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Christ’s Passion for Your Healing

It's no coincidence that I was preparing a talk on The Deeper Meaning of Peace just before I saw Mel Gibson's amazing new film, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST. (Parenthetically I must say I believe it's the most powerful film ever made. Don't let those who have an agenda to attack the film keep you from seeing it. I don't believe any other film will ever impact people's lives like this one does.)

In my talk last week I mentioned the irony that Jerusalem literally means "foundation of peace." How strange that the most fought over city in world history should be so named. Or is it?

You see, Peace in Hebrew is Shalom. It means literally, "Perfect welfare, prosperity, serenity & happiness." Every book of the New Testament mentions Shalom. Every epistle begins and/or ends with a prayer for us to receive shalom. Christ came to give us a peace "not as the world gives," but a kind of peace that "Passes all human understanding." A peace accentuated by abundance, pregnant with prosperity, saturated in serenity, whose very hallmark is our happiness. Certainly nothing this world offers can give us these things. But Jerusalem did, because it gave us the Prince of Peace. It is  where God's only Son died so we could have shalom. One commentator says "Shalom is the last will and testament of Jesus."

So how does Jesus' passion grant us healing? I probably wouldn't have noticed this except THE PASSION OF CHRIST begins with a prophecy from Isaiah 53, given about 700 years before Christ was born. In an unmistakable reference to Jesus the text says, "He is despised and rejected by men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. ... He was despised and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has born our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him smitten by God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace (shalom) was upon Him. And by His stripes we are healed...."

No one who sees THE PASSION can be unaffected by the price Jesus paid by suffering for us. This passage tells us that one of the primary things His suffering purchased for us is our healing. Indeed, if you've read my newsletter, you know I firmly believe that we cannot receive all the marvelous benefits of Shalom without being healed. We are simply too hampered by our past to live the abundant life which Jesus came to give us. For apart from healing, most of us are too crippled emotionally to live and love as He did. And unless we somehow become capable of sowing love promiscuously, without thought of being loved back, we shall never reap love's glorious harvest. As the old rock song so sagely said, "For in the end, the love we make, is equal to the love we give."

This begs a far more profound question. Why was it necessary for Jesus to suffer and die in order to purchase for us these wonderful things? Is God some sort of celestial child abuser?

Of course not. No other religion but Christianity portrays a deity who so deeply loves His children and indeed all men as much as the God of the Bible. Buddha didn't die for anyone and He's still in his grave. Mohammed killed his enemies, he didn't give up his life for them. Neither Hindu, nor Shintoism, nor Taoist nor Confucianist beliefs know anything of a God who would sacrifice His precious only Son for the likes of us. All other major religions teach that it would be heresy for God to taint Himself by taking on mortal flesh.

In seminary I was struck by the enormity of this sacrifice. In Old Testament class we were studying the sacrifice that Abraham almost made of his only natural son Isaac. The professor mentioned that there was a remarkable reason why Abraham traveled so far into the wilderness to find the altar for his sacrifice. It was a place that would later be called the Mount of Olives -- the very spot where God allowed His Son Jesus to be butchered for us. Do you see the amazing insight I received when he said that? We aren't, as Jonathon Edwards preached, sinners in the hands of an angry God. Rather Jesus was God in the hands of angry sinners!

To grasp this we must look more closely at the historical context of the sacrifice Abraham almost made. We might well wonder how in the world Abraham would think that God would require him to sacrifice his only son, the child who was the culmination of all the promises God made to Abraham throughout his entire life. After all, every dream God gave Abraham was embodied in that boy. But if you understand the culture in which he lived, it's not so preposterous. You see, the pagan people surrounding Abraham routinely sacrificed their first born to their demonic, bloodthirsty deities. It was expected. How was Abraham to know that the God of Israel was any different? Why wouldn't He also expect His followers to make this supreme sacrifice?

