Isaiah 53, especially verses 4-6, is the foundation of my understanding of healing.
Isaiah prophetically describes the torture and crucifixion Jesus would go through for our forgiveness and healing. This passage speaks about emotional restoration (v. 4, for our griefs and sorrows), spiritual restoration (v. 5, for our transgressions and iniquities), and physical restoration (v. 5, for our healing); ultimately, His purpose in all this restoration is to draw lost sheep back to Himself (v. 6).
Some claim that Isaiah 53 is only speaking about spiritual healing. However, in Matthew 8:14-17, Jesus physically heals Peter’s mother-in-law, who was sick in bed with a fever. He also casts out demons and heals all those who are ill. Matthew, inspired by the Holy Spirit, states these physical healings and deliverances were to fulfill what was prophesied in Isaiah 53 (Matt. 8:17).
In 1 Peter 2:21-25, Peter summarizes the teachings of Isaiah 53 for New Testament believers. 1 Peter 2:22 seems to reference Isaiah 53:9, and 1 Peter 2:25 parallels Isaiah 53:6. Peter, under the Spirit’s inspiration, explains that Jesus’ work on the cross heals us from sin and all its effects in our lives (1 Pet. 2:24). When we return to the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls there is true wholeness available for every area of life (physical, emotional, and spiritual).
The “I AM” statements of the LORD reveal to us aspects of His nature and His character, who He is and what we can trust Him to do. In Exodus 15:26, He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer.” This promise was given to the nation of Israel. However, we learn the principle that the LORD is Healer for His people. He says that part of His nature and character is to heal from physical disease. As believers in Jesus, we see from His ministry and the teachings of the New Testament that our Messiah, who is God in the flesh, is still “the LORD who heals” us.
We know from Isaiah 53 that healing is available to all and from Exodus 15 that it’s part of the LORD’s character to heal us. But do we know that He wants to heal everyone always?
1 Timothy 2:3-4 and 2 Peter 3:9 explain that God wants all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, not wanting any to perish but to come to repentance. But what is salvation? According to Isaiah 53, the salvation that Jesus paid for on the cross is needed because of our turning away from the LORD, our breaking of His Law, our sin. Salvation is from sin and all its effects in this broken world. Salvation is restoration to wholeness: spiritual, emotional, and physical.
And yet, many of us can point to an experience of on-going brokenness in our lives or to a seemingly unanswered prayer. This may be part of the tension we feel in this world between the “already” and the “not yet” aspects of Christ’s kingdom, which is here and coming (Matthew 12:28, Luke 17:21, John 18:36).
In Romans 8:18-25, the Holy Spirit says through Paul that all creation groans to be set free from the effects of sin on this world (v. 22). One day, Jesus will restore all creation when He sets up His Kingdom on earth with His throne in Jerusalem (Isaiah 25:6-8; Revelation 21:1-5). Until that day, followers of Jesus are commanded to preach His good news and teach others to obey everything that He taught (Matthew 28:19-20).
He also commanded a group of seventy-two believers in Luke 10 to heal the sick and cast out demons in His Name (vv. 1-12, 19-20). These commands were given to not just the twelve first apostles but to the seventy-two who represented all the followers of Jesus. According to Romans 8:19, the whole creation waits for the children of God to be revealed, to rise up, and to share the good news of Jesus and minister restoration (spiritual, emotional, and physical), which has been made available by our crucified and risen Savior to all who will believe.
Let’s live and pray according to His promises and leave the results in the hands of our mighty and gracious God.