I went to a Word Faith church for many years, so I have heard it taught more than once that when Jesus hung on the cross, He manfested every disease, to the point where He didn't even look human. For a while, I didn't question that. I just assumed that the preachers who said this knew what they were talking about, since they were much better acquainted with the Scriptures than what I was. But after a while, though many of the things I heard in my church were Biblically sound and a great blessing to me, I was able to see that Word Faith critics raised very good points about things that didn't add up.
I am surprised at some of the people who have studied the Bible for many years and still teach that Jesus manifested every illness when He hung on the cross. The particular person I am thinking of is very intelligent and has really awesome teaching about other things, but not this.
The Scripture referred to is Isaiah 52:14, "As many were astonished at you; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:" This teacher says that he has seen a man on YouTube who is covered with warts, and that Jesus looked even worse than that when He hung on the cross, because He took all sickness upon Him.
Come on. Think logically. If Jesus really did look like that, don't you think that the Gospel account of His crucifixion would reflect it? Do we read of the scribes and priests and elders and Pharisees drawing back in horror at His appearance? Do we hear them gloating that He looks like a monstrosity? Not at all.
Undoubtedly, Jesus was brutally beaten, His body covered with gashes from a Roman whip, also sustaining bruises, swelling, gouges from the crown of thorns, holes in His hands and feet, and probably shaking from the damage done to His nerves. But it was nothing that the people did not expect to see when viewing a crucifixion victim.
If Jesus manifested leprosy and all other illnesses, the Jews would have drawn back in horror, and no doubt, though the Romans did not have hygiene as stringent as the Jews, they, too, would have fled from fear of contagion. They wouldn't have stayed standing there taunting Him. Someone would not have run up close enough to Him to offer Him vinegar on a sponge. A Roman soldier would not have risked tainting his spear by piercing Him in the side after He died. They would have burned His body, rather than let someone take it down off the cross and bury it.
Okay, so there was darkness over the land for a while, which some could argue hid Him from view for a time, but the Bible says that people still stayed at the scene. They probably fetched torches to see what was going on. There was a cemetary nearby, so there were probably some stored there to light the burial caves. Regardless of the confusion caused by darkness and earthquake, the guards stuck close to ensure that nobody took advantage of these occurrences to rescue Jesus from the cross. At no time in the Gospels does it hint that the crowd saw something really extraordinary about Jesus' person as He hung on the cross.
Another big flaw in that teaching is that it says that Jesus took ALL our diseases. This implies EVERY disease had to be experienced by Him in order for Him to heal it. Not so. He healed us in a substitutionary way, by allowing Himself to be flogged and bashed about. This was dis–ease that He suffered, to bring us comfort and healing. God accepted it because it was utterly disrespectful that His creation should inflict abuse on their Creator.
Likewise, His nakedness was shame enough to cover the shame of every human being who has ever suffered any kind of sexual abuse, because it was so terrible that anyone should do this to the Creator. Kenneth Copeland has taught that Jesus was raped by the Roman soldiers when they took Him into their hall to torment Him, but that's a crazy idea when applied to Jesus, and the Bible doesn't say that it happened.
The Bible does not balk at mentioning such things, for it tells us how the men of Sodom wanted to rape two of God's angels, and it also tells us how some Benjamites wanted to rape a traveller from another tribe, but were given his concubine instead, and that they abused her to death. If such a disgraceful thing had happened to Jesus, the Bible would have recorded it, in addition to telling us how He was blindfolded, and struck, and mocked to prophesy, and spat on, and scourged.
I don't doubt that it occurred to those soldiers that they wanted to rape Jesus, spurred on by the demons that had taken them over. Normally, some of them probably did that to prisoners, but it was not neccessary to do that to Jesus for Him to bring healing to those who have been shamed through sexual abuse. He is so far above us in purity and dignity that being stripped naked was disgrace enough for Him to suffer on our behalf to bring healing in that area.
