This week, we are continuing our look at our spiritual identity through a series I’ve entitled “In the Mirror.” Due to the unique aspects of our recordings this week, I am teaching the following message which was aired exclusively for our online audience. So, today’s message will be entitled “I Am Healed.”
You see, we have been looking at various things that our spiritual mirror says that we are: We have seen that we are loved, we are His workmanship, we are chosen, we are holy, we are righteous, and most recently, we are free. All of these being things we see when we look into the mirror of God’s Word. But today, I want us to see that when we look into this spiritual mirror, we also see that we are HEALED.
So, let me quickly review what we’ve learned thus far: We have seen in this series where Paul said as we behold the truths of this New and Better Covenant, that we are changed into the same image from glory to glory (Second Corinthians 3:18). That means that just as Moses was physically affected when He beheld God on Mount Sinai when He gave the law to Him, we too will be affected by the glory of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. But we learned last week that it’s going to take us climbing this mount and spending time in the presence of God like Moses did, letting Him speak these truths to our hearts and revealing to us who this mirror says that we are! Hallelujah!
So, you and I have learned that when we climb that mountain and get into the presence of God, He will reveal to us that:
1.I Am Loved – This is the filter everything is to be viewed through – the filter of God’s love for us. I also made the point that since we are referred to as the Lord’s “Beloved” many times throughout the New Testament, then that means that not only are we loved by Him, but we “Be-Loved” by Him.
2.I Am His New Creation – Not only can we see that we are loved by God when we look in this mirror, but we can see that we are God’s own work of art, His masterpiece, and His new creation! This means that we are absolutely special, having His treasure placed in these earthen vessels!
3.I Am Chosen – This led us to another part of our spiritual identity—that we are chosen. We learned that in Christ Jesus we have actually been chosen, selected, and predestined. And one of our biggest takeaways is what we were chosen & predestined unto—and Paul says that is to be adopted.
4.I Am Holy – A couple of weeks ago, we delved into the truth that we are also “holy.” And we learned that being holy does not just describe some state of perfection; it can actually mean that we are special, precious and different to God. We saw one of the predominant ways that God sees us by looking at how He refers to us—and we saw that over 50 times in the Epistles of the New Testament, we are called “saints.” Now we learned that “saints” describes “holy ones,” and is the same word used to describe things like the “Holy” Scriptures, the “Holy” Spirit, and the “Holy One,” Jesus Christ Himself. We also made the point that there is a difference between our “who” and our “do.” Yes, we need to be holy in all our conduct! Yes, we ought to live holy lifestyles! But what we need to avoid is basing our holiness on our actions. We are not holy because of what we do; we are holy because of what Christ has done.
5.I Am Righteous – Then the week before last, we discovered that in Christ not only are we holy; we are also righteous. We looked at several verses in the New Testament and saw that while righteousness is certainly not anything that we can acquire on our own—for there is none righteous, no not one, and all of our righteousness is as filthy rags—there is a righteousness that we can be made strictly by the grace of God. So, we looked over at Romans chapter 3 and saw how the apostle Paul beautifully explained this, and we also saw from Second Corinthians 5:21 how God accomplished this in our lives.
6.I Am Free – And last week, we learned that Jesus Christ became for us not only righteousness, and holiness, but also redemption. And we learned that redemption described the payment of a price to purchase someone from slavery or the ransom paid to set free a slave who is in bondage. We also saw that other words that are used to describe “redemption” are “to buy back, to purchase, and to release.” So, when we combine together the various little & subtle words for “redemption,” the word-picture we get is of a slave—a slave in satan’s marketplace to where they are in his possession and under his dominion. But we also learned what the price is that was necessary to secure our redemption—the blood of Jesus. No, it was not the traditional form of currency, silver or gold, that purchased our freedom; it was the precious blood of the Lamb. So then we looked at our redemptive story from Colossians 1:12-14 and saw the full picture of our redemptive story—how we have been delivered and sent away with a complete releasing from bondage to debt (i.e. forgiveness). We looked at the similarities between the word “forgiveness” and the Year of Jubilee because to be forgiven—sent away and dismissed—was not something we had to pay for! Our debt was totally cancelled and nothing else is left to be paid! Praise God, Jesus is our Jubilee—therefore, we are free indeed! So, we looked at a few New Testament verses that teach us about our freedom and learned that we have to stand fast in it (Galatians 5:1)—meaning, we will have to fight to live in it. We also learned from John 8:30-36 that whom the Son of God sets free is really free. But we learned that Jesus was saying that the key to walking in this freedom is walking in the Word—that is, abiding and continuing in the truth of His Word. This is how we will experience true freedom and liberty. Amen and amen!
