Jesus did a lot of healing when he was here on earth. I can personally attest that He still does today. So when I come across the following verse, I tend to give it a mental nod and move on. “Yup, healing, yup, prophecy fulfilled.”
That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” Matthew 8:16-17 (ESV)
Today when I read that verse, however, it occurred to me that the verse it quotes in Isaiah is translated slightly differently: “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…”(ESV)
So why the difference? It has to do with translating a translation – Matthew was obviously not quoting the ESV version when he quoted Isaiah. He was translating Hebrew into Greek, which the ESV translators then translated into English.
So which one is right?
If you go back to the original Hebrew for Isaiah, you see that both are right. The first word can be translated as grief or sickness, but it can also be translated as anxiety or even calamity. It means all of that. The second word means sorrow or pain; it can be mental pain or physical pain.
So He didn’t JUST take our illnesses on the cross. He didn’t just take on our grief. He took on our anxiety. He took on that feeling you get when calamity strikes and you feel completely helpless. He took on our mental anguish and our wounds from people not treating us right as well as our physical aches and pains.
If we think of this concept only in terms of physical healing, we miss the full meaning. Likewise, if we only take the Isaiah 53:4 translation and think of it as Him taking our grief and sorrow, we’re right, but we’re only halfway there.
Because while the cross provided a way to heaven for us, we won’t need healing in heaven. So the diseases, illnesses, grief, sorrow, anxiety and calamity He bore for us are the ones we experience RIGHT NOW, right here on earth.
And if I don’t take those issues to Him but think I’m supposed to somehow solider through on my own, I’m missing the point. He didn’t suffer on that cross solely so that one day I won’t have to suffer when I get to heaven.
The cross provided for grace to be given every day, for every tear I shed, and every problem I encounter here on earth.
What am I holding on to right now? What weighs me down? What is causing an ache in the pit of my stomach? THAT’S what he bore on the cross. It’s paid for. I can forgive, I can let it go, I can turn it over to Him — he has ALREADY ACCOMPLISHED the answer for that. I just have to give it to Him.
Because if He suffered on the cross to take care of it, why on earth would I think I have to solve it on my own?