasn’t bearing all the insanity of the world upon Himself in a literal sense.

Moreover, John 19:36 observes that not a bone of His was broken, which means that if our redemption from affliction requires that Jesus actually bore that same affliction on His own body, then there is no redemption from broken bones in the Atonement and it was an incomplete and unfinished work!

Furthermore, Jesus could not possibly have borne “women’s problems” in His own body,9 and so does that mean there was no provision made in the Atonement for the healing of “women’s problems”? Again, it makes the Atonement seem rather a shoddy and imperfect work.

But the Scripture is plain:

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; (Ps. 103:2-3)

Psalm 103 teaches that God is willing to forgive all our iniquities and to heal all our diseases – including asthma, lung disease, cancer, deafness and “women’s problems.” His basis for both forgiveness and healing is the work of Christ on the cross. Therefore, while Jesus was never personally sick on the cross, yet His work on the cross did provide physical healing for the redeemed.

(3) Jesus was not sick and diseased on the cross because His blood was incorruptible:

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot: (1 Pet. 1:18-19)

and His body saw no corruption:

He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that His soul was not left in hades, neither His flesh did see corruption. (Acts 2:31, Greek)

Jesus’ body was pure and incorrupt on the cross and in the tomb. While His body was broken in death, yet Jesus’ body and blood remained pure and incorrupt – ”without blemish and without spot.”

If Jesus’ body had been full of all the cancers and leprosy of humanity eating it up, then it would have seen quite a bit of corruption during three days and nights in the tomb!

Furthermore, if Jesus had just one heart attack or brain haemorrhage, that alone would have killed Him long before the end of the six hours that He was on the cross. With all the sickness and disease of all the world literally upon Him, He could hardly have survived for a second! His body was not some “super-human” thing – it was a normal human body just like anyone’s, except His was sinless and perfect.

Man’s redemption is through the precious blood of Jesus. His blood and His body were precious and incorrupt. The sacrifice consisted not just in the blood of God, but also in the body of God, the life of which was in the blood:

Wherefore when He cometh into the world, He saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: (Heb. 10:5)

Jesus’ blood was pure and incorrupt because His body was pure and incorrupt. He was a Lamb “without blemish and without spot.”

Jesus did suffer on the cross, but to say that He suffered is very different from saying He was sick and diseased. Jesus suffered real sufferings and felt real pain. He died on a Roman cross and suffered just as much as any man would have, because He possessed a real and full humanity. He felt real pain, but not in the sense of cancers, leprosy and arthritis. He suffered real sufferings and shed His blood, but that blood was incorruptible. It was not cancerous or leprous blood, but precious and incorruptible blood.

The Meaning of Isaiah 53:4

Surely He hath borne our sicknesses, and carried our pains… (Is. 53:4, Hebrew)

The meaning of Isaiah 53:4 is that Jesus “bore away” our sicknesses and pains, and not that He bore them actually upon Himself.

The effect of His death was to release us from all the punishment that was due us for our sins. When Jesus shed His precious blood He paid the full price for all our sins, and therefore released us from the obligation to pay that price ourselves. He has released us from the curse of the law. Thus, Jesus has borne away our sicknesses and pains. He has taken them away. Jesus bore them away by offering His perfect life as a sacrifice on our behalf to His Father. Isaiah 53:4 teaches the effect of His sufferings and death.

That this is the intended meaning of Isaiah 53:4 is evident from the way the verse is applied in Matthew 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 Isaiah the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.

On the basis of His future work on the cross, Jesus healed all the sick (i.e., He “took away” their infirmities) to fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy: that He would “take away” our sicknesses and pains. He did not actually bear the people’s sicknesses upon Himself, but He did take them away – in healing the people and setting them free from demons – and in this way He fulfilled the words of the prophet.

The Meaning of Isaiah 53:10

Now let us look at another verse in Isaiah chapter 53 that has been misunderstood.

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief… (Is. 53:10)

The last part of this verse could be translated, “to make Him sick,” and this verse has also been used to suggest that Jesus was sick and diseased on the cross.

However, the Hebrew word used here also means to be worn down in strength (Jud. 16:7), to be wounded (1 Kings 22:34), to be pained (Prov. 23:35), or to be made weak (Is. 14:10), as well as to be sick (2 Chron. 32:24). So Isaiah is prophesying that the Messiah would be reduced to weakness and suffering, and the death of the cross. Paul referred to this in 2 Corinthians 13:

For though He was crucified through weakness, yet He liveth by the power of God… (2 Cor. 13:4)

We are healed, not because Jesus was sick and diseased on the cross, but because He shed His precious blood. Our healing is in His blood.

“By Whose Stripes Ye Were Healed”

Our healing is in the precious blood of Jesus. “But,” someone says, “what about the verse that says ‘with His stripes we are healed’?”

…and with His stripes we are healed. (Is. 53:5)

Are we healed by Jesus’ stripes or by His blood?

