“Who Touched Me?”
“And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus’ feet, and besought him that he would come into his house: For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him. And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.” (Luke 8:41-48)
Our Lord Jesus was on his way to Jairus’ house to perform a miracle of mercy upon his daughter, who was at the point of death. No doubt, word had gotten around in a hurry about what the Savior had done in Gadara. Therefore, Jairus ran to the Master, fell down at his feet, and begged him to come to his house and heal his daughter. As they went along, the crowds began to gather. You can imagine the commotion.
“And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus’ feet, and besought him that he would come into his house: For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him.” (Luke 8:41-42)
Excitement filled the air. Here was a man, who claimed to be God’s Messiah, the Christ, God incarnate. Everyone knew his claim; but he had begun to back it up and substantiate it by doing things that no one else could possibly do. In Gadara the devils themselves were constrained to publicly acknowledge him as the Lord their God, who had absolute power over them. Now, he is going to heal a young girl, whose father was a very prominent citizen in the community. This little girl was at the point of death. Everybody wanted to see the miracle. They followed the Lord as closely as possible, pressing him as he walked along. Everyone was excited. Everyone was curious. Everyone was filled with anticipation.
As they moved along, a poor, stooped, anemic woman, a woman who had been plagued with an issue of blood for twelve, long, tormenting years, made her way through the crowd. I can almost see her. She must not let herself be seen. She is unclean. She has no right by law to even be in the streets; but she is dying. She has heard about the Lord Jesus. No one else could help her. She had tried everything imaginable. Yet, she believed that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the Christ, the Son of God. She said, “If I could just touch the hem of his garment, I am sure, he would make me whole.” So she crawled through the thronging crowds, until she got close. Then, weak and trembling, she stretched out her hand in faith and touched the Lord Jesus.
As soon as she touched him, the Lord Jesus stopped dead in his tracks. He felt virtue, power and efficacy go out of him. Therefore, he turned around and said, “Who touched me?” The disciples said, “You’ve got to be kidding. With all these people around, you are asking, ‘Who touched me?’” Then, the Master said, “Somebody touched me.”
Just as this poor woman was immediately healed of her plague when she touched the Lord Jesus, so sinners are healed of the plague of their hearts, freed from the curse of the law and the guilt of sin as soon as they touch the Lord Jesus Christ by faith.
Because Mark gives us a more detailed account of this event, we will pick up some of the details recorded by him in Mark 5.
“And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any.” (v. 43)
“And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse.” (Mark 5:25-26).
There is no greater evidence of the total depravity of all human beings by nature than the fact that we all incur disease, get sick and die. All sickness, disease and death are the result of sin and the curse of God upon the human race because of sin.
This woman’s sickness was a specific example of sin and the curse of God’s law upon us all by nature. Her sickness, her unceasing issue of blood was something that made her ceremonially unclean. So it is with us all by nature. We are plagued with sin. The plague of sin makes us unclean. Being unclean, we are cursed and barred from the holy Lord God. Look at what the Holy Spirit tells us about this woman.
She “had an issue of blood twelve years.” She was ceremonially unclean (Leviticus 15:25), because of a disabling sickness that was killing her. This poor soul “had suffered many things of many physicians.” She had been to every doctor in town, including the quacks, the charlatans, the snake oil herbalists and the faith healers. There are countless “physicians of no value” (Job 13:4) to the souls of men. Dr. Decision tells sinners that they can be saved if they will simply make their decision for Jesus. Dr. B. Good exhorts the sinner to reform his life. Dr. Free Will admonishes the sinner to will himself into life. Dr. Ceremony urges the poor soul to observe religious ordinances and sacraments to get the grace he needs. Dr. Right Church tells poor souls that they can be made whole if they get into the right church. Dr. Excitement urges the sin-sick soul to seek a miracle, speak in tongues, pray through and wrestle with God until he gets God to save him. Dr. Emotion prescribes introspection, urging dead sinners to look within themselves for feelings of repentance and sorrow, or longings for Christ, by which they may know they are fit to be saved.
