The Hem of His Garment

FRINGES were worn by the children of Israel upon their outer garment in obedience to the command, "Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: and it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them." (Num. 15:38-4138Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: 39And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring: 40That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God. 41I am the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord your God. (Numbers 15:38‑41).) These fringes the scribes and Pharisees enlarged, as we read in Matt. 23:55But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, (Matthew 23:5); for diligent indeed over the letter of the Scriptures, while worse than indifferent as to its spirit, they paraded before men the outward signs of obedience to the word.
We read more than once of the hem, the border, or fringe of His garment, and how that to touch it, was to be made whole of bodily infirmity. Let us then consider for a moment what Scripture gives us to understand by the blue that God ordained should be found in the skirts of the clothing of His people the Jews. When Moses and Aaron and the seventy elders of Israel saw the God of Israel, there was under His feet, as it were, a paved work of sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. (Ex. 24:9, 109Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: 10And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. (Exodus 24:9‑10).) The sapphire—the blue sky above us, speaks to us of heaven. That which was "under His feet" arches over our heads, and as we look above, we say, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”
The blue was found in the curtains of the tabernacle, in the vail within, in the hanging of the door without, and in the gate of the court; also in the garments of the high priest, and in his breastplate and his miter, was the blue, as Jehovah commanded. Thus the sign of heaven ever had its great place in the "shadow of good things to come" which spake in a personal way of the Lord Jesus.
The hem of their garments reminded the children of Israel that the commandments of Jehovah, if obeyed and delighted in, would render them a free people upon earth, full of prosperity, blessed in basket and in store, and secure from those diseases which afflicted the heathen around them. It also reminded them that as "all the commandments of the Lord" had not been obeyed, hence their subjection to the heathen, their low estate, their diseases. The blue in the tabernacle speaks of the Lord Himself in His character, as of heaven.
By their disobedience the Jews forfeited their blessings as Jehovah's nation; and the Lord Jesus, who alone can make men rejoice, they crucified. Hence the dark shadow of Satan's rule—not the sapphire of the heavens, lies upon earth. But the day shall arise when this earth will rejoice in the King, the Father's kingdom will come, and His will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven. And those blessed things uttered by the Lord concerning the kingdom shall be found below. Then the sapphire of the heavens will be reflected here, and Israel will rejoice and the nations be glad.
It is now approaching two thousand years since the time when the Lord Jesus went about "preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people" (Matt. 4:2323And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. (Matthew 4:23)), and since He sent forth His disciples with authority over "unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease," and with this testimony, "the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matt. 10:1, 71And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. (Matthew 10:1)
7And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 10:7)
.) Of these powers of the world, or age, to come, many tasted, but notwithstanding all He was despised and rejected of men. Jew and Gentile crucified Him, with this accusation written over His head, "This is Jesus, the King of the Jews," and written in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, for all the wide world to read, whether in its wisdom, power, or! Surely in that hour it seemed as if the power of darkness had prevailed, and as if both King and kingdom were lost.
But the Lord is risen! and presently in resurrection might He shall bring in the kingdom long since proclaimed, and men shall see that "this same Jesus" who healed their sick and proclaimed His Father is King!
Of the blessedness of the kingdom and of its moral glories who shall rightly tell? These bright things with the dark things of present unbelief are the web and the woof of much of the Lord's teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, and thus are the present and the future woven as it were together in His words, for our souls to consider and to obey. But, rather than the kingdom, let us consider Himself. The love, light, joy of the kingdom will issue from the King; in Him all fullness dwells, and through Him now flows to God's people every blessing.
When those possessed with devils were brought to Him, and He cast out the spirits with His word, and healed all that were sick, even as He wrought in power, in love He felt man's misery, and then the word was fulfilled, which says, "Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. (Matt. 8:16, 1716When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: 17That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. (Matthew 8:16‑17).) Let us, then, behold Him healing the sick. (Read Matt. 14:34-3634And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret. 35And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased; 36And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole. (Matthew 14:34‑36); Mark 6:53-5653And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore. 54And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him, 55And ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. 56And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole. (Mark 6:53‑56).) We see the crowds gathered around Him; the whole region of Gennesaret stirred; every manner of disease, in city, in village, in country, laid down before Him! They seek but to touch the hem of His garment, and" as many as touched were made perfectly whole." Virtue went out of Him and healed them, every one! Blessing issued from Him to all—yea, even from the skirts of His clothing. Well may we say, What will the kingdom and its glories be! What will that day be when the King in His royal estate shall dispense blessings to the wide earth and its millions?
According to the custom of the East, the touching of His garment was an act of homage—an expression of reverence for the sacredness of His person—a willing and expectant acknowledgment of His power, and of His bounty. Yet little did those multitudes who thronged Him know that the King was there! He who served them and loved them was the King whom they crucified.
The hem of their garments taught the Jews of blessings forfeited; the hem of His garment when touched taught of blessings unmerited, brought to earth from heaven in grace, pure grace.
With such scenes as these of the region of Gennesaret before us we can better understand the secret thoughts of the woman, who "said within herself, If I may but touch His garment, I shall be whole." His power is perfect, and His love is as great as His power. She "touched the hem of His garment," and "straightway... she felt in her body that she was healed." She received, moreover, in her soul the blessing of His grace, for "He said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace." And thus one and another out of the multitudes whose bodies He healed obtained personal soul-blessing from Him. A few of those who ate His bread which He dispensed to the thousands fed upon Himself, who is the Bread that came down from heaven; others followed Him but for the bread they ate! A few who saw Him raise the dead believed on Him; others went their way and told the Pharisees, who sought to compass His death.
Let us inquire, What are our thoughts, what is our attitude of soul towards the Lord Jesus Christ, now glorified in heaven, and awaiting, in His patience, the kingdom? He will make all in heaven and all on earth to rejoice in His day I Nor does He less in this the hour—this closing hour—of His rejection upon earth make His faithful people in spirit to rejoice. He is the Healer still.
If but to touch the hem of His garment was to receive perfect healing, what shall it be when He shall be seen crowned with glory and honor? (Heb. 2:99But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9).) We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is; and yet in glory He will be this same Jesus of whom we read in the four blessed gospels. Yes, the same Jesus whose tender sympathy we experience this day as He upon the throne above cares for us in our weakness and trials here! (Heb. 2:1818For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted. (Hebrews 2:18).) In that day His people in heaven shall rejoice in His kingdom on earth. Earth and heaven shall smile under His rule.