Jesus suffered way more than the 39 stripes that we often hear during ill-informed conversations. Due to my own experience of re-communicating several times to large numbers of people the untruth that Jesus bore 39 stripes at the whipping post, it was not until after these occasions where I was corrected by someone who knew the truth. This brother in Christ referred me to Rick Renner’s book titled Sparkling Gems from the Greek: 365 Greek Word Studies For Every Day Of The Year To Sharpen Your Understanding Of God’s Word.
I need to do my part, not only to re-address the topic in the hopes that those who heard me misspeak can have the correct understanding, but to hopefully be a part of the growing number of voices who are trying to correct the fallacy that Jesus bore only 39 stripes at the whipping post.
My mistake was not that I listened to others, but that I took what I heard and accepted it as truth without validating it against the only Truth, the Word of God.
Jesus said for us to believe and not doubt in our hearts:
Matthew 21:21 (New American Standard Bible (NASB))
And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen.
However, we have the free will to believe whatever we want to believe. God loves us so much that he gave man and woman the power to choose freely. Therefore it is entirely possible to believe something that isn’t true. If we believe the wrong thing instead of what the Bible says about it, it has serious ramifications in our lives.
Furthermore, if we, believing what someone has told us, then pass that along to another person, who tells another person, the untruth continues to spread. Sometimes inaccurate statements sound plausible. Therefore it is paramount that we validate what we hear against God’s Word.
I personally made the mistake of broadcasting an untruth unintentionally several times to many radio listeners and I have a responsibility to correct this situation. In a subsequent broadcast this was corrected:
I simply passed on what I had heard many times from others: that Jesus received 39 lashings on his back at the whipping post before he went to the cross. Also that it was 39 because it represented payment for 39 types of sicknesses and diseases.
Isaiah 52:14 shows how Jesus was to become “marred more than any other man”:
Isaiah 52:14 (New American Standard Bible (NASB))
Just as many were astonished at you, My people,
So His appearance was marred more than any man
And His form more than the sons of men.
As if 39 wasn’t enough, Jesus suffered far more. So much so, based on Isaiah 52:14, he was marred (disfigured). Another misnomer that we hear often is that the stripes were on his back. However, you do not normally find a person is disfigured from looking at their back only. Typically someone is disfigured when you do not recognize them when looking at them from the front.
Secondly, it is from the more modern translations that speak that by His Stripes (plural), we were healed (emphasis mine):
Isaiah 53:5 (New King James Version (NKJV))
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
However, if we research the Greek text, we find that “Stripes” (Gr. mooloopi-mwlwpi) is SINGULAR. The Greek language requires so much accuracy that if two wounds had been visible the plural would be necessary. But, Christ was beaten so ruthlessly that only one wound was visible and it covered His entire body.
This makes the fallacy of the 39 stripes become even more of a contrast with the truth.
Jesus suffered so greatly, so that you would not have to. As we read in Isaiah 53:5, healing was purchased at the whipping post for all of humanity. This was before Jesus went to the cross to pay for all of creation’s sins, past present and future.
Our Lord and Saviour was marred beyond belief even before he went to the cross. The least we can do, myself included, is to get our facts straight before informing others based on hearsay.
In another article currently being written I will cover what the suffering at the whipping post by Jesus meant for all of us, and how our authority in the name of Jesus can deliver any person, saved or unsaved, from sickness, disease, or any form of oppression.