Next, we are told that the poor, dying woman “spent all that she had.” Like those described in Isaiah 46:6 lavishing out everything for the help of idols, though she spent everything she had seeking help from “physicians of no value,” she “was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse.” Religion without Christ is of no value to lost sinners. It never helps. Rather, it only makes the sinner’s condition worse. The practice of religion without Christ is but eating and drinking damnation (1 Corinthians 11:29). Oh, that sinners crippled with sin, instead of looking to “physicians of no value” in tears and attempted reforms in their own strength, might, like this woman, be brought to Christ!
“And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?” (v. 45)
“And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him. And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.” (Mark 5:24-27)
Like the crowds that pressed the Lord Jesus, people come to church, profess faith and claim to follow him for many reasons. Some come being stirred by religious excitement, following the crowd. Some take up a profession because of peer pressure. Many do so because they fear going to hell.
The crowds of people thronged our Lord; but only one person gained any benefit. Only one person came from behind and touched him. Only one person in this great crowd needed him. Only one person believed the Lord Jesus could actually cure her of her plague. Believing him, she touched him. Be wise and follow her example.
“Reach out and touch the Lord, as He passes by.
You’ll find He’s not too busy to hear your heart’s cry.
He’s passing by this moment, your needs to supply.
Reach out and touch the Lord as He goes by!”
“And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.” (vv. 45-46)
“When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?...And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.” (Mark 5:27-30, 34)
There are several things here, which ought to catch our attention. Many reading this story miss the most important aspects of it. They put all the emphasis upon the woman. Inspiration puts the emphasis on the woman only as the recipient of mercy and benefactor of grace. But, in so far as the act of mercy and the work of grace are concerned, the emphasis must be placed upon the Savior. This woman was made whole in exactly the same way every sinner saved by the grace of God is made whole. She was made whole by a fivefold work of God almighty.
“And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.” (v. 47)
“And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.” (Mark 5:30-33)
Our Savior did not ask, “Who touched me?” because he needed to learn who had done this, but because we need to learn the necessity of confessing Christ before men. “With the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” This woman came and told the Savior publicly, “all the truth.” She told the Lord Jesus all about her plague, the power of his grace she experienced within, and the cure his omnipotent mercy had wrought.
“In the greatest throng, as well as in the secret place,” Robert Hawker wrote, “Jesus sees all, knows all, and both appoints and will sanctify all… We never can sufficiently admire the abundant tenderness the Lord Jesus manifested upon this occasion, to this poor woman. She wished the cure to be in secret: but no! Jesus will have her faith in him made public. His grace to poor sinners shall be proclaimed thereby; and, her trust in him shall make her history illustrious through endless generations.”
It is not needful for us to blow the trumpet in the streets and force others to hear us when they choose not to listen. However, it is required that we identify ourselves with Christ and his gospel publicly. We must not be ashamed to confess Christ before men, both in believer’s baptism and as his witnesses.
This woman’s confession did not cause her to be healed any more than the believer’s confession of Christ causes him to be saved. Our confession of faith in Christ is not a confession made that we might be saved, but a confession made of salvation granted. With our mouths we make confession with reference to the salvation Christ has bestowed.
“And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace” (v. 48). — Here, our Lord Jesus declares the source of comfort. It is faith in him. He also commends faith, that great work of grace of which he is himself both the Object and the Author. Nothing brings such glory to Christ as that faith which looks to Christ for everything. Nothing is so useful to our souls as faith in Christ. The believer’s life is a life of faith in Christ. We begin in faith, live by faith, stand in faith, walk by faith, have peace with God by faith, see the glory of God by faith, and die in faith. Nothing is so important as this — “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?”
Yet, the primary object of this miracle is not the woman’s great faith, but our blessed Savior’s great grace. Though at the time unknown to her, the faith she had in him was faith he had given her and had wrought in her by his Spirit (Colossians 2:12). Obviously, the poor soul thought she had escaped the notice of all; as soon as she touched him, the Master let her know that he both knew her need and performed her cure.
Let this be a point of personal self-examination for each of us. Is my faith real? Do I really believe on the Lord Jesus Christ? Is this gift of God mine?
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