So now, as promised, I want us to move into something else that we look like in Christ: In Christ, we really are healed! So, let’s begin by looking at Isaiah chapter 53.
WHO SEES WHAT IS REVEALED IN THE MIRROR?
You know, the Book of Isaiah is a unique Book of the Bible. It contains probably more Scriptures about Christ Jesus than any other Old Testament Book. In fact, some have deemed Isaiah as the Fifth Gospel. So, I believe we have a lot of awesome truths reflected in this Prophetic Book that forecasts who we are and what we have in Christ. And chapter 53 is certainly one of the chapters that reflect this best.
Isaiah 53:1 begins by saying, “Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Notice these opening questions asked by Isaiah— “Who has believed our report?” and “to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
The “report” that he is referring to is the “news or tidings” (Literal Hebrew for the word “report”) of this new and better covenant. Therefore, this report is the gospel—the good news of our salvation.
So, the question is—who has believed the good news? And did you know that this is the big question—for this great salvation is only available to those who put faith in it. So, based on what we have been studying on these Sunday mornings, I would word this question this way: “Who has believed what they see when they look in this mirror?”
You see, it is all about us believing by faith what God has said is done and what has been made available. Faith in His grace is how everything works in the kingdom of God. So, as Jesus was well-known for saying, “The kingdom of God is like”—it is like this, by grace through faith. Amen.
So, in order for these awesome truths contained in the gospel to be appropriated to our lives, we need to believe them—faith which comes by hearing and hearing (Romans 10:17). Amen.
But it is not just about hearing and believing it; it is important that we have it revealed to us as well. That is why the second half of Isaiah 53:1 goes on to say, “And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
You see, one of the most important aspects of believing the gospel we hear is having it revealed to us. If you recall, I said a week or two ago that Peter had to have it revealed to him by God that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. That’s what Jesus said—that flesh and blood did not reveal this to Him, but His Father who is in heaven. So, I made the point that not only do we need to have revealed to us who Jesus is like this, but we also need to ask ourselves the following question—Who do we say that we are? And the truth is that “we are in Christ and we are sons of the living God!” But again, flesh and blood cannot reveal this to us! We need to get revelation of these truths by God! Amen?
And again, the way that we get revelation from heaven is by spending time in the presence of God, meditating on His Word day and night, and opening ourselves up to receiving this revelation from the Father—for the Lord promised us that when we search for these things with all our heart, we will find them. Amen.
But I want you to notice that Isaiah mentions something specific being revealed to us—the arm of the Lord. What is the arm of the Lord?
Well, when you study the Scriptures, you will find that the Lord repeatedly uses the description of His outstretched and mighty arm to show how He wrought salvation for His people. Here are some examples: Exodus 6:6, Deuteronomy 4:34, 7:19, Psalm 98:1, etc.
You see, God’s Word reveals to us the various times when God has used His power: The main references are to the creation of the universe around us. Psalm 8:3 tells us that when God created the stars and the whole universe that He only used His “fingers.” That’s a wonderful testimony to how strong and mighty God is if it only took the strength of His fingers to create the sun, moon, stars, etc. An even greater testimony describing how much He cares for us is found in Psalm 102:25 where the Word tells us that He used His “hands” to create the earth and the atmosphere around it. How does this show how much He cares for us? It is because when creating the place that we were going to live, He used more of His strength and effort to make sure that it was “good” and suitable for His creation. In the first chapter of Genesis we are told little about the creation of the universe, but we learn much about the making of the earth because He spent six days on the earth. And He took more time with the earth than He did with the heavens because earth was going to be the home of those that He would create in His own image and likeness. Up to this point we’ve learned the greatest amount of power God has ever used is the strength of His hands to create the earth for mankind, but the “exceeding greatness” of His power that He used, according to Ephesians 1:19, was the power that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead.
And as we are seeing here in the great redemptive chapter of Isaiah that describes what Jesus accomplished through His death, burial and resurrection, it was the arm of the Lord that wrought so great a salvation for us! Therefore, the exceeding greatness of God’s power used when raising Christ from the dead was His “arm!” Which again was a far greater power than the power it took to create a planet! Glory!
Needless to say, we need to have this awesome power revealed to us—for it is far greater than the natural mind can comprehend!
REGARD NOT THE FLESH
Then, in verses 2-3, the Prophet Isaiah begins to describe the Messiah by saying, “For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”
First of all, in verse 2, when we are told that Jesus would grow up before His Father like a tender plant and as a root out of dry ground, what is being described here is how Jesus would come from a relatively obscure background—out of Nazareth—and how He would even have to grow up like a man does.
