Isaiah 53:4-6 – 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.
This is one of the most vividly accurate Messianic prophecies found in the Old Testament. It points so clearly to Jesus and reminds us that God is outside the bounds of our linear timeline. The Holy Spirit inspired Isaiah to describe the effects of Jesus’ death on the cross in striking details as if they were already accomplished – details that would only be understood and explained 700 years later as the apostles began to teach the gospel after Jesus’ resurrection.
Isaiah is a book of unfulfilled prophecy. So many of the later chapters describe the way the world will be after Jesus’ second coming, referring at times to both His millennial reign on earth and the final new Jerusalem that God will create to last for eternity – the Jerusalem in which God Himself will dwell with men once again.
Isaiah 65:17 – For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.
Isaiah 60:19-20 – No longer will you have the sun for light by day, nor for brightness will the moon give you light; but you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, and your God for your glory. Your sun will no longer set, nor will your moon wane; for you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, and the days of your mourning will be over.
Revelation 21:1-3 – Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
Revelation 22:5 – And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.
For our finite, human minds, events happen in succession, one after the other. We understand what it means to wait for God’s promises to be fulfilled, but in the spiritual dimension where God dwells, all the effects of redemption are already fulfilled. The promises of God – for salvation, for healing, for restoration, for glorification – are to His mind, complete. He sees the end from the beginning. In fact, He is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega.
I realize we can’t comprehend this idea fully; we can only ponder it and try to live in its reality. That’s why scriptures like Isaiah 53:4-6 are so full of meaning for us. Let’s unpack three words that describe what Jesus did for us when He came to earth, took on human flesh, died on the cross, and defeated death by taking up His life again and returning to His Father in victory.
#1 – Jesus bore our griefs.
The Hebrew word is ḥŏlî. It appears twenty-four times in the Old Testament, and 20 of those are translated as sick, sickness, or disease. Jesus took our physical ailments to the cross. He understood what it meant to live in a physical body with its limitations and infirmities. He aged as we age, growing from a baby to an adult man. He grew tired. He was hungry. He understood discomfort, having no place to lay his head. He experienced physical death – his heart stopped beating, his organs shut down, and every physical aspect of his body died.
#2 – Jesus carried our sorrows.
The Hebrew word is maḵ’ōḇ, translated as sorrow, pain, and grief. It can refer to physical pain but is also used to describe the sorrow of the soul. Jesus took our mental and emotional ailments to the cross. He experienced sorrow at the death of his friend, Lazarus. His heart was grieved at the unbelief of the people, and the doubting faith of His own disciples. He was moved with compassion for the lost. Jesus knew what it was to feel deeply, crying out on the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
#3 – Jesus bore the wounds of our sins.
Iniquities…transgressions…like sheep gone astray. These words do not describe Jesus’ actions, but our spiritual condition as sinners before a righteous God. Jesus took on our chastening. He was scourged for our sins. All our transgressions fell on Him, and He suffered the wrath of His Father against the sins of the world, removing our sin debt and providing spiritual healing – salvation.
What’s the connection?
Just as surely as we trust God that the effects of our spiritual healing are secured for all eternity, we must trust Him for our physical, mental, and emotional healing. “Because we are created by God, the solutions to all our problems are theological” (A.W. Tozer). If God can convert a sinner, He can heal our minds and hearts, delivering us not only from our sins, but our griefs and our sorrows. It wasn’t just our sins that were taken care of on the cross – it was all our infirmities: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
I realize that full and final healing of our physical bodies takes place only when we leave this unredeemed flesh behind and enter God’s presence. And we must acknowledge that God allows trials and suffering for our good and His glory, and every prayer is not answered the way we would prefer. We live in a fallen world, and many diseases and sicknesses will not be cured in our lifetime. Our bodies wear out and suffer decay. But God also has made available much knowledge about how our bodies work and what we can do to take care of the temple of His Holy Spirit to the best of our ability. And He can and does heal according to His will.
I also believe that God desires and is willing to heal us from our emotional and mental issues today, now, in this present reality, if we will trust Him, ask Him, and seek His ways. He knit us together in our mother’s womb, and He is intimately acquainted with how our minds and emotions work. Why do we turn to secular solutions for mental and emotional health, rather than addressing the underlying spiritual conditions and wrong beliefs that are the source?
What are you struggling with emotionally? What thoughts and beliefs are keeping your mind from experiencing the abundant life Jesus promised? What physical issues might you be experiencing that could be addressed with wisdom from God? If you have believed God for salvation – your spiritual healing – believe Him for healing in all areas. Surrender your mind and heart and emotions to Him. Call on the name of Jesus and He will answer you.