How true is it that Jesus received 39 lashes, representing the 39 diseases known in His time?

If this is true, does this mean that healing was made available now for New Testament believers?

Clarify Share Report Asked July 22 2014 Mini michelle macon

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Image41 Ezekiel Kimosop
Nowhere in Scripture is it recorded that Jesus received 39 lashes of the whip but the Bible does record that Jesus was scourged and that he physically suffered for our sins. There are other forms of suffering he underwent including rejection by his people. Then the thorns placed on his head, nails driven through his hands and legs and being speared on his side. These too are no less significant than lashes.

Some commentators claim that a condemned criminal was normally given a certain number of lashes but scripture does not mention the number of lashes or scourgings in regard to the crucifixion of Jesus. The 39 lashes claim is therefore unbiblical (See John 19:1, Mark 5:15, Matthew 27:26 in relation to His scourging).

The purposes of Jesus' sufferings are clearly defined by a number of messianic prophecies. For example, Isaiah 53:5 (KJV) says in regard to Christ, "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."

There is also no scripture evidence that the lashes received by Christ each represented some known number of diseases that afflicted humanity in His time. If anything Jesus died for the greatest human disease that man could ever suffer. This is the helplessness of sin and the need for redemption from its condemnation and eternal separation from God. This is the principal purpose for which Jesus died. 

Some bible teachers have taken Isaiah 53:5 out of its passage context and applied it to physical infirmities and diseases when in fact our spiritual infirmity is the theological lbasis for Christ's suffering and death and the shedding of his atoning blood was to cleanse our Adamic sin (an infirmity in itself) and to usher us into a new spiritual dimension where our enmity with God is removed forever (Romans 5:8). There can be no greater healing than the redemption of the human soul.

The healing brought by Jesus is therefore of a spiritual nature which restores the wholesomeness of our life in Christ. The Hebrew word used "raw-faw" (rapha) for "healed" is a compound word that broadly means wholesomeness of health. Physical healing could not have been in exclusive view here given that the writer was clearly speaking about the redemptive works of the Messiah. 

Even we believers suffer from or die of an earthly disease or from any other cause, as happens often, we are certain that our relationship with God will never be affected in any way. This is not to suggest that God does not heal our sickness but it is important to underscore the biblical significance of the atoning works of Christ and to put them into their appropriate theological perspective.

July 23 2014 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Irene Petree
I don't believe that Pilate was thinking of the amount of known diseases when he sentenced Jesus. That's symbolic conjecture. Scripture doesn't say how many stripes Jesus received. It is ASSUMED that he was given 39 because it was customary to give 40 lashes minus one (or 39). It was called 40 lashes minus one because it was assumed that 40 or more lashes would kill someone. They were whipped with a cat of nine tails (a whip with nine lashings embedded with bits of metal or bone).

An old Roman law/tradition that said forty lashes were a death sentence. In Roman times, it was deemed that if a flogger were to appropriately administer a punishment, he should be able to kill a man with forty lashes. Depending on the circumstances, if he failed to kill a man in forty lashes, the flogger would face death. This was to insure that the flogger would not hold back in meting out the punishment. Using this same warped twisted logic, the Romans determined that 39 lashes shouldn't kill a person so that was the most you could give a person, without a sentence of death by flogging. 

Flogging is the only punishment mentioned in the Bible as a standard punishment. The maximum number of strokes to be administered in any one case is 40 (Deut. 25:3). The understanding is that the number of strokes was to be determined in each individual case according to the gravity of the offense and the limit was to prevent death by flogging.

July 23 2014 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Joseph Turner Christian, Sunday School Teacher, Actor, Health Food Worker
Based off of what I'm familiar with from Scripture, it's not likely at all. The only mention of Jesus being flogged is from Matthew 27:26. The netbible.org commentary on the matter says thus:

"The Greek term φραγελλόω (fragellow) refers to flogging. BDAG 1064 s.v. states, “flog, scourge, a punishment inflicted on slaves and provincials after a sentence of death had been pronounced on them. So in the case of Jesus before the crucifixion…Mt 27:26; Mk 15:15.”

A Roman flogging (traditionally, “scourging”) was an excruciating punishment. The victim was stripped of his clothes and bound to a post with his hands fastened above him (or sometimes he was thrown to the ground). Guards standing on either side of the victim would incessantly beat him with a whip (flagellum) made out of leather with pieces of lead and bone inserted into its ends. While the Jews only allowed 39 lashes, the Romans had no such limit; many people who received such a beating died as a result. See C. Schneider, TDNT, 515-19."

So, you see, Jesus was flogged by the Romans, not the Jews. The Jews had a limit of 39 because they believed that 40 would kill a man. Paul himself mentions in 2 Corinthians 11:24 that he received from the Jews the "40 lashes minus one", emphasizing his sufferings for Christ and how close a companion to death he was.

July 23 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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