"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 spent all that she had, and was nothing
bettered, but rather grew worse, when she 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 oh that plague." - MARK 5: 24 -
That we should find in the miracles of healing which the
Lord wrought upon the body, the types and patterns of spiritual healing, cannot
be thought strange This healing of the soul was certainly the great thing in
His mind always. That of the body was a display of Divine power soon to pass
away. The records remain not only as the witness of that power manifested in
goodness among men, and manifesting the glory of the Son of God. According to
His own words with regard to the healing of the palsied man, it was that they
"might know that the Son of Man had power on earth to forgive sin," that
He bade him arise, take up his bed, and go unto his house. The bodily healing,
which they could see, was to be the assurance of the reality of the spiritual
healing which they could not see.
This, of course, was not saying that
the one was actually a type or figure of the other, but it prepares its at
least to find without much wonder the lesser miracle speak of the greater. Nor
must we be surprised that no such interpretation of what is here is given us.
The perfection of the picture is that it speaks to the eye for itself without
the need of any. Even so has the healing of the bloody issue spoken ever since
the day of its record here by one "moved by the Holy Ghost."
The expectation of a miracle had brought for a moment a crowd around
the Lord. A ruler of the synagogue had besought Him for his daughter,
lying at the point of death. "And Jesus went with him; and much people
followed Him and thronged Him." It was for the most part an idle crowd,
just such as would be shouting at no distant time, "Away with Him! away
with Him! crucify Him!" There is no hint of anything better as to them.
Their thronging and pressing upon Him was no good sign, but the
reverse. If they "followed Him," it was outside interest, not love or
reverence for Him. No "virtue" went out of Him whom they pressed on,
for their need, if need they had. They had no real dealing or
intercourse with Him at all.
It is very like what is going on at
the present day, when, in these professedly Christian times, a crowd is
pressing in the self-same way around the Lord. There is much apparent
"following." If we look closer, how much through outside influences, how little
from real heart for Christ Himself. How few can speak of "virtue" which has
come out of Him for them; of eternal life which they have gotten through Him;
of justification from all things by His blood.
Amid all this, however,
a need that nothing else can meet brings the soul to Christ, and the touch of
faith finds virtue in Him as of old. "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"
how many who read this, perhaps, will say, "That is my picture. How many
remedies have I tried for my condition, and I am as far from peace as ever, and
more hopless than ever now of finding it." But let us look at what is here more
"An issue of blood twelve years." A slow, steady, unchecked
draining of the life away. A thing not in all its dread significance perceived
at once, but surely making itself felt as time goes on, paling the brightness
of all the eye looks on and stealing away all vigour of enjoyment, until the
pall and shadow of death lies everywhere, and life is labour, and all under the
sun is vanity. Know it as we may, or not, this is everywhere a disease we
suffer from. Little, if at all, understood in the flush and fervour of youth,
when the world is yet untried, its reality gradually, but too soon, steals in
upon us. "The world passeth away." There is a doom upon it. Its freshness
fades. Its blossoms wither. He that drinketh of this water thirsts again, and
it becomes more and more impossible to find even temporary satisfaction from
This is the effect of the "issue of blood." It is what sin has
wrought. It is the mark of Cain, "a fugitive and a vagabond upon the earth."
Everything is fleeting, naught abiding. Death is the palpable mark upon sin.
And oh, when the eye is opened, what a world! Could there be aught but death
for it? Could it go on, such as it is, forever, under the eye of a holy and
But it is my sin that brings the want and weariness and
dissatisfaction everywhere into my own soul. It is that I am away from God. For
if able to look up out of the midst of it all to One enthroned above it,
infinitely good as infinitely great, and with Divine power working out
unfailingly the counsels of Divine love, - weariness and unrest would be gone,
and acquaintance with Him would give peace, deep and unbroken.
alas I when I think of Him, conscience has its tale to tell against me, and
cast me off from confidence in Him. My indifference, my enmity to Himself,
become in my thoughts the argument (judging Him by myself) that He must be
careless of or hostile towards me. Sin is upon me, alas, condemning me before
Him, and sin is in me, accusing Him to my heart; and yet it is with Him I have
to do. Here, then, is my issue of blood, draining out of my soul its all of
life and joy and satisfaction.
"An issue of blood twelve years!"
But that was not all with this poor woman. She "had suffered many things of
many physicians." The effort to get relief had thrown her into the hands of
those who could accomplish nothing for her, but only added to her affliction.
How sure a thing it is, if we have felt anything of soul-sickness, that we
shall be prone to try any and every invention of man, rather than the
Lord’s own simple and effectual way of healing. And the equally sure
result is, if we are under Divine teaching, that we find suffering instead of
healing. God’s gospel is the "gospel of peace;" all other gospels fall
short of this. Indeed these others are all one at bottom; they bear the marks
of one mind from which they all come, for if it is not God’s truth we
follow, it is the devil’s lie.
