“He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
Through God’s anointing and the use of modern-day technology, we have been able to experience the fulfillment of this verse almost as if we were right there. Images of the beating, images of the crown of thorns, images of the nails…selah. These images have been burned into my mind and change me every time I ponder the Cross of Christ. I am undone over and over again that Divine Love offered His life for our transgressions and became the source of our salvation and healing.
Yet this year, as I looked at the Hebrew letters of light within this verse, I saw something even more. I saw the friendship of God within the stripes on Jesus’ back. Let me explain.
In Hebrew, the word translated as “stripes” here is chabbuwrah (pronounced chab-bu-ra; Strong’s #2250). As you would expect, chabbuwrah speaks of the wounds or marks that are left on the skin. However, the root of the word means something very different.
Chabbuwrah comes from the root word chabar (pronounced cha-var; Strong’s #2266). Chabar means: to unite, join, bind together, have fellowship with, to make an ally of. In Modern Hebrew, it is translated simply as friend. You may have heard this word used before if you are familiar with the popular Israeli folk song, “Shalom Chaverim.” Chaverim is the plural form of the root word we are studying meaning “friend.”
Shalom Chaverim, shalom chaverim,
Shalom my friends, shalom my friends,
Till we meet again, till we meet again
You see, beloved, it’s not only because of the wounds that were on His back that we are healed…it’s because of His friendship, too. The Lord that healeth thee is thy Friend!
Laughter is good medicine…oh, but a true friend…that’s priceless! A friend will love you on your good days, your bad days, he/she will love you at all times (Proverbs 17:17). These friends will stick closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). Even as good as that is, human relationships are imperfect and will fail us at times. However, as we have just learned, we have a Friend who has laid His life down for us and His love never fails. This Divine friendship will bring a supernatural healing.
What Is This Healing?
But what exactly is this healing? Being healed can take on a multitude of meanings in our text. Throughout Scripture, sinners are often seen as crushed, broken, and bruised because of the weight of their transgressions. Thus the removal of this burden is seen as a Divine act of healing. This seems to fit with the words Isaiah is using: transgressions, iniquities, chastisement. However, it’s very hard to hear the word “healing” and not think of the physical healing that is desperately needed by many the very same physical healing Jesus was so willing to give while He walked on this earth.
But there is still another realm of healing that I believe is offered within the healing of God’s friendship…emotional healing. In Hebrew, the word for “heal” is rapha’ (pronounced ra-fa; Strong’s #7495). Rapha’ means: to heal, to make healthful, to sew together, to mend, or repair. It is used throughout Scripture to speak of healing people, land, and even water when it was bitter and hurtful (see 2 Kings 2:22). Yet rapha’ is also used to speak of personal distress and comforting those with a broken heart: “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).
Think about that for a moment: The wounds that ripped our Lord’s back to shreds sew our brokenness back together. Literally, by His stripes, healing comes to us. That’s how it is written in Hebrew “to us.”
Even though I am writing this, it is hard for me to fully comprehend what Scripture reveals here. Through His friendship we are comforted and healed, body, soul and spirit. Not just our disease, although that would have been enough, the Lord heals all the areas where we are distressed, discouraged, disenchanted and disheartened. All these things are dis-ease and our shalom/peace is a provision of salvation that was brought about by this healing friendship of God. It’s all included in our salvation. Hallelujah!
I firmly believe that the peace that surpasses understanding and has the power to guard our heart is a type of healing that no medicine can ever bring to the human soul only friendship with God can. I don’t mean to minimize the personal things that affect us all, however, it is written that the chastisement for our peace/shalom was upon Him. His is yoke is easy, His burden is light. As we continually look at the Cross and take His yoke upon ourselves, we can receive rest for our souls.
Complete, Sound, Safe, Content and at Peace
In closing, let’s take a look again at the lyrics of Shalom Chaverim. Shalom means: completeness, soundness, safety, contentment, and peace. As you read this song, imagine the Lord Jesus singing it to you. You are His friend and through His friendship you are healed, body, soul and spirit.
We WILL meet Him again, chaverim! One day every tear will be wiped away. But until that day, divine healing and peace are reaching out to us in the form of friendship with God. Rest in His embrace.
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” John 15:13. Amen and Amen.