Jesus Making Whole

or, the Woman in the Crowd.

Mark 5:24-34.

There was remarkable simplicity in the ways of Jesus. His words also were full of deep doctrine, and the more we meditate on them, under the teaching of the Holy Ghost, the more we shall be convinced of the profound truth often embodied in them. His heart was always as full of grace when He walked up and down this earth doing good, as when He died upon the cross; and oh! how blessed it is to trace Him in the various incidents recorded in the gospels, and to contemplate the exceeding rich and abundant grace that He manifested! It is wonderful that Christ — the only begotten of the Father — should ever have been seen in this world of sin, except in fiery judgment; but to find Him leaving the heights of glory and bliss, to come into this evil world to save sinners, is surpassingly wonderful.

In the Scripture for our consideration we find that Jesus was in the midst of a crowd of persons. We are told that "much people followed Him." Thousands, probably, surrounded Him. Apostles were there, and Jairus, one of the rulers of the synagogue, was there also; but most of those who pressed and thronged Him came only to see His miracles, and to be partakers of His temporal bounty in the loaves.

It must have been deeply interesting to behold a man heal the sick, cast out devils, cleanse the lepers, and raise the dead to life. There was something attractive to the natural senses in seeing such miraculous power put forth. Jesus had just before cast out many devils from a man, and was on his way to a ruler's house to raise his dead child to life. There was, I say, something deeply interesting in all this. People liked to see such wonderful works. They thus made Jesus an object of interest to their minds; but, lamentable to say, they knew Him not as their Saviour. They did not regard Him as the Redeemer of the lost, but as a worker of miracles. They knew Him only as an object of present interest, but not as the author of "eternal salvation." This is very solemn; but, I ask, are not the same principles at work now? Is there not a vast religious crowd all around us? Are not multitudes making Christian religion, as they call it, a subject of interest and conversation, without knowing Christ crucified as their Saviour? It is astonishing how many people in this and other countries like to be accounted Christians. If English people go to the land of Hottentots, or to idolatrous India or China, do they not generally wish to be considered Christians? Oh, my reader, beware of any religion that comes short of present forgiveness of sins, and eternal salvation through the finished work of Christ! Do not rest, I beseech you, until you can truthfully say, "Christ has cleansed me from all my sins, and I am in Him."

The crowd that surrounded Jesus cared little for Him, because they knew nothing of His person and work; and the mass of people operated rather as a hindrance to a sin-convicted, helpless one coming to Jesus. So it is now. Who, I ask, are the great hinderers of the gospel in our day? Are they not those persons who make a religious profession without a vital acquaintance with Christ Himself? those who are content to hear about Christ, without having received Christ in their hearts as their salvation? Are not nominal Christians the very persons who cry out against brokenness of heart, repentance, the new birth, and present forgiveness of sins? But, blessed be God whatever apparent hindrances there may be to souls coming to Jesus, His eternal purpose must stand; and a living faith in a living Saviour allows nothing to hinder it from that object, which is felt to be of such pressing necessity and eternal importance — Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

There was one person in the midst of this crowd of people in whose heart the Holy Spirit was effectually working, and, as far as we know, she was the only one. So it has often been, and still is. Hundreds and thousands crowd to hear the gospel, but the heart of one only may be opened to receive it.

In the narrative we are considering there are two points which I desire, as the Lord may graciously help, to make a few remarks upon. 1. The work of the Spirit in the soul of the woman; and 2. The way of Christ with this sinner.

1. The Spirit's Work in the Woman. When the Holy Ghost takes a soul in hand, He teaches effectually. He uncovers the filthy rags of self-righteousness, exposes the rotten patches of self-reformation, and gives us a true knowledge of our state before God. He is the Spirit of Truth. He convinces of sin. He lays bare the heart by so applying the written word as to show its desperate wickedness in the light of God's holy presence. He fastens upon the conscience the vile workings, unclean thoughts, desires, and intents of the heart.
"He never leads a man to say,
 Thank God, I'm made so good;
But turns his eye another way —
 To Jesus and His blood."

