…Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?” Jeremiah 8:22 NIV
Elsewhere Jeremiah says twice, “… From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. “Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush…” 6:13-16, 8:10-12
Our title question turns out to be much more profound than might appear at first sight. The Hebrew root for the word “balm” is “crack and cause to leak.” What sort of salve is this? This is the way a poultice works. Pursuing this a bit further, we find that there are only two references to “poultice” in the Scriptures: “Then Isaiah said, “Prepare a poultice of figs.” They did so and applied it to the boil, and he recovered.” 2 Kings 20:7, & Isaiah 38:21.
Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures, and in them you think you have eternal life, but these are they which testify of me.” In short, the Scriptures of His day were and remain all about Him. Jesus is the poultice. Jesus is the fig. When Jesus went to the cross all of the sins of the world in time and space came to a head and were drawn into Him Who knew no sin that we might be the righteousness of God in him.
How do you prepare a fig to be a poultice? You peal it: “and by His stripes we are healed.” When Pilate had Jesus flogged, without knowing what he was doing, he prepared Him as a poultice, so that the most vital part of Jesus would be in intimate contact with the cross, which was in vital contact with the “place of the skull.” Let’s look again at what it was that we needed to be healed of: “… 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. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:5, 6 KJV
Just as with the “cup” of Gethsemane, we too have a part to play in the poultice of Christ.
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