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journey, the circumstance occurred to which the text refers, and which it is proposed to consider more particularly in the subsequent part of this discourse. A poor woman came behind Him in the crowd, and merely touched the border of His garment, and was at once healed of an inveterate malady.
It would doubtless greatly strengthen the faith of the ruler in the mighty power of the Lord Jesus, when he saw so wonderful a cure performed in this extraordinary manner. And there was need of it. For just as Jesus had uttered the kind expressions recorded in the text, word was brought to the ruler that his daughter was actually dead, and therefore it would be of no use to give the Master or Teacher the trouble of going to the house, since it was too late to use any means for her recovery." 14 Jesus, however, encouraged the man yet to believe in His power, and assured him that his daughter should be restored to health; and continued to accompany him homewards. And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, He saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, as it was the custom when a person was dead. The usual preparations were making for the funeral of the child. A multitude of people was collected, that wept and wailed greatly. The minstrels or pipers were in readi
14 Mark v. 35, 36. Luke viii. 49, 50.
15 Mark v. 38.
ness to attend the funeral procession; it being customary in the hot countries of the east, to convey the body to the tomb in a few hours after the spirit had departed. Jesus then said unto them, Give place; for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. He dismissed the minstrels, and desired the assembled crowd to depart, telling them that they were mistaken in supposing that the spirit of the child was irrecoverably gone from her body. And they laughed him to scorn, as if He was speaking of a matter of which He was ignorant, since He had not yet seen her; while they had full evidence that she was really dead.
But when the people were put forth out of the ruler's house, with some difficulty, as the expression implies, He went in with the father and mother of the damsel, and three of His disciples, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose, or as St. Luke says, Her spirit came again, and she arose straightway; and He commanded to give her meat. And her parents were astonished,16 as well they might be, on receiving their daughter back to life again, and witnessing the mighty power of the Lord Jesus not only in healing the sick, but also in restoring life to the dead. And the fame thereof went abroad into all that land. It was so extraordinary an event, that the account of
16 Luke viii. 55, 56.
it was spread abroad from one to another, notwithstanding Jesus charged them that they should tell no man what was done. They could not refrain from expressing their gratitude, and their admiration of His wonder-working power. This is justly considered to be a greater miracle than that which is referred to in the text; but the circumstances which attended the miracle that was performed while our blessed Lord was going with the ruler, are of such an interesting nature, that I have preferred enlarging upon them more particularly at the present time.
The Evangelist proceeds to state that while our Lord Jesus Christ was on His way to the ruler's house, Behold, a woman which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind Him, and touched the hem of His garment: for she said within herself, If I may but touch His garment, I shall be whole. The disorder with which this poor woman was afflicted, was one of those which by the law of Moses rendered the person who laboured under them ceremonially unclean; and all those who touched the unclean person became unclean themselves, and were required to purify themselves before they could be admitted to join in the service of the sanctuary.18 This poor woman had been under the power of her distressing complaint for
17 Luke viii. 56.
18 Leviticus xv. 25-27.
twelve years. And, St. Mark adds, that she had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse. 19 She heard at length of the miracles of healing which were wrought by our Lord Jesus Christ; and joined the crowd which attended His steps, in the hope that she might obtain from Him that cure which she had sought in vain from others. But at the same time she feared to touch Him, lest her presumption should excite His displeasure, and her misery should be increased. She imagined, however, that by watching an opportunity and going behind Him, where she would not be seen, and then touching the hem or fringe at the extremity of His garment, she might receive a cure, and give no offence to the Prophet. She did so, and immediately found that the disease left her, and she was healed. According to her faith it was done to her.
She then thought to have departed unperceived. But Jesus turned round, and said, Who touched My clothes ?19 Somebody hath touched Me; for I perceive that virtue is gone out of Me.20 And He looked about to see the woman who had been healed. And when she perceived that His eye was fixed upon her, and that she could not be hid, she came forward with fear and
19 Mark v. 26, 30.
20 Luke viii. 46.
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. Then, as it is said in the text, Jesus turned Him about, and when He saw her humbled at His feet, He said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. She was thus dismissed in peace, and the ruler of the synagogue was encouraged by what he had witnessed to believe with greater confidence than before in the mighty power of the Lord Jesus.
But the case of this poor woman may represent to us our own spiritual condition, and point us to the almighty Physician of souls, who is as willing and as able to extend His compassion to us, as He was to vouchsafe healing to her in the days of His flesh. She was afflicted
with a disease which made her unclean in the sight of all around her, so that none would associate with her for fear of contracting pollution to themselves by means of it. What a picture does this present to us of man in his natural state as a sinner against God. He is unclean, not ceremonially, but morally unclean; and because of his uncleanness he is cut off from communion with God. That glorious Being, whose name is HOLY, and who dwelleth in the high and holy place,22 is of purer eyes than to be
21 Luke viii. 47,
22 Isaiah lvii. 15.