Ah, my reader, it is very solemn and humiliating to be under the Holy Spirit's convicting power. He makes us feel that we are lost and undone, and shows us that every human resource is only a sandy foundation. He makes us sensible of the fact, that the all-searching eye of God is upon us, that He knows us thoroughly, and justly pronounces us to be unrighteous, unholy, and unclean before Him.

Now look at the woman. She not only felt that she had a disease, but that it was incurable — that no earthly resource, no human means, could heal her. She had long tried various expedients, and knew what it was to "suffer many things," until she had "spent all her living;" but the end proved that "she was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse." Thus all help failed, all hope was gone. She felt that her condition was hopeless, helpless, and incurably bad. Blessed picture of the Spirit's work in the soul, though a humbling and painful process for the proud heart to pass through!

Most people around us know that they are sinners. Ask whom you will, the answer is, "I know I am a sinner." But when the Spirit of God works in the heart, He teaches men that they are lost sinners, hell-deserving sinners, helpless and guilty sinners before God. Many who say that they are sinners, do not mean that they are born in sin, full of sin, dead in sins, children of wrath. It is because people do not know their real state that they, like the woman, try this or that expediency, vainly hoping to make themselves better. They go here and there, leave off some old habits, put on a measure of outward sanctity, break through certain long-accustomed ways, and adopt other lines of pursuit; hoping in this way to commend themselves to the favour of God, and procure ease of conscience. Many a man, when he knows that he has transgressed against God's law, endeavours to atone for it by outward reformation, blindly thinking that there is some ability in himself so to act for the future as to conceal the past. But we may be sure, that if the Spirit of God is working in their souls, they will feel "nothing bettered" by these things, but that they "rather grow worse;" for the Holy Spirit will so open up to them the desperate wickedness and deceitfulness of their hearts, that, after all their carnal contrivances, they will feel the plague of sin worse than before.

Oh, my reader, if you are trying to make yourself better, if you are going about to establish your own righteousness, thinking to commend yourself to God by anything of your own, may you now see the folly of it, and solemnly feel the truth that you are a lost sinner in the sight of God! Do not any longer be content to form one of the religious crowd around us, the church-going, chapel-going multitude, who pass by repentance and the new birth, and yet presume to take Christian ground; but may you turn to the Lord Jesus, who is exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins.

It appears from the Scripture record, that this woman, in her sad condition, heard of one who could cure her. "She had heard of Jesus" — she heard that He could do what men could not do.

What blessed intelligence for a poor disconsolate soul! How welcome were the tidings! She felt her plague; she had proved the failing of every human prescription; she had "spent all," and was worse than ever. Now how did she treat the report? Did she hear, and not act? No. She came to Jesus. Oh, yes; the Spirit of God leads the soul straight to Jesus. He reveals to the sin-stricken soul Jesus crucified as a present and an eternal salvation. The woman was thoroughly convinced that Jesus, and Jesus only, could heal her. It was not the venerable Jairus, nor even ordained apostles, that she felt she needed; only JESUS, for she knew that He could heal her, and He only. Her faith beheld Him in the midst of the vast crowd, like an overflowing fountain of living water, and she felt she must drink or die. She said within herself, "If I may but touch His clothes, I shall be whole." She was sure there was virtue in Jesus, and that it flowed freely to the touch of faith, and have it she must. Her necessity was most urgent and imperative. Neither the press of people, nor anything else, could hinder her making her way through the crowd, till she touched His garment, and had the healing virtue. She knew Christ as the giver, and she came simply as a needy receiver — she touched His garment. How blessed is this sample of faith! What discrimination was wrought in her soul, by the Spirit of God, between crowding around Jesus, and the touch of faith! Now, mark the result. She felt that she was healed of that plague.

