The Trip to the Unfailing Physician

Mark 5:25‑34; Luke 8:43‑48  •  9 min. read  •  grade level: 7
Mark 5:25-3425And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, 26And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, 27When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. 28For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. 29And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. 30And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? 31And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 32And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. 33But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. 34And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague. (Mark 5:25‑34); Luke 8:43-4843And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, 44Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. 45And 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? 46And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. 47And 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. 48And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace. (Luke 8:43‑48)
The daughter of Jairus the ruler of the synagogue, lay dying in her father's house. Everything that could be done for her had been done, but nothing could stay the relentless waves of death which rolled onward as if resolved to quench the light of that fair young life. Will then the father and mother of the damsel have to part with this dear child of their affection? It must be so, unless Jesus would come and raise her up; and happily for them Jesus was at hand. Jairus goes to Him, beseeches Him to come and bid his daughter live; and the blessed Lord, ever gracious, ever ready to answer the cry of need, would go and rescue this child from the gates of the grave, and place her again in her parents' bosom. On His way to the ruler's house, much people followed and thronged Him; and among them there is one to whose state and actions the pen of the inspired Evangelist now abruptly turns our attention.
For twelve long years she had been sick; and her case, like that of the, ruler's daughter, baffled the skill of the medical men. Physician after physician was consulted, and fee after fee paid, till all that she had was gone, and she was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse. Oh, those weary twelve years during which the heart of this suffering woman had been beaten about like a shuttlecock between hope and despair—one day thinking she was gaining strength, the next day finding she was not; one physician given up and another tried, but all alike impotent to do her any good, until poverty and a long unbroken series of disappointments bade her hope for health no more, but prepare for the final issue—the coffin and the grave.
What a picture have we here of the sinner's condition! How it speaks of that incurable disease—sin—from which humanity everywhere is suffering, and of the anxious but fruitless efforts of many a soul to find spiritual health and healing. Yes, sin is an awful reality; and death and sorrow and crying and pain and tears are the bitter fruits of it in this world; and how infinitely more sad and solemn its results in the world to come. And this cruel and malignant foe has made a prey of every heart, and manifests its presence and its power in man's insubjection to God, in lawlessness, for "sin is lawlessness." It is a terrible thing to be a sinner, and the fact that all have sinned does not lessen the terribleness of it any more than the power of cholera to kill would be lessened by every individual in the country being seized with it together. "All have sinned." Alas! alas! that it should be so.
Many are the means which well-intentioned persons have devised to repress or at least check certain forms in which sin shows itself. There are societies for the promotion of temperance, of social purity; societies for the circulation of wholesome literature, and for the suppression of vice; but all such agencies, when they have accomplished their highest measure of good, leave the sinner's state before God untouched. The sore healed upon the surface frets underneath; the chained demoniac is a demoniac still; the rotten ship is not made sound by being painted on the outside. Stanch the bleeding wounds of humanity as much as you may, man remains a sinner; and the question for each is, What do you purpose doing in reference to your having sinned against God?
If you set yourself earnestly to work, determined to lead a better life in every sense of the word, in what way would that make your condition less hopeless than it is? If a man is deeply in debt, his circumstances are not improved by his resolve not to add to his indebtedness. If in the future he pays cash for all he buys, that does not liquidate his former debts—the past remains, and it is written that "God requireth that which is past" (Eccles. 3:1515That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past. (Ecclesiastes 3:15)).
It is the natural impulse of the heart to have recourse to many physicians. No one likes to regard his case as hopeless. No one likes to believe himself lost as far as his own efforts go. When the prodigal's last penny was spent, and no man gave unto him, he did not begin at once to think of his father's house, nor determine to return thither. He will seek to mend his broken fortunes somehow; anything rather than go back in poverty and rags, and own the sin and folly of his ways. But if God is dealing with your soul, it is to that point you must be brought; and the longer you fight against it, the longer will your misery last. If you still resist, God will suffer you to go on till your last cent is gone, and your last interview with the physicians is over; and what will you then do? Poor and strengthless, sick and ready to die, to whom will you then turn?
