Having gone to bed several hours ago with every hope of a good sleep, I finally got up again because my mind would not let go of the words, “By His stripes we are healed . . . by His stripes we are healed . . . by His stripes we are healed!” So here I am at two in the morning, looking to the Scriptures to reflect on the stripes that brought us healing with the hope of also finding sleep!
I am always grateful when I find passages that mesh together in the Old and New Testaments:
“But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5, English Standard Version
“The burden of our sins He Himself carried in His own body to the Cross and bore it there, so that we, having died so far as our sins are concerned, may live righteous lives. By His wounds (also stripes) yours have been healed.” I Peter 2:24, Weymouth New Testament
Looking at close to twenty different translations I found that “stripes” and “wounds” are used interchangeably by translators of both passages to communicate the physical sacrifice made on our behalf by God’s Son. For me the word “stripes” in this context communicates a gritty aspect that “wounds” lacks. “Stripes” compels me to actually look into the bloody flesh so cruelly laid open and to imagine the stinging, searing pain Jesus experienced that day. I think to myself, “But He was totally innocent.” I am then ashamed at its awful necessity.
Going further, I reflect on the truth of what Jesus taught His disciples in those last hours before His arrest: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) It is commendable when we put into practice what we teach; but little did they know that He was about to lay down His life for them and for all who would follow Him. I am struck by the daunting cost of friendship as I reflect one more time: “Greater love has no one than this . . . by His stripes we are healed.”
As morning dawns, shame departs and a glistening HOPE appears. My heart can barely contain the JOY within as I remember the words to a forgotten hymn . . . “My God how great thou art!” Exhausted but grateful I then pray, “Thank You Jesus!”
All to His Glory!