Thus all men’s religious
inventions will be found to base themselves upon and suit themselves to the
natural thought as to God. They suppose Him against men, and needing to have
His heart turned to favour them; and for this purpose some work of man’s
own needed, to make (as they put it) their peace with Him. Herein is torture
enough for a divinely awakened soul. For what is he to do, who has never yet
done even his bare duty? How is he to make up for the past, who is for ever
adding to his sin? Or if God’s mercy will put away the past, still what
about this present constant falling short? Will God excuse him again in this?
If so, in how much, for this mercy must surely have a limit? "Keep the
commandments?" This in the whole he cannot. But "do the best he can;" this too,
he finds, he has not. Will God, - can He, accept less than even this? Where
then draw the line, and upon which side of the line, - accepted or rejected, -
does he stand?
Thus all is suffering here, for to such questions there
is no answer. Under this system of treatment, if we are in earnest, like the
woman in this story, we are "nothing bettered, but rather grow worse."
‘the end is total bankruptcy, and that every way: "she had spent all that
Can do helpless sinners good."
In such a
condition there is one advantage, and, that a great one: the "many physicians"
disappear. For one simply "lost" they have no remedy, - can hold out no further
hope. But one physician, and but one method of cure, remains.
strange faith comes into the soul at the end of so many trials! "When she had
heard of Jesus, she came in the press behind, and touched his garment; "for
she said If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole." What gave her
such strange assurance? Just her need. He suited her so well. His grace in its
freeness commended itself so to her. He was no vendor of patent medicines, made
no profit of the help He brought her. This wondrous prodigality of blessing
flowing out of Him for every need was the broad seal of heaven to His corn
mission. It spoke in her heart with all the sweetness of Divine authority, and
she gave herself up to the joy it brought, without a doubt.
This is the
kinship - so simple, and yet so much misapprehended - between "repentance
toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." For repentance is indeed
that which introduces us to the blessed reality of what He is. We "repent," and
we "believe the gospel." Not as if repentance were a legal condition, or
legality at all, but, on the contrary. the breakdown of it. To "abhor
ourselves" with Job is not self-righteousness; it is self emptiness, the
conviction of helplessness and evil, to which only the freeness and fullness of
the gospel suit. It is not the doing of something for God, but the conviction
of inability to do, which shuts us up to simple receiving of the gift of
righteousness." Then how simple indeed faith is, and how suited and sufficient
a Saviour Christ becomes!
The faith of the woman with the bloody issue
found its answer from the Lord. Faith always does, for all it counts upon Him
for. "And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in
her body that she was healed of that plague."
Notice how the Lord’s
healing distinguished itself from all others. It was no lengthy process. He did
not put this woman under a course of treatment, as some interpreters of His
dealings with the soul would make Him that case do. No, it was immediate
healing. "Straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up." How blessed is
this! How sure that as to soul-salvation the Lord’s way is precisely
similar. "Thy sins be forgiven thee" were His first words to the palsied man.
"Thy faith hath saved thee," to many another. Nowhere did He put those who came
to Him through a probationary course to get their sins forgiven and to find
peace with God. And now we are assured in the gospel of a peace made, - a
"peace preached," or proclaimed as made. "He is our peace." Faith welcomes
this, and enters into it at once.
First faith, then feeling; "she felt
in her body." "Ah," says some one who reads this, "that’s what I am
waiting for. I want to feel that I am healed." But observe, dear reader, she
did not wait to feel. She said, "If I may but touch, I shall be healed." She
touched, with the assurance that touch brought healing with it. How much more
should you come to Him now with the assurance that you are received, when He
says, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." Come to Him, saying,
"I know Thou receivest me," and you will find feeling the result of faith; but
if you wait for feeling to tell you you are received, you are dishonouring Him
by discrediting His word; and how can you expect happy feelings while you are
Here all is in its place. Her feelings were the honor put upon
her faith. She had hold of the blessing, never doubting it was hers, although
she had no other assurance but the grace which was flowing out around. We have,
on the other hand, the distinct positive word of the Lord that whoever comes to
Him is received.
"Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried
up." And what a wondrous healing is that with us, when the "salvation of
God" makes us to know the "God of salvation." Not against us, as we thought,
but having righteous title to show Himself for us through the Cross of Jesus;
our "issue of blood" healed by the shedding of the blood of our spotless
Substitute. No work of our own sufficing; but no work of our own needed. And
all revealed in such unclouded light, that not to have simple certainty of it
is unbelief, and sin. How the heart is brought back to God by this wondrous
manifestation of what He is, and is to us! He who has given Jesus for us is the
One in whose hand all things are. To know this is quietness and assurance of
One word more. In the case of this woman, the Lord claims from her
the public acknowledgment of what she had got from Him. She would have stolen
the cure and got off unperceived. But no! she must own Him now, that He too may
own her before them all. "Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in
peace, and be whole of thy plague." Let me urge this upon all healed ones, the
claim which the Lord makes on them for open confession of Him. It is everything
for happiness as Christians to be confessors of Christ, to be open, decided
followers of His. It will cost us something before a world which rejects Him
still, but it is a small cost, for an infinite gain; for the principle is
always true, "Them that honour Me will I honour." The Lord give us boldness,
beloved brethren, and devotedness to Him who has bought us with His precious
blood, that we might be a people formed for Himself, to show forth all His