The stripes of Jesus provide the source of healing. We have two passages of Scripture that use the word stripes, Isaiah 53:5 and 1 Peter 2:24.
Volumes of books and tracts have exhausted our libraries, but few discuss the meaning of the "stripes" and their relationship to our healing. The application can be made after the depths of truth are known.
Although some theologians interpret Isaiah 53 in only a spiritual application, the text clearly shows it is incorrect to exclude a physical application also.
The two words "sorrows" (Heb. "makob") and griefs (Heb. "choli") refer to physical pain, sickness and disease. Included with the transgressions and iniquities, Jesus was wounded and bruised for our full salvation.
The word "makob" literally translated "pain" can be found in Job 33 and Jeremiah 51:8.
The literal translation of "griefs" (choli) is disease in 2 Kings 1:8, Job 30:18, 2 Chronicles 21:5. Choli translated literally as "sickness" is found in Deuteronomy 7:15, 1 Kings 17:17 and Isaiah 38:9.
"With his stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5). The word "stripes" in Hebrew is "kawborah." The literal meaning is to be black and blue. The King James Version translates it five different ways: "blueness" (Proverbs 20:30), "bruise" (Isaiah 1:6, "hurt" (Genesis 4:23), "stripe" (Exodus 21:25), and "wound" (Psalms 38:5).
"Stripes" describes the markings received by a beating with rods (Proverbs 10:13) or with leather straps (Exodus 21:25). In the Greek, "stripes" ("molops") literally means black eye. These two words combined define "stripes" as a bruise (discolored blood under the skin), a mark (welt marks), a wound (an abrasion) and a stripe (a scourging).
With this in mind, let us see the deeper meaning of "stripes." After Jesus' arrest, He received a number of beatings while being mocked and ridiculed. They "buffeted," "smote" and "did strike" Him. The word "buffet" (Greek, "kolaphezo") means to strike with a fist (Mark 14:65). To "smote" (Gk "daero") is to beat until the skin is broken (Luke 22:63). To "strike" Him (Gk "rapizo") means to slap with your palm or to smack with a club, from the root "rapis" meaning "rod," (Mark 14:65, John 19:3).
Jesus literally "bare our sicknesses" (Matthew 8:17). Every beating and blow to the Saviors' body was for our healing.
When your body receives a bruise, the blood capillaries under the skin are broken. The bruise colors your skin, leaving a mark. This "mark" is a sign that you have an internal injury.
Jesus had such marks. He was punched in the face, beaten with clubs and scornfully slapped until blood flowed internally and externally. These "stripes" brought us healing.
Trying to appease the hatred of the Jewish leaders, Pilate had Jesus scourged. The cruel whipping with the Roman whip was unbearable. Historians tell us most victims died in the process. The metal chips and pieces of bone attached to the whip cut through skin like a razor. Josephus tells us that a certain Jesus, son Ananias, was brought before Albinius and "flayed to the bone with scourges." Eusebius narrates that certain martyrs at the time of Polycarp "were torn by scourges down to deep-seated veins and arteries, so that the hidden contents of the recesses of their bodies, their entrails and organs, were exposed to sight" (cf. Leon Morris, NIC, The Gospel According to John, , p. 790).
John the Baptist called Jesus the "Lamb of God" (John 1:29). Jesus is our sacrificial Lamb, but the religious leaders of the day did not think so. In fact Isaiah says "they rejected Him and esteemed Him not" (Isaiah 53:3,4).
One of the priestly duties was to execute the sacrifices. This was an exhaustive task under the sacrificial system. Part of the responsibility was the to examine the animals to be sacrificed. The animal would first need to pass the external examination, checking for abrasions or bruises. If detected the animal was rejected. In the cases of sheep they had to be shaved (Isaiah 53:7). Once the animal passed the external test, it was slaughtered and given a brief autopsy to examine the internal organs for discoloration. This process guaranteed the animal was in a totally "pure" and acceptable sacrifice (Malachi 1:8,13,14).
The priests rejected Jesus because the coming Messiah was not a suffering one from their view point. The rabbis, both then and today, interpreted Isaiah 53 as referring to the nation of Israel as a whole.
Jesus was the perfect sacrifice as the writer of Hebrews declares. He was internally and externally pure! For He had no sin, not in His deeds or in His nature.
Jesus also wore a crown of thorns (Judean thorns were hard as nails, measuring up to 2 inches in length) and carried a cross beam weighing over 100 pounds. Both of these bore marks in His body increasing His suffering near death.
Jesus was bruised (shed blood) internally and externally suffering for sickness. This is described by Peter when he quotes Isaiah 53 in his epistle, "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree ... by whose stripes ye were healed" (1 Peter 2:24). The word "sins" is the Greek word "hamartia," meaning to miss the mark. It means the enability to hit the target.
Jesus' "stripes" were the marks He endured for our healing. He not only took our sins and sickness through His "stripes" or "marks," but He became our "mark."
Each deadly blow to Jesus body was a "mark." The body of Christ was beaten beyond recognition, bruised by blasting fists, battered by clubs and broken by lashes.
He was broken and spilled out. His brokenness was for our Breakthrough. He became the "mark" when we missed the "mark." Not only did He hit the target, He became the target. He is the target we must aim for. But even when we miss the "mark" we have an Advocate, one who goes on our behalf. He hit the target by being "marked" in His body for you.
Two thousand years ago on a lonely hill side called Golgotha, Jesus became a "marked" man as the perfect substitute for us. When we say by His "stripes" we are healed, it was His suffering in His body that brings us a healed body.