By his stripes you were healed
Hello Neil, my brother!
Yeah, I know much is made of that verse about "by His stripes you were healed". I'm not aware of other verses that refer to it, just as you were also coming up with a blank on others. You know, whenever so much is made over those single reference teachings I have to scratch my head a few times and wonder.
I'm not so sure there's anything askew with the use of the word translated "healed" in the verse since it plays so well off the contrast of "stripes". I think it is only our futile desperations that have us grasping for anything by which to support them (the desperations, that is). I have to consider the whole picture: OUR healing by HIS stripes. Now, is the actual whipping of Jesus that caused his stripes part of the reconciliation or justification or sanctification or forgiveness? I mean, what is it that is really being stated here? Can we also speculate that the splinters from the wood rubbing against his back brought about our salvation in some way? Did he cleanse our way by stubbing his toe? I think the whole picture has been missed ... and therefore misused. It is amazing to observe whole denominations of people standing so firm on this one "promise", isn't it?
Now, of course, we MAY find out something about the word that has been translated "healed" that could possibly remove the sense of "healing", but I don't necessarily see a problem with that use of the word in the verse, even though it is the only place where it is stated. The "stripes" are obviously representative of the whole death on the cross, and not specifically the whipping that made the stripes, because there is nothing specifically in being beaten that brought our salvation. But in referencing the "stripes" - a physical ripping and tearing of flesh - a diametric contrast is presented by declaring that we would be "healed" -or made whole - by it. Our natural minds have always figured that the strengthening of flesh will bring about healing, not the destruction of it. The wisdom of man cringes at such a proposition.
Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. 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. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. Isaiah 53:4-6
The whole context of this passage (as well as the rest of the chapter) doesn't really seem to revolve around our physical healing at all. The phrasings are:
Pierced through for our transgressions Crushed for our iniquities Chastened for our well-being Scourged for our healing
Then all these references to the different facets of his suffering are summed up in this: Each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him
1 Peter 2 seems to bear this out as well:
...and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; FOR by His wounds you were healed. 1 Peter 2:24
"By His wounds you were healed" is referenced by Peter himself as BEING the reality of "and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness;"
Anyhow, that's how I see it. :) You are absolutely right in your observations of the blindness of the religious mentality that claims this as a promise of physical healing. I had a short communication with a man this week who wrote to me about how his wife didn't get healed (and died a painful death) because of the deception she was steeped in, and he was so totally enmeshed in his religious thinking that he couldn't even conceive it in any alternative way. He couldn't even receive the encouragement I was sending him to not view his wife that way, but through Christ alone. All he kept coming back to was the "spiritual battle" we must engage in. So much death.
Somehow the most obvious reality is missed about this verse: For by his wounds you WERE healed. This thing has been DONE in Christ. If I have a toothache tonight (I hurt for you in this, bro, I went through it last year, and it was painful), then I either have to deny that I WAS healed or I'll have to totally reconsider what this once and for all healing really is! I might discover that the healing is the reality that I have died and now to righteousness.