“By HIS Stripes, we are HEALED”
March 1 Bible Reading: Deuteronomy Chapters 25-27
During the process of explaining the miscellaneous laws to the Israelites, Moses speaks about God’s ruling concerning punishment: "...if the wicked man deserves to be beaten, that the judge will cause him to lie down and be beaten in his presence, according to his guilt, with a certain number of blows. Forty blows he may give him and no more, lest he should exceed this and beat him with many blows above these and your brother be humiliated in your sight" (Deut 25:2-3).
In judicial sentences, which awarded punishment short of capital, scourging was the most common form in which they were executed. The Mosaic Law, however, introduced two important restrictions; namely:
The punishment should be inflicted in presence of the judge instead of being inflicted in private by some heartless official; and The maximum amount of it should be limited to forty stripes, instead of being awarded according to the decision of the magistrate.
The Egyptian, like Turkish and Chinese rulers, often applied the stick till they caused death or lameness for life. The scourge used in Israel was formed of three cords, terminating in leathern thongs, and thirteen strokes of this counted as thirty-nine stripes (2Co 11:24). Thus, the corporal punishment by stripes was prescribed in the Mosaic Law for committing the sin of fornication (Lev 19:20; Deut 22:18), and also for other wicked offenses (Deut 25:2). Forty stripes was the maximum number (Deut 25:3), which sometimes was even fatal (Job 9:23, Exodus 21:20).
Our Lord Jesus Christ allowed himself to be scourged (Matthew 20:19; 27:26; Mark 15:15; John 19:1), not because he was wicked or deserved this heinous punishment, but he wanted to take our place for our sins. God’s justice required that He "…will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes" (Psalms 89:32). “And that servant who knew his master's will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes” (Luke 12:47).
Let us remember that our Lord Jesus took stripes upon himself for a reason. "But 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). Jesus took the stripes and scourging upon Himself so that WE could be FORGIVEN, HEALED and DELIVERED from our SINS and SICKNESS!