Then in the rest of the second verse, we see how Jesus would not come with any “stately form” or “splendor” (i.e. form or comeliness) and that there would be nothing special about Him according to the flesh. What this means is that Jesus would not necessarily give any evidence on the outside of who He was on the inside.
And, boy, isn’t that applicable to what we are learning here today—who we are in the natural certainly does not reflect to us who we are in the spirit! That is why the apostle Paul told us what He did in Second Corinthians 5:16 when he said that we are not to regard anyone according to the flesh. Church, who we are physically is not at all a clear reflection as to who we are on the inside.
Therefore, what verse 3 goes on to say is to be expected in us: Just as He was despised and rejected by men mainly due to the fact that He did not look the part, we need to avoid disesteeming and rejecting who God has made us because we are only being carnally minded.
Then in verse 3, Isaiah describes Jesus in the following way—"a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Now as we will see when we get to verse 4, these words “sorrows” and “grief” mean more than just what they mean to us in the English language. These Hebrew words literally describe “sicknesses” and “pains.” Now this does not mean that Jesus lived a life of sickness and physical pain. No, this is referring more to Him bearing and carrying our sicknesses and pains as can be seen in verse 4.
But as He hung on that Cross—afflicted with our sin, sicknesses, etc.—mankind was said to have hid our faces from Him (i.e. to turn away in disgust and horror) all because we did not see the value He held.
But now I want us to move on to verses 4-5—because here we begin to see a beautiful description of what Jesus Christ did for us on the Cross! It is awesome!
Isaiah 53:4-5 says, “Surely, He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”
First of all, notice how these verses begin with the word “Surely.” This is a word that we see several times in the Word of God. Let’s look at few of them …
Psalm 23:6 says, “Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…” Psalms 85:9 says, “Surely, His salvation is near to those who fear Him…” In Psalm 91:3, it says, “Surely, He shall deliver you…” Psalms 112:6 says, “Surely he (the righteous) will never be shaken…”
Now some synonyms for the word “Surely” are as follows: “assuredly, certainly, definitely; doubtless, easily, hands down; inarguably, indisputably; undeniably, undoubtedly, unquestionably, unarguably; clearly, plainly, really, truly.” Therefore, when we see the word “Surely” attached to a statement in God’s Word, this means we can take it to the bank! It is a done deal!
But do you know why we, under this new and better covenant, can particularly be so confident? It is because He already has delivered us! He already has healed us! He already has blessed us! Yes, He already has poured out His goodness and mercy on us through Christ Jesus! So, as far as God’s concerned, it has already been done! Amen! SURELY, God’s grace is in our account!
Well, here in Isaiah 53:4, we are told that “Surely, He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…” So, guess what we can take the bank? That Jesus clearly, really, and surely took care of our griefs and sorrows.
Now as I alluded to earlier, in the Hebrew language, these words “griefs” and “sorrows” literally describe “sicknesses” and “pains.” In fact, in the original King James version, the word for “griefs” is translated “grief(s)” just 4 times, but it is translated “sickness or disease” 19 times. The word “sorrows,” yes, describes mental pain, but it also describes physical pain. So, it is clear that these griefs that Jesus bore and these sorrows that He carried are not just our emotional sadness and sorrows; these are our actual sicknesses and pains! Glory to God!
Now Christians love to water this down by saying that this is referring to our spiritual sicknesses and pains. But if you look at Matthew chapter 8, you will see how this exact verse from Isaiah is quoted by Matthew to refer to physical sicknesses and pains. Let’s look at it …
In Matthew 8:16-17, we are told— “When evening had come, they brought to Him (Jesus) many who were demon possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, ‘He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.’”
So here we see the healing of all who were sick on that day as a fulfillment of Isaiah 53:4. But someone will say, “See! This just means that who Jesus healed on this particular day of His ministry fulfilled those Scriptures in Isaiah 53.” No, no, no! For Isaiah chapter 53:4-5 lump the wounding and bruising for our transgressions and iniquities together with the bearing of our sicknesses, diseases and infirmities. Amen! And if we are going to take the “our” personally when Isaiah 53:5 says that He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities (I doubt any of those unbelieving believers include themselves in that group of “our”) then we also have to take the “our” personally when he says that He has borne our sicknesses and carried our pains. We cannot just pick and choose which parts of the Word we are going to believe and we are not going to believe.
So, yes, Jesus’ going about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38) was certainly a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, but it was ultimately fulfilled for you and I who were not there when He physically walked on the earth by Him taking and bearing all of our sicknesses, pains and infirmities on His body at the Cross. In fact, the word “fulfilled” is oftentimes referring to “the action that extends throughout the whole church age” (The Spirit Filled Life Bible). Therefore, now we can live in a perpetual fulfillment of Isaiah 53:4! Amen!
