In Isaiah 53 there's this beautifully prophetic word about our coming Savior and all he would accomplish at the cross. And the amazing thing about these words is that they were written some 700 years before Jesus would come earth and fulfill them. But anyway, sandwiched in this text is a line that goes something like this: "...by his (Jesus') wounds we are healed." (Isaiah 53:4) And for years I would hear people use this text to build a case for physical healing. In essence they would say, "Jesus carried my sickness and disease to the cross and by his stripes I have been healed." And though I wanted desperately for this to be the case, my tendency was to spiritualize that text and say, "Well...what Isaiah is really talking about is that we were healed spiritually at the cross. We were sick with sin and headed for hell but through the cross we are healed and have the hope of heaven." At the heart of the issue, I felt like many had used that passage out of context and made it say something that it didn't really mean. But yesterday, in the matter of a split second, as I pondered Isaiah 53, the Holy Spirit brought to remembrance the words of Matthew, and in doing so, snapped into focus the reality of this scripture. And the crazy thing was, I wasn't looking for revelation, I wasn't searching for answers, the Holy Spirit just connected the dots and ah ha!
For those that don't know, Matthew, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit quoted a portion of Isaiah's Messianic prophecy in his gospel and applied it to physical healing! Here's what Matthew wrote in his gospel:
When evening came, they brought to Jesus many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill.This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: "HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES." (Matthew 8:16-17)
We can discuss and debate all we want about physical healing but if Matthew - an apostle of Jesus Christ, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit - connected this healing crusade of Jesus and prophecy recorded in Isaiah 53, then who am I to tell Matthew he was in error:) Who am I to tell the apostle he took that scripture out of context:) Yikes!
I was reminded again that where at all possible, we need to allow scripture to interpret scripture. Thank you Holy Spirit for another "ah ha" moment!