Summary: Isaiah predicted it; the Ethiopian investigated it, but only Jesus could accomplish it: We are healed by His stripes!
Healed With His Stripes
(First in the series Power in the Blood)
Introduction: What moves you? The sight of the American flag snapping in the breeze? A sad movie? A frightened child crying for his mother?
There was a man the side of the road hitch hiking on a very dark night in the middle of a storm. It was late at night and no cars were passing. The storm was so strong he could hardly see a few feet ahead of him. Suddenly, he saw a car coming towards him and stop. Without further thought, he got in the back seat of the car, closes the door and, when he turns to thank the driver for stopping for him, he realizes there’s nobody behind the wheel. The car starts slowly down the road again. The guy looks at the road ahead and sees a curve coming his way. Scared, he closes his eyes and starts to pray for his life. Just before the car reaches the curve, a hand appears thru the window and turns the steering wheel. The guy, paralyzed with fear, watches how the hand appears every time they come to a curve in the road. Gathering his strength, he leaps from the car and runs to the nearest town. Wet and in shock, he goes to a cafe and asks for a cup of stiff coffee. He quickly drinks his coffee and starts telling everybody about the horrible experience he’s just been thru. A silence envelops the cafe when the man begins to weep like a baby out of sheer fright from the experience he has been through. About half an hour later, two guys walk into the same cafe and one says to the other, "Look Bob, there’s that guy who got in the car when we were pushing it down the road"
While many different things tug at our hearts or frighten us, God was so moved by the thought of our going to hell that He did something about it.
Proposition: Isaiah predicted it; the Ethiopian investigated it, but only Jesus could accomplish it: We are healed by His stripes!
1. The disease of sin
Sin is abnormal. God did not create us to sin; he created us with free will. Sin detrorys everything God intended for us.
Sin throws us out of whack. We would expect a man or woman to ride a horse. But sin causes the horse to ride the man. It crushes us mentally, emotionally, & spiritually.
Sin undermines mankind. It weakesn us like undetected internal bleeding robs a body of life.
Sin numbs the senses. Have you ever seen the interviews of parents who supposedly had their children abducted? In front of the cameras they appear genuinely distressed and frightened. But when their kids were found murdered, the investigation pointed back to one or both of the parents. They gave a convincing performance. But one thing was missing: tears. The deeper we get into sin, the less we admit it is sin. Sin is as addictive as any drug. The more we take, the more we need to get our fix.
Sin pollutes the soul. Peole can exist in sin but they do not truly live. (Illustration: Animal cleanup from the Exxon Valdez) When we are dirty & defiles, we cannot present ourselves before a pure God.
Why bring such unpleasent things up the week before Easter? Because that is the story of Easter!
2. The remedy for sin
We are healed by his stripes! Isaiah 53
“Stripes” means much more than the crack of a whip breaking open human flesh. It represents all of Jesus’ sufferings. He sweat blood. He was bound & drug away. He was tried in a kangaroo court & beaten. His enemies spit on him & struck him. He was mocked with a robe, staff, & “crown.” His hair was pulled out. He was scourged. He was forced to carry the cross. He was stripped naked. He was crucified.
Why? Because we needed the healing he alone could offer.
3. The power of healing
Conclusion: “In peace let me resign my breath, And thy salvation see, My sins deserve eternal death, But Jesus died for me.” The message of the cross should cause every one of us to tremble and respond in loving obedience. Know the healing power of Jesus Christ in your life today!