But my point in us looking at this passage of Scripture in Matthew 8:17 is to see that when Matthew quotes from Isaiah 53:4, he is specifically referring to the sick that Jesus healed thus verifying that the things that Jesus bore and carried were, in fact, our physical sicknesses and pains! But more specifically, it was Jesus’ healing of them all that fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy—proving to us that He has provided healing in the atonement for all and for us all! Glory to God!
Therefore, these sicknesses and pains referred to in Isaiah 53:4 are absolutely referring to our physical sicknesses and pains! Praise, God! And what we see is that they were actually “borne” and “carried” by Him on the Cross.
These verbs “borne” and “carried” describe a literal taking and carrying of these things upon Himself. For example, the word “borne” described a load of sticks being laid on a horse’s back. So, we are talking about Jesus actually becoming our beast of burden and, like the scapegoat, carrying on His back certain things. And in this case, He literally did bear on His back the stripes needed to provide my healing! Glory to Jesus, He physically took my sicknesses upon His body and carried them out of my life! Hallelujah!
Then in the second half of Isaiah 53:4 we are told— “Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.” What this is basically saying is that people would view this suffering of the Christ as Him being punished, smitten and afflicted by God for something He did wrong. But no, as Isaiah 53:5 goes on to say, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities…”
So, no, He was not being punished for His own sins and sicknesses; He was actually taking our sins and sicknesses upon Himself so that we could live healed and whole lives—both spiritually and physically.
But I want you to notice how the Lord coupled together the spiritual with the physical: In one breath, Isaiah prophesies that the Messiah would bare our sicknesses and pains, and in another, he said how He would provide for our iniquities and transgressions. Time and time again, the Lord puts our spiritual provision together with our physical provision. We see this in Psalm 103:3 which talks about two of the benefits of our salvation as the Lord forgiving all our iniquities and healing all our diseases.
Now notice what Isaiah says next in verse 5— “the chastisement for our peace was upon Him…”
By referring to our peace here, we see that Jesus was chastised not only for our spiritual and physical well-being, but for every area of our life. The word “peace” describes nothing missing and nothing broken. Therefore, Jesus made provision for us so that nothing in our lives would be missing and nothing would be broken. That means that Jesus died so that our entire lives—spiritually, physically, emotionally, and financially—would be blessed and whole!
WE ARE AND WERE HEALED
And now for that last statement in verse 5— “and by His stripes we are healed.”
Now, again, there are those who want to spiritualize this statement, saying that the healing spoken of here is spiritual healing. But I can assure you that we are not “healed” spiritually; we are made alive and new spiritually. In other words, our spiritual condition was not mended, healed, etc. No, we have been made completely new creations in Christ Jesus. So, healing would not be an appropriate term to describe what God did for our spiritual lives. No, this means exactly what it says—by Jesus’ stripes, we are healed (physically)!
Now Isaiah, in prophesying of what the Christ would do for us on the Cross, said here that we are healed because of what Jesus would do by bearing our sicknesses and carrying our pains, but we do well to see how the apostle Peter describes this in his first epistle …
In First Peter 2:24, Peter the rock says, “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” Let’s look at this verse and learn what Jesus did for us and our new spiritual identity …
Notice how Peter first said, “who Himself.” That indicates that we had nothing to do with it! He did it Himself, Hallelujah! And that is an important point for us to understand—for none of us can do anything to add to the finished work of the Cross. Jesus Himself paid the full price for our salvation to where there is nothing left to pay. Glory!
And what He Himself did for us was He bore our sins in His own body on the tree. So, just like we just saw Him bearing our sicknesses in His own body, we see that our sins were placed upon His body as well. And when did Peter say that this occurred? “On the tree.”
To some, that might be a little confusing because the Cross that Jesus hung on wasn’t a tree as we know it. However, in the mind of God, the Cross that He hung on was made out the materials of a tree. Therefore, it could correctly be said that Jesus hung “on the tree.”
This portion of First Peter 2:24 reminds me of the words of the apostle Paul in Galatians 3:13 when he said, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’)”
So, again, who is the Redeemer? Now I know that if you asked this question to a thousand Christians, you would likely get a 100% of them responding with the obvious answer—Jesus Christ. However, if you listen to them over an extended period of time and ask them pointed questions like how do we walk in our forgiveness, righteousness, healing, deliverance, & prosperity, you will get the vast majority of them telling you all the things we must do to receive these blessings. But the truth is—The Lord Jesus Christ is our Redeemer, not me and not you. Therefore, we ought to put the full weight of our faith, hope and trust in the faithful work of our King on the Cross, not in our own works and even not in our own faith. Again, Christ “Himself” bore our sins and sicknesses.
