This is a question on the hearts and minds of many. It is believed that Christ took on the sicknesses of the world for the healing of all. Yet many who believe on Christ are not healed and still get sick. Oftentimes they are told they need faith or need to believe God to be healed. Uh, and you think they don’t? Isn’t every man given the measure of faith? Let’s look into this more closely and see what Jesus, according to the scriptures, took those stripes for and the truth about healing yesterday and today.
Why Do We Get Sick?
There is only one answer, sin! Sin brought forth death, which is in and of itself a sickness. We die daily. And sickness speeds the arrival of death for many. Mankind causes disease by violating the natural laws of health and cleanliness. And some works of flesh spawn disease. Satan, the Devil, is not the author of sickness. We are! But he can and does use it against us. Ask Job!
Does God Want Us Healed?
That is an odd question. Of course He does! Scripture is filled with instances where God healed. And not everyone needed faith! Naaman didn’t believe (2 Kings 5:9-14). He was sent to Elisha by the King. Naaman complained about the method and was still healed! With that, we could move forward. But not just yet. We know God healed in different ways under the Old Covenant. What about the new?
And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. Matthew 10:1
Note the context here. Jesus had more than twelve disciples. Yet he only empowered the twelve that would become Apostles to heal! Why?
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Ephesians 4:12
But note that the only ones being healed are the lost, not the Priests or the devout! As usual, here’s proof.
Why Weren’t They Healed?
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:7-9
Here is Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles. He suffered from a physical condition. You would think God would have granted his prayer for healing. But He didn’t! God used Paul’s condition to show His ability to provide strength and abilities even when infirmed. Look here…
Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me. Philippians 2:25-30
Do you read anywhere in the verse above where Paul prayed for Epaphroditus to be healed? Yet Paul is an Apostle. If anyone is gifted to heal Epaphroditus, Paul is! And what was the mercy Paul spoke of? Epaphroditus didn’t die from his illness! And here…
Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities. 1 Timothy 5:23
Timothy is a disciple of Paul. Where is Timothy’s faith? And surely Paul would pray the prayer of faith over him for his healing. Nope! And Timothy didn’t just suffer with a stomach condition. He was sickly. And he had faith…
Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick. 2 Timothy 4:20
Again, Paul did not heal a fellow laborer. But why? All these opportunities to pray for and heal and all were left ill. For God’s glory? A few maybe. But the truth is, the gift of healing is not for the Church (whaaat?), but for the demonstration of the power of God to the world! Yes. A really big pill to swallow, I know. So how do we receive healing? How does anyone? Well for one, God gave our bodies the ability to heal itself! Why give us that innate ability to self-heal and then need prayer for healing all the time? He also gave us the knowledge, via the physician, to treat most infirmities. Remember, God promises to supply our EVERY need, if we but ask!!
What About The Elders?
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: James 5:14
This is NOT one of the ways to get healed! Surprised? I know, some of you are not convinced. This could only be about physical healing, right?
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16
Verse 16 reveals the intent more clearly. The prayer of the Elders here is for spiritual healing. In fact, nothing in this chapter refers to physical sickness and healing. It’s spiritual! Isn’t it funny how we tend to spiritualize natural things? But here, what seems natural could not possibly be spiritual. Uh huh…
By the Stripes of Jesus…
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. 1 Peter 2:24
“See there? Proof of healing for the Church by Jesus himself!” Yes, but not fast. Again, what kind of healing? Here Peter mentioned the popular verse from Isaiah…
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. Isaiah 53:5
The verse describes the spiritual aspects of Jesus’ sufferings. But when we come to the word healed, why does it turn natural? Oh, you best believe, for Jesus, it was very natural. In fact, everything Jesus endured for us, he endured in the natural for our spiritual deliverance. See the bold portion of 1 Peter above? That’s natural! Remember that the next time you hear someone say, “First that which is natural, then that which is spiritual.” Then His natural stripes must also apply. Natural for the spiritual. Otherwise, it would be natural for the natural. See the inconsistency in that?
A Brief Explanation of Jesus’ Scourging
We can’t be begin to imagine what our Savior endured for our sake. Just from the scourging! But let’s try. The Romans sometimes used what’s called a flagrum or flagellum. This was mainly used on those condemned to death. It was designed to strip off the flesh of it’s victims. This was accomplished by knotting bits of metal or bone to leather strands while adding weight with lead. Skin ripped open and muscle was cut to the bone. This was done to pay for our foolish ways. None of this was forced on Him. He who did nothing to deserve it, willingly endured the chastening we deserved…
Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Psalms 89:32
Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools. Proverbs 19:29
Do you think he endured this and so much more just so our bodies can be healed? No beloved. It was so our lives, our spiritual lives can be healed! Everything Jesus endured in the physical was for our spiritual. Again, “First that which is physical, then that which is spiritual.” Believe it where Christ’s suffering is concerned as well!
So How Do You Explain Healings In The Church Today?
You won’t like this answer. The truth is, most people heal naturally after prayer on their own. And for most, it would have happened anyway given time. If people are being healed during the actual prayer services, it would be consistent with scripture if they are not saved and God is attempting to draw them to Him. Just like Jesus did when he healed the lost. If they are saved, then God is attempting to draw someone else in the midst. But He can use other gifts for that. So please understand. The gifts of healing do operate. But again, it is for the drawing of sinners to God, as are ALL of the Gifts of the Spirit. And then, at the end of the day, if God has chosen in His sovereignty to heal, He is God Almighty. He can do whatever He wills, within the confines of His Word.