But at the very last minute, after Abraham had already set Isaac upon the stone altar and the boy had asked, "Daddy, where is the sacrificial lamb?" Abraham said, in a trembling voice, "God will provide." And with that, they heard a noise. It was a ram caught in a nearby thicket.

What I saw that day in Seminary forever altered my understanding of God. He didn't demand that we kill our dreams for Him. He didn't require us to make such a supreme sacrifice to prove our love. He is not a blood thirsty, selfish, greedy deity who can't be trusted with our greatest treasures. Quite the opposite. He prohibits us from sacrificing our children for Him because it was His plan all along to allow His precious Son to die for us. That's why Abraham had to journey to this far place, the very spot where God would sacrifice His precious only Son for us. That's the kind of God who can be trusted with our very lives.

But again we return to the question: why did Jesus have to suffer to enable us to be healed? The answer is simple but incredibly profound. Sin inevitably causes death. It could be as simple and slow moving as the fact that over eating food ruins our health or as sensual and immediate as the fact that promiscuous sex or drug addiction can lead to our almost instantaneous death through fatal disease or an overdose.   But whatever your sin of choice, whatever indulgence you choose to anesthetize the pain of past hurts, the wages of sin are not enough. Sin is a killer, be it by slow prolonged ebbing of life or voluntary lethal injection.

It's important to realize that when Jesus suffered for us, he did so as the only sinless person in history. That's precisely why the grave couldn't hold Him. Death is the penalty for sin. Since He never sinned, Satan's greatest snare backfired. Instead of succeeding in killing off his only competition on the cross, God used that very same cross to enable us all to receive eternal life and the power to heal.

Let me explain it this way. When Jesus died, the huge veil that kept people from entering the Holy of Holies in the temple was torn open from the top down. The Holy of Holies was where God's presence, through the Holy Spirit, dwelt in the Temple. Only the High Priest could enter that place and only on one day a year on behalf of the people. When Jesus died, the Holy Spirit that indwelt Christ's earthly body became available to anyone who would receive Christ and give Him their allegiance as their Lord. After that and because of that, everyone who wanted to could receive God's Spirit. Everyone could have the power to overcome sin. Everyone could heal and be healed, for the same Spirit that raised up Christ from the dead could now live in any one of us!

This still doesn't answer the question of why He had to suffer so. The answer is this. Sin produces suffering. There's no such thing as a sin that doesn't harm anyone. Sin at the very least harms the sinner. When Jesus suffered as awfully as He did, it was so we would not have to suffer for our sins. "The chastisement of our peace, of our shalom, was upon Him."

So, am I saying that because of Christ's suffering, sin no longer causes us to suffer. Of course not. If we don't take care of our bodies, if we do things that harm them or others, we will still suffer the consequences. But we don't suffer God's wrath. If we have given our life to the Lord, If we sincerely hate our sin, if we earnestly desire to change, there is no further punishment from our heavenly Father. "The Lord has laid on Him (Jesus) the iniquity of us all." All we must do is confess our sin and we are forgiven. Our sin cannot cause God to stop loving us.

An old song explains it like this: "I owed a debt I could not pay, he paid a debt he did not owe, I needed someone, to take away my sin. So now I sing a brand new song, amazing grace the whole day, cuz Jesus suffered, to take away my sin."

That says it all. He died so we could live -- eternally, abundantly. He became a slave to men's rage so we could go free. He suffered so we could be healed, and so we could experience all the wonderful benefits of shalom: "Perfect welfare, prosperity, serenity & happiness." No other deity ever did such a thing for mankind. No other god dared to take on the form of human flesh for us, let alone suffer and die so we could be released from our suffering and live. If He doesn't deserve our allegiance, who does?


Ken Unger is President of and founder of, where you can learn more about him and his transformative ministry. click here ,
 "Ken's new book, The Ultimate Breakthrough, goes beyond self help to self healing. You can preview it at  The Ultimate Breakthrough "


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