Before we proceed further, let us seek to apply this. We tell you, dear reader, of Jesus the Son of God, who came into the world to save sinners. We present to you His death as the Sin-bearer upon the tree; for "He died the Just for the unjust, to bring us to God." We testify of His blood; for the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin. Dear reader, Jesus only can save you from the wrath to come, and He can save to the uttermost. All Scripture points thus to Jesus. God the Father draws sinners to Jesus. Jesus Himself says to the heavy laden sinner, "Come unto me, and I will give you rest." The Holy Spirit leads the convicted sinner to Jesus. The gospel declares there is salvation in no other. Your state as a sinner is incurably bad. You are lost. You now hear of Jesus, that blessed Saviour who came to seek and to save the lost. God commands this good news to be published. How do you treat this blessed report? Do you come to Jesus to save you! You have just seen that many crowded around Jesus, but only the touch of faith got virtue out of Him. It is not merely hearing of Jesus, or reading about Jesus, or talking about Jesus, that will save you. No; those taught of the Spirit of God know that they must perish for ever, except they come to Jesus to be cleansed by His precious blood. Oh, my reader, Jesus delighteth in mercy! Though He sits on heaven's throne, His eye discerns your inmost thoughts, and His ear can welcome the feeblest cry. He knows how thoroughly sinful you are, and still He says, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." Be assured that He will not be indifferent to your case, if you desire His salvation. The Father will run to meet you when you are a great way off, and then you will feel happier than you ever did before. You will know Jesus as the One who put away your sins by the blood of His cross, who was brought again from the dead by the blood of the everlasting covenant, and who entered into heaven itself by His own blood. Be assured, dear reader, that as soon as your troubled, sin-sick soul looks to the atoning death of Jesus, believing God's testimony to the value of that blood, you will feel whole of your plague; for you will see that Jesus bare your sins, and put them away for ever, under the judgment of God, by His death upon the cross. You will then no longer dread the wrath of God, but will enjoy peace in His holy presence, and be able to sing —
"He ransomed me from hell with blood,
 And by His power my foes controlled;
He found me wandering far from God,
 And brought me to His chosen fold."

2. Consider the Way of Jesus with this Sinner.

It was a serious moment with the woman, as well as a precious occasion for the out-flowing of the love of Him who was full of grace and truth. Jesus was on His way to the ruler's house, whose daughter was said to be "at the point of death." But the case of this one needy woman was such a weighty matter, that Jesus called the attention of the whole multitude to it. She came behind Him to touch His clothes; but with what gracious majesty did the blessed Lord turn Himself about in the press and say, "Who touched me?" It is blessed to contemplate these ways of the Lord. A sinner had proved the healing virtue of Jesus, and the attention of the whole crowd must be arrested, and the urgent journey must be interrupted for the moment, while the heart of this trembling one is established and comforted, and her Christ-glorifying testimony published. "Who touched my clothes?" said the tender-hearted Jesus. Thus the believing sinner was singled out from among the thousands; for her soul must be farther taught the deep and everlasting intimacy with the Son of God, which she had by faith been brought into. She must be made to feel that her place is not now to be behind the Lord, but to stand before Him in perfect confidence and unclouded affection. Ah, my reader, when Jesus is made known, in the healing virtue of His blood, to any sin-sick soul, an eternal intimacy is begun, and Jesus will show, as He did this woman, something of the dignity and blessing that His own grace has brought us into. He will make us know the things that are freely given to us of God. He will say, "Thou art mine. I will never leave thee. I will uphold and bless thee," etc.

The needy woman had secretly come behind Jesus; but He will have her now stand publicly before Him. There must be dealing with Jesus, and learning the lessons of His healing grace in secret, before any can truly confess Him before men. Jesus turned Himself about in the press; His voice was heard by her; His loving eye singled her out among the crowd of thousands, and the woman fell down before Him, and with a grateful heart told Him all the truth "before all the people." (Luke 8:47.) With fear and trembling, I grant, as we all feel when we first leave the long-accustomed ranks of unbelief, and openly plant our feet beneath the earth-despised shelter of Immanuel's grace.

