“By his stripes, we are healed”
What does that mean?
It simply means that by Christ’s death we are healed of the fear we inherited due to not knowing for sure that God loves us.
In life, we can agree on something that we witness together. In certain situations, we agree on things for which we weren’t even eyewitnesses by simply weighing the great possibility of such things.
Some of us might look at ourselves and conclude that if there’s a God there’s no way that he could love us either due to our sufferings or due to the many things we’ve done wrong. But then, when we look at our parents, our loving parents, we can understand that the hard times we had given them had never caused them to stop loving us. Hard times like illnesses or moments of disobedience. Even when we struggle to get what we wanted from them, our loving parents never tire to give us what we needed: food, shelter, clothing, rest.
Feeling unloved is the greatest illness our spirit can ever suffer. As kids, we never felt loved around the time of punishment. We never felt loved from our sufferings of whatever physical illnesses we may have had. Feeling unloved makes us feel not at peace.
To help us, to counter our feelings, God who so wanted to prove to us that He loves us sent Jesus to reason with us and show us how in our thoughts we’ve been so wrong about ourselves and about God. His message was simply that God loves us. He reasoned with us in the notion that God had never stopped loving and will never stop loving us. He told us that God makes it rain on everybody, meaning he provides necessities to everyone regardless of who they are or what they’ve done, simply because he loves us all equally. Yes, God provides comfort and joy and peace even for those who don’t know or even believe that He exists. Yet, for anyone to cherish what they have, they have to believe in God and God has to bring them to knowing Him.
Couples can sometimes be at odds with each other and yet struggle to show or communicate how they love each other. God had never been against us and will never have been against us. Yet, in our minds, we can entertain thoughts that seek to convince us that God is against us, the same lie that the devil proposed to Adam and Eve. So for God, to counter that lie, he doesn’t simply love us and keep it to himself. He acted by that love and thus sent Jesus to “show” us how much he cares for us.
I have been upset with my loved ones many times. Yet, when I wanted to show them that I’ve let go of whatever hard feelings I had against them or what they did, I reached out to them and sought dialogues from them. I reached out to them and played with them. I reached out to them and sought to do the normal things that we once did before I was upset against them. But I couldn’t have done any of these, had I not seen the need to do so. Had I sought satisfaction in staying upset rather than in forgiveness, we both would have remained miserable.
Even before I knew Christ, even before I knew the gospel, when I had read the Old Testament, I was always drawn by what I would call droplets of the gospel, meaning expressions that God put out to the people of Israel in communicating out to them his care for them. No, I am not a Jew by natural birth. But when I read how God expressed his care for the people of Israel, my heart tells me that I want to know that God.
With such determination, I became drawn to follow the law of Moses, at least the parts that I thought I could follow. It then became very burdensome for myself and my surroundings. I condemned by myself for failing to follow the law by equating my sufferings as punishment for not keeping up with the law. What I considered for myself, I did for others as well.
And then I met Jesus. All of a sudden, the old Testament just opened up to me with totally new meanings, things that I have never heard before. Things like, “God loves me”. Yes, me. I who am from another nation am loved by God, that’s what Jesus told me. Loved, not only by God, but by Jesus too, for he died for me too even though I am not a Jew by natural birth, Jesus died for me too.
From then on, I never felt unloved by God. From then on I knew, not just believed, but knew for sure that God loves me and has always loved me and will never stop loving me. From then on, I became healed of all my diseases like hatred, fear, anxiety, loneliness, envy.
The love of God had brought peace down to me by communicating to me in a very extreme way that He loves me. That way is Jesus. That way is the death of Jesus. That way is having my spirit resurrected with the Spirit of Jesus to hope, rest, to rejoice with Jesus with the love of God for me, the same love that God has and is to Jesus,
“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1-5)
Though many times my body aches like that of an old man, but my spirit is renewed and causes me to act young and vibrant again like an eagle.
O, how good is such news! The news that God loves me. Thank you Jesus, thank you for telling me, thank you for showing me, thank you for reminding me daily that God loves me. Amen.