God restrained those soldiers, and this is confirmed in Psalm 22:12 "Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round," and verse 21, "Save me from the lion's mouth: for you have heard me from the horns of the unicorns." In the Bible, unicorns represent demons of lust. I have written about this in my series TAMING THE UNICORN.
If Jesus had needed to experience every disease in order to heal us, He would have had to have His bones broken, but, though the Bible distinctly tells us that this never happened, God is still able to heal us from every injury, including broken bones. The Bible says that by His WOUNDS, we were healed. That is referring to wounds inflicted on Him by Man, not some supernatural event where every sickness and injury was put on Him. It's plain and simple.
But we have that Scripture that says He was marred more than any man. This is true, but not in a physical sense. There are people who look far more hideous than a man who has been lacerated by whips. Jesus was cruelly scourged, but not enough to prevent Him from walking through a city to an execution site. If Jesus had been physically beaten and whipped more than any other man, rendering Him physically unrecognizable as a man, every bone in His body would have been crushed, every square inch of His skin would have looked like raw meat, His head and body would have been grotesquely swollen, and He would have had to be carried to Golgotha on a stretcher.
I saw that man on YouTube who is covered with so many warts that people call him "the tree man." Please, pray for his healing. I saw another man with so many tumors on his face that you can't even see his face. They hang like a bag of golf balls in front of it. I saw another man with a huge, hideous tumor disfiguring most of his face, hanging off of it like a bag of fat. In the Guinness Book of World Records, I saw a stomach tumor so huge that it was unbelievable, just laying on the guerney like some sci–fi creature from outer space. I don't get a thrill from looking at this kind of stuff, and I don't hardly ever look at it; it makes me feel like I want to throw up when I see this degree of medical problems, but a bit of morbid fascination has snagged my interest from time to time, followed by grief for the people afflicted with these horrors, and anger at satan for tormenting Mankind with such things.
There would not be room on one human body for all the afflictions that have been visited on people, nor the wounds from breakage, burning, and weapons. Wasn't the grief that Jesus suffered from losing His awareness of the presence of His Father agony enough for Him, without people imagining that He also suffered the pain of every disease and injury?
The sense of having been abandoned by His Father was a pain more than we will ever be able to fathom, even after a zillion years of Eternity. Jesus had never known such a thing before, having always been in perfect harmony and complete union with His Father. Having one's heart torn out of the body while still alive gives a little hint of what Jesus felt when He lost His sense of the Father's presence, and someone, who has a huge disgust for the slightest bit of dirt, getting dropped in a septic tank would be a little bit of what it was like for Jesus when the sin of the whole world was rolled onto Him.
It is apparent to me that this verse about Jesus being marred more than any man referred to having all the sin of the world cast upon Him. It was seen in the spiritual realm, not with physical eyes. There was a man who had a horrifying vision of seeing a giant figure of a man rise up out of a lake and he was covered with all sorts of abominable filth. He said it was sickening to look at and he kept trying to push the image out of his mind afterwards. Then Jesus spoke to his heart and said, "That was me." At first, he thought satan was trying to mess with him, but the Lord spoke to him that this was a picture of when He took on all the sins of the world.
The Hebrew word for visage can refer either to seeing a person's shape in the flesh or mentally seeing their form marred. In this case, His marring was figurative, or actually spiritual, rather than literal. The word marred also means "corrupted," which ties in with the corruption of the world being heaped on Jesus. The second part of the verse, in using the word "form", confirms that this is talking about damage that was entirely external, such as when someone throws filth on a person, rather than making wounds upon their body. None of this marring penetrated His soul. It remained entirely abhorrent to Him, and that was suffering enough.
The very next verse says, "So shall He sprinkle many nations … " His being marred more than any man is talking about cleansing us from our sins, not taking on all sickness and injuries to heal us from our sickness and injuries.
Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Copyright © 2012, Lanny Townsend
Page modified by Lanny Townsend on February 7, 2012
Scripture references on this website are closely paraphrased from e–Sword's King James Bible.