Oh, my reader, see what an important matter in the mind of heaven is the salvation of one soul! Jesus rejoices over one lost sheep when it is found! The Father runs to meet one returning prodigal! The Holy Spirit often seems to pass by crowds to comfort one poor brokenhearted soul! There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth! How blessed this is!

But notice another thing. Jesus holds up before the multitude the faith of this one woman who had so honoured Him. He receives her worship, confesses His acceptance of her, and proclaims the new and everlasting relationship subsisting between them. Jesus calls her "Daughter." This title showed her new relationship to God. "Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." "Beloved, now are we the sons of God." It is this that the Spirit of God now bears witness to in the consciences of believers. "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God." Christian reader! do you know your sonship? It is not a mere honorary title, like many distinctions of this world, but a new and eternal relationship which God in Christ has brought us into. "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!" Yes; believers in Christ Jesus are sons by choice, by regeneration, and by adoption.

Jesus also told her that she was made whole, and that by faith — "Thy faith hath made thee whole." She had confessed the Lord "before all the people;" but that had not made her whole. It is important to see that it is not our tears, our sorrows, our reformations, or efforts of any kind that make us whole. No; it is Christ, and Christ alone. Scripture always directs us to the blood of Christ for peace, and it also assures us that "whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins." Jesus had made this woman whole. Virtue had gone out of Him. Jesus assured her that the healing was perfect — she was made whole. Yes; Jesus is the Rock, and His work is perfect. He receives returning, sinful prodigals. He cleanses and justifies them by His blood, sends His Spirit into their hearts, and assures them they shall not come into condemnation, but that they have passed from death unto life.

The last words of Jesus to the woman are very emphatic — "Go in peace." The first is a remarkable word — "Go." I often think of it. Some persons never seem to learn its force in their experience. They may be sincere believers, but they are always hanging about Christ with doubts, not knowing forgiveness of sins and present peace; they are constantly asking to be made whole, hoping to be pardoned, etc., when Christ says to them, You are forgiven: "Go." They do not credit the glorious truth of present forgiveness and liberty of sonship; they are, therefore, in bondage and fear. Jesus would have it otherwise. He says, "Thy faith hath SAVED thee; go in peace!" As much as to say, Have no more doubts, fears, or misgivings; you are made whole, pardoned, reconciled, a child of God, a sinner saved. "Go in peace." Dear reader, if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus, take your right place before God and before men as saved! Wherever you go, go in peace as to your salvation, knowing that Christ has removed your transgressions from you as far as the east is from the west; and your sins and iniquities, God says, He will remember no more.

Perhaps one of my readers may be saying, "Am I pardoned?" "Are my sins forgiven?" Important questions indeed. Be persuaded, my friend, and take your right place before God as a guilty sinner; turn away from every other refuge, and come straight to Jesus, and to Jesus only, for salvation. Trust only in His death. Behold Him bearing sin in His own body on the tree, and the fierce wrath of Jehovah poured out upon His Son, because of the sins that were laid upon Him. Then hear God's testimony: "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth, in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. "Believing God's record of the value of the cross of Christ for your salvation, He warrants your saying, "I am God's child. Jesus hath atoned for my sins; with His stripes I am healed."

Oh, my reader! what will become of you if you die without Christ? Is it not written, "He that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him"? Oh, think of this, I earnestly beseech you! You are full of sin. You now hear of Jesus as the only Saviour of sinners. How do you treat Him? Do you come to Him to save you, or do you despise Him? Remember that when the woman in the crowd heard of Jesus, she came to Him to heal her, never rested till she touched Him, and you have read the happy result. Woe, woe unto you, if you neglect this great salvation! How can you escape the eternal torment of the damned, if you continue to set at nought God's gospel? Oh, poor sinner! didst thou but feel thy guilt and danger, how wouldst thou flee to the outstretched arms of the loving Jesus, and long to feel, the cleansing virtue of His blood!

"Fly, then, awakened sinner, fly!
Your case admits no stay;
The fountain's opened now for sin —
Come, wash your guilt away."

"Only by faith in Jesu's blood
The sinner gets release;
No other sacrifice for sin
Will God accept but this."