To answer that question we must ask another question: If Jesus had not shed His blood and died, but yet was whipped, would we be healed? The answer is: No! We are saved, healed and delivered by Jesus’ blood. We are saved, healed and delivered by His substitutionary death. Our healing is in Jesus’ blood.

Why then did Isaiah prophesy that by Jesus’ “stripes” we are healed? The answer is quite simple. Isaiah, looking down through history by the spirit of prophecy, saw the sufferings and death of the righteous Messiah in a single image, and he drew from that image individual aspects and parts (e.g., the stripes on Jesus’ back)18 to prophesy about the whole picture. The Messiah was a righteous Man and deserved no punishment, and yet He was being punished. His sufferings, however, were for us (Is. 53:4-6). He was punished that we might be delivered from punishment and thus healed.

Isaiah’s point is not that we are healed by His stripes, but that we are healed by His stripes. In other words, it is through Jesus’ vicarious sufferings and death that we are healed, saved and redeemed. It is as simple as that!

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. (Is. 53:5)

In this verse, Jesus’ “stripes” are in parallel with His “wounding,” His “bruising” and His “chastisement” or punishment, and our “healing” is in parallel with our “peace” with God. Isaiah is not referring to some mystical relationship between Jesus’ stripes and our healing as such, but he is simply prophesying about Jesus’ vicarious sufferings and death, and our consequent redemption from the curse of the law.

Stripes, or whippings, are punishment. The innocent aren’t whipped. Sinners are whipped. We deserved to be punished for our sins, but Jesus bore our punishment and thus set us free from the obligation of having to bear our punishment. That’s what God is saying. The righteous Son of God suffers and dies, not for Himself, but for us. That’s what Isaiah is saying, and Peter quotes Isaiah and applies it to Jesus who fulfilled it.19

39 Stripes?

There is another common teaching that we need to deal with, for the purpose of clarification as to the true nature of the Atonement. Some have taught that there are 39 major groups or families of sickness and disease in the world. They go on to say that Jesus was whipped 39 times, and they draw a mystical relationship between His 39 stripes and the 39 groups of disease. In some mystical way, through the whippings which Jesus endured, the sicknesses and diseases of the whole human race are said to have literally come upon Him and been borne by Him in His own body.

While this error is not as deadly as other ones regarding the cross (e.g., the error of spiritual death), yet it has still served to muddy the whole nature of the Atonement in the minds of many Christians, and for that reason it is addressed here.

Firstly, the error of this idea is reflected in the fact that there is not a single word in the Bible that remotely suggests it. So even if one could find a doctor or scientist somewhere who believed there are 39 major families of sicknesses in the world, one would then be faced with the greater problem of finding the verse in the Bible where God says it!

Furthermore, it may surprise many to hear that the Bible never says Jesus was whipped 39 times! In several places it is said He was “scourged” or whipped,20 but nowhere does it say how many times.

Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. (2 Cor. 11:24)

Second Corinthians 11:24 does say that Paul was whipped with 39 lashes (no less than five times!), but he was whipped by the Jews. The Mosaic law limited the Jews to a maximum of forty lashes to retain the dignity of the human offender, with the number of strokes no doubt being proportioned to the offence. By the time of Paul, the Pharisees, with their emphasis on strict adherence to the law, would limit their lashes to 39, so if there was a miscount they would not break the law. Therefore Paul, a maximum offender in the eyes of the Jews, received the maximum of 39 stripes five times from them.

Jesus, however, was whipped by the Romans, and the Romans had no such limitations. Often the Roman soldiers would scourge their victim until they killed him. Out of disgust or anger, the Romans could totally ignore the Jewish limitation, and some scholars believe they probably did so in the case of Jesus.23 One scholar wrote of the scourging of Jesus:

The scourging of Jesus was of the severest [nature]; for the soldiers...only too gladly vented on any Jew the grudge they bore the nation, and they would, doubtless, try if they could not force out the confession which His silence had denied to the governor. Besides, He was to be crucified, and the harder the scourging the less life would there be left, to detain them afterwards on guard at the cross.24

In any case, the Bible nowhere says exactly how many times Jesus was scourged. There is no mystical relationship between Jesus’ scourging and our healing. Our healing, as well as our complete salvation – spirit, soul, mind and body – is all in His precious blood.

It’s All in the Blood!

Our redemption is all in the precious blood of Jesus. The devil tries to add to the blood, and he tries to confuse and pervert the doctrine of the Atonement. Don’t add to the blood. It’s all in the precious blood of Jesus!

Jesus never died spiritually on the cross.
He died physically.
He shed His Blood,
and His Precious Blood redeemed us.

Jesus was never sick and diseased on the cross.
He shed His Blood,
and His Precious Blood redeemed us.

Jesus never went to hell to suffer for us there.
He shed His Blood,
and His Precious Blood redeemed us.

Jesus was never abandoned by His Father.
He shed His Blood,
and His Precious Blood redeemed us.

Our redemption is all in the Blood,
the Precious Blood of Jesus,
the Precious Blood of God.


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