The woman of our narrative had come to this when someone told her of Jesus. What her informant said we know not, but it is easy to imagine how hope sprang up afresh within her heart-hope which maketh not ashamed-as she heard of the One whose power had never been known to fail. Here was a new Physician to whom the poor were as welcome as the rich, and from whom healing virtue flowed at the first touch of those who felt their need of Him. To Him then she would go, and at once; so gathering her garments about her, she straightway mingled with the great crowd in the street.
Little by little did this afflicted soul elbow her way through the throng. Hope gave her fresh strength, and her faith led her to dare what otherwise she would have shrunk from; for, as men speak, the crowd was no place for her. But she said, "If I may touch but His clothes, I shall be whole"; and this was no small matter for one who had suffered many things of many physicians, an d was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse. Silently and unobserved she drew near and stretching out the hand touched the hem of His garment. The act was weak, but how rich in its results! The simple touch of this feeble woman ended in her perfect cure. What she had sought in vain all those long years now came to her in a moment, not as the reward of incessant labor or almost endless research, but the happy fruit of a faith that brought her into personal contact with Jesus.
Nor is it otherwise today. The sinner that comes to the Savior does not remain unblessed. The serpent-bitten Israelites lived when they looked on the serpent of brass; and the conscience-stricken jailor at Philippi was saved the moment he believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation tomorrow might do very well for any who are sure of living till tomorrow, but for those who know the uncertainty of human life a present salvation is required. This is what God presents. Salvation now, free and everlasting, is found in Christ for everyone that believes. The soul that believes in Him is saved, everlasting life is his, into judgment he shall never come, he has already passed from death to life (John 5:2424Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. (John 5:24)).
And this dear, timid woman, having received healing, would now return home as unheeded as she came. Little did she think that her faint touch had been noticed by the Savior; but it was happy for her that it had. So with His question and His look He called her from the clustering crowd. Fearing and trembling she came and fell down before Him, and told Him all the truth. Everything was out. She who had secretly obtained the blessing is now in the presence of the Blesser, and what will He say? Will He blame her boldness in coming to Him as it were by stealth, and censure her lack of courage in not asking for healing in the open day? Far from that—He calls her to His feet that she might know the heart of Him whose power she had already proved. "Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague." She can now go back with the blessing confirmed in her possession, and her spirit rejoicing in the One who had blessed her thus.
When the soul has received eternal blessing from Christ, it is well that there should be a firm confession of His name. It was due to Him that this one should declare "before all the people for what cause she had touched Him, and how she was healed immediately." Who can tell the effect of this personal and public testimony? By it the faith that was ready to falter may have receive d strength, and some hearing of what Jesus had done may have hastened to tell of Him to others whose case was as hopeless as hers.
Another point may be noticed. Numbers may flock around Jesus and touch Him, but at the touch of faith alone the healing streams flow forth. It is only when such a touch is given that the Savior can say, "Somebody hath touched Me." And has this no voice for those who crowd around Christ, so to speak, in places where His name is named?
There they like to go, as their going gives a tone to their respectability, which would not be complete without it. Moreover, it quiets the conscience and rocks it to sleep in the cradle of self-complacency. But alas! how few among the many who handle the externals of religion have touched the hem of His garment in faith and in felt need! How few know Him savingly, yet not to know Him thus is not to know Him at all.
"And didst Thou feel the gentle touch
Amid the noisy rabble throng;
Knowing that need of Thee had drawn
A weak one, that rude crowd among?
"With sickened frame, and trembling heart,
She crept unnoticed through the throng;
And, sheltered 'neath those healing wings,
She found, at once, her burden gone.
"Her need was answered-and unseen
As she had come, she hoped to go,
Alone to love that healing One
Whom soon she'd as Messiah know.
"But no-the words, 'Who touched My clothes?'
Gave birth to thoughts which none could tell;
She had spent all-had naught to give-
And trembling at His feet she fell.
"She knew Him not. 'Be of good cheer'
Threw peace, and joy, and light around,
As rainbow-drops from heaven descend
In grateful showers on thirsty ground.
"Her fears dispelled, she sees Him now
Her God and Savior, looking love;
He'd been her hope of comfort here,
And now her hope of joy above."