And notice again that Paul said here that Jesus Christ has “redeemed” us—not is in the process of redeeming us or will someday redeem us. No, this is something that has already been done! Christ already has redeemed us from the curse of the law! Therefore, it’s a done deal!
But notice why Paul says that Jesus’ redemptive work is a done deal: He goes on to say that it is because Christ, “having become a curse for us…” This is how Jesus Christ redeemed us—by becoming the curse in our place. In other words, He bore the penalty and punishment of the law that we deserved, so that we could get the blessing that He deserved. Now that was a good deal, my friends!
But the apostle Paul teaches us how Jesus technically became a curse for us by saying, “for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’)” … Now this is a quote from the law found in Deuteronomy 21:22-23 stating that the man who had committed a sin deserving of death was to be hung on a tree. This does not mean that the Jews necessarily put to death malefactors by “hanging,” but after having put them to death some other way, in order to brand them with the particular sin they committed, they hung their body on a tree—which showed that such malefactors were “accursed by God.”
But in hindsight, we can see that, in the wisdom of God, He foresaw what would transpire with His Only Begotten (i.e. being crucified) and, therefore, had this written in the law in order to provide the redemption from the curse that He did for us. Oh, the depth of the riches of both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out (Romans 11:33)! He alone is wise!
You see, the Bible teaches us that if the rulers of this age would have known this, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory (see First Corinthians 2:8). So, the Lord—in His infinite wisdom—made the greatest chess move the world has ever seen! This is why I believe God is able to work all things together for our good (see Romans 8:28). It is because He is just so smart and always stays miles ahead of the devil. He can take something that the devil meant to destroy us with and not only deliver us out of it but also work it together for our good in the process. Therefore, I say that God is the greatest chess player that ever lived! And what makes a good chess player? A good chess player can take the move of their opponent and beat them with their own move! And that is what God has been doing to the devil for 6000+ years! Amen!
But notice specifically what Christ has redeemed us from? Paul says that He has redeemed us from “the curse of the law.” So, if this “curse of the law” is something Christ has redeemed us from, don’t you think we need to find out what it is? Well, this “curse of the law” is thoroughly described in Deuteronomy 28:15-68, and I can assure you that it is not a pretty thing. It basically describes the worst possible things that can happen to someone. It summarized everything from poverty, physical sickness, oppression, mental illness, all the way to physical death of themselves and the affliction of their children. The curse of the law was horrible! So, I encourage you to read through these verses on your own time, but what must we remember when reading it? Jesus Christ has redeemed us from all of these things! In other words, if we find it in these verses, we know we have been redeemed from it and, therefore, the price has already been paid for us not to experience any of these curses in our lives. Amen!
So, I say all of this to say that this is why the apostle Peter added the words “on the tree.” It was the Holy Spirit reiterating to us that Jesus had to hang on a tree to legally be made the curse for us. And the curse is more than just negative spiritual things; it included every sickness and disease that was not even written in the Book of the law (Deuteronomy 28:61). Praise the Lord!
Now in First Peter 2:24, he goes on to say that the entire purpose was so “that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness…” In other words, Jesus identified with our sin & death, so that we might identify with His righteousness & life! Glory! And then Peter adds this one important thing— “by whose stripes you were healed.”
Notice that Peter doesn’t quote Isaiah exactly. Isaiah said, “by His stripes we are healed.” But Peter says, “by whose stripes you were healed.” So, Isaiah prophesying ahead of what the Christ would do for us, could say, “you are healed.” But Peter describing what Christ had already done for us could say, “you were healed.”
So, just as I believe that I already have been made righteous, holy, blessed, anointed, etc. because of what Christ did for me, we also believe that we already have been made healed, well and whole by the same redemptive work Christ did for us!
So, yes, the Cross was the moment Isaiah was referring to here and it was the point where all of our transgressions and iniquities as well as all of our sicknesses and pains were laid upon Him so that we can walk in our eternal redemption. Therefore, by His stripes we were, are, and evermore shall be healed (First Peter 2:24). Amen!
So, praise God, not only are we holy, righteous, chosen, loved, etc.; we are also healed, blessed, etc. Yes, our spiritual identity has changed, which also changes much of the way our physical life looks! Therefore, we can look in the mirror and truthfully say, “I Am Healed.” It doesn’t matter if we feel sick, if we look weak, or if we seem to be infirmed. If this Mirror says we were healed, then we are healed!