…He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds (Isaiah 53:5)
The Bible tells us that Jesus is the wounded healer and by His wounds we are healed. But what does that really mean?
In my Protestant Christian upbringing I grew up with the understanding of Jesus as paying the price for our sins and at times we were close to thinking of this as a transaction: Our sin, the blood of Jesus, we go free. I still accept and receive this as a truth. At the same time I think the typical protestant (evangelical) preaching about this can become very technical and may leave us void of any true and transformational experience.
Now my understanding of the suffering Christ has developed and deepened. Yes, he died for our sins. But at the same time he suffered and died to show us a way through our sin and suffering. This understanding has become an important and necessary step in my faith, and it’s about taking life and Jesus seriously.
Not only is Jesus the wounded healer (check out Henri Nouwen’s great book: The Wounded Healer), but he shows us how we can grow and walk through our own suffering, and even bring healing and forgiveness to this world through our own woundedness. By God’s grace we can all become wounded healers by following his example.
Jesus told his disciples to follow him. I believe that the Creator calls us to be and to become truly human by being honest and truthful when it comes to the experience of sin and suffering. Jesus and the cross invite us to accept suffering and “dying” as a an important way of healing in our lives.
Now I not only believe that Jesus saved us from sin and suffering, but also that he shows us a way to deal with the suffering that’s part of every human’s life. For example in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus in prayer shows us that he wanted to avoid suffering when asking the Father to take the suffering away. But at the same time he accepted the suffering and surrendered to the will of God. The surrender to God happened again at the cross, when Jesus in his final words before dying let go of his spirit.
One important thing Jesus shows us by his example is that we should not run away, deny or avoid suffering and pain that may be necessary in our lives, no matter how painful it is. He shows us a way to live with wounds, truth, acceptance and most importantly a way of surrender to the Creator amist the suffering.
He does not only show us a way in and through suffering, but also that by following this road of surrender we will find new life. Jesus rose from the dead! This means we can go through the valleys in our lives knowing and trusting that there is a way through that leads to new life and new beginnings. Again and again.
I am not so focused on heaven being a particular place after death. I believe the example of Jesus shows us how to live our lives now and how we also will experience breakthroughs and freedom many times throughout our lives. By accepting and growing through the suffering, we can bring healing to others through our example since then our lives point to the greatest example of them all, the example of Jesus.
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