“By His wounds you are healed!” 1 Peter 1:24
Partial quotes and quoting out of context are popular among Christians who wish something to be true. In this case, I am talking about a verse found in Isaiah 53 and 1 Peter 2. In the King James Version it reads, “…and with His stripes we are healed.” This verse is misquoted to imply that the horrible beating and subsequent death of Christ has brought physical healing to all believers. I’ve heard it used in prayers for sick and lame people many, many times. There is, however, a problem with using that verse to call upon God for healing. It does not mean that the death of our Lord guarantees healing. Why would it?
Jesus’ death on the cross gave Him the absolute right to become a sacrifice for our sins, not bring healing to our bodies. His death, burial and resurrection brings eternal healing and total future absence of tears, pain, sorrow and suffering. Future!
Revelation 21:4 says, regarding our eternal destination in the City of God, the New Jerusalem; “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Then there’s another problem with using this verse as assurance of God’s desire to physically heal all who call upon the name of Christ…it doesn’t always bring the desired result! How many times have you prayed for healing, using this verse and nothing happened? How many times have you been in meetings where many were prayed over using this verse and nothing happened? I know I have.
God can and does heal people but not because of Christ’s wounds. If He chooses to heal someone, it is His choice and will, not because someone misused a verse in the Bible. I know because I have witnessed two such healings in my life and neither called upon that verse as assurance.
A very well-known example of not being healed is Joni Erickson Tada (Joni Eareckson Tada is an evangelical Christian, author, radio host, quadriplegic, and founder of Joni and Friends, an organization “accelerating Christian ministry in the disability community.). When she was 19 (and she was a Christian) she broke her neck while diving from the high board. There have been thousands of prayers sent up to God imploring Him to touch and heal Joni. All to no avail. But what about the idea that the “stripes of Jesus brings healing?” Perhaps that is not what the verse from Isaiah 53 and repeated in 1 Peter 2 means.
Jesus suffered and died for the forgiveness of the sins of the world, not for physical healing. Look at the lives of His apostles. They were scorned, mocked, beaten, tortured, jailed and killed! Surely they could have called upon the stripes of Jesus to heal them. While He was alive, our Lord healed hundreds, perhaps thousands of people and raised some from the dead. Not by His future stripes but by the will of God.
Go back to 1 Peter 1:20-25 and see what he is saying about suffering for Christ. Human life is temporary. Pain and suffering are not uncommon expectations for Christians in many parts of the world. Surely we must see that God did not send His only Son to be tortured and painfully killed by crucifixion so we could claim his suffering and pain will guarantee physical healing to everyone living today.
“By His stripes we are healed” is referring to forgiveness of sin, the gift of new life. Eternal life is where we will have perfect pain-free bodies.