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'The hem of His garment.'

Mark Chapter 5 Verses 25-35

In these verses we are not told the womanís name, however we are told that she had been haemorrhaging for twelve years. She had tried many physicians, spent all her money and was worse now than ever.

We never know thankfully what a day or and our may bring forth in our lives. Little did this woman know what awaited her as she awoke that morning? I wonder how much sleep she managed the night before. Her illness would be sapping her strength and her energy. Unanswered prayer would have sorely tried her mind and her soul. Waiting upon God is never easy and unanswered prayer is one of the most difficult trials the Christian has to face in this life. The Lord may for our own good and for our spiritual growth, bring into our lives a sore trail and perplexing providence; it may be illness, financial problems, unem0ployment or someone in our family that is yet without Christ. It may even be an unfulfilled promise from the Lord. What ever it is it will lead you to plead before God for help and you will wait and wait for an answer to your prayers.

Trials like the kind that this woman had may last for many years and often because of our unbelief and impatience we try every conceivable way possible to be rid of our problem in our own way and in our own strength. This however leads to even greater distress and an even sorer trial because we are fight against God.

Life may get very dark indeed for the child of God and often we feel as though we cannot go on any further. We feel loneliness in a new way because the Lord has driven us into a place where no man can help. Everything then is difficult for us. Prayers are cut to cries of help or have mercy upon me Lord. Facing people is horrendous and you feel as if they know the darkness that invades your soul. The thought of fellowships puts a shiver up your spine: after all what have they got to offer anyone in this state! No one can help you. The days seem endless and the same boring, monotonous routine very day. Day after day! Praise the Lord for your bed. Rest at last, but can you sleep? No! Why not? Because all too soon it will be morning again and you will have to face the world again! Is that your experience as you read this? I am sure that this woman dreaded the morning but little did she know that today was to be the most important day of her life. You can just imagine her coming out of her house and asking one of the passers by what was the crowd doing in her village today? When she heard that at the centre of the crowd there was a man called Jesus you can well imagine the flicker of hope that would have sprung up in her breast.

She would most likely have heard of the miraculous cures from leprosy, the blind receiving their sight, the deaf hearing and the lame the ability to walk. The adrenaline would be pumping now and her heart racing. She fought and tunnelled her way through the crowd like someone fleeing to the city of refuge with the avenger of death at their heels. Weak though she was she found strength to push and shove and squeeze her way nearer and nearer to Jesus. Suddenly she came behind Him and touched the hem of His garment. Miracle of miracles the fountain of blood that had flowed for twelve years had stopped!

Before I go on any further there are two points of interest that I would like to draw to your attention. First, according to the law this woman had no right to be where she was because she was classed as being unclean. If she would come into contact with anyone then that person would also become unclean. The law demanded that she lived separately from any one else until such time as she was healed. Even then she had to bring two doves to the High Priest and he would offer one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. The High Priest would then make atonement for her before the Lord and only then could she be pronounced clean.

Second, the High Priests having been called to their office by God were anointed with oil. This oil flowed down from their heads to the hems of their garments. This signified the anointing of Christ as our High Priest as being a complete Saviour. The Lord had commanded the children of Israel to sow borders onto their garments as a constant reminder of the law. The Pharisees had taken this to extreme and they used to sow broad borders onto their garments to show their fellow man how good they were at keeping the law. It was an outward show to men but an abomination to God.

What had been going through this womanís main? Could it be she realised that she had tried to keep the law herself and had failed miserably. She therefore cast herself on the mercy of God in Christ knowing that Christ is the end of the law to all those who believe.

One thing is certain; Christ knew that someone had touched Him because virtue had gone out of Him. This does not mean that Christ had lost any power or that His glory or power was awning. No, it was His delight that someone had drawn strength from Him. He was not angry, He was glad that this woman had been healed and so He asks the question, who touched me? His disciples thought that He was beside Himself asking what to them seemed to be a stupid question, knowing that people all around Him were touching Him. Jesus asked the question for two reasons.

First, if He had not the miracle might have gone unnoticed.

Second, He gave the woman her first opportunity to witness for Him.

The woman knowing what was done in her, fell down before Him and told Jesus the truth. The Lord then rewarded her with these words of comfort, "Daughter thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace and be whole of thy plague."

Simple words yet so precious to that woman for in these words we see her adoption, her justification and the start of her sanctification. Sanctification is Godís work and it is an ongoing process as God works in us His will and conforms us to the image of Jesus. Justification is also Godís work and this happens once, at our new birth. It is the cornerstone doctrine of the Reformed faith. How can a Holy God justify the ungodly? Let me take you into the Heavenly courtroom. God the Holy Spirit leads this woman into the dock. There stands another beside her whose name is Jesus. God the Father reads out the charges against her. Every sin that she has committed. "How do you plead?" He asks. Guilty is the reply. Justice demands that these sins be punished. The wages of sin is death. Jesus then steps forward and says, "I am willing to take this womanís punishment for her if you will credit her with my spotless, sinless life." Justice agrees and Christ stands condemned and pays the wages for her sin. She is free to go clothed in the righteousness of Christ and with the Fatherís blessing. Now she walks in newness of life but one other thing happens to her. She is adopted into the fatherís household. The Heavenly Judge has become her Heavenly Father.

Jesus taught his disciples to pray, "our father who art in HeavenÖ.". He could not join them in that prayer because, although He also called the First Person of the Godhead, father, the relationship was totally different. God the father was His Father by Eternal Generation and He was their Father by adoption.

We started thinking about this woman facing the morning, but can you imagine what her mornings would be like from then on. Every day she would rise from her bed and hear these words, "daughter thy faith hath made thee whole, go in peace and be whole of thy plague.

If the going is tough for you today and there is mush pain and darkness in your life, then think of what happened to this woman. Today may also be the day when your life changes. It only takes a meeting with Jesus. Weeping may for a night endure but at morn doth joy arise. The storm is changed into a clam at His command and will, so that the waves which raged before now quiet are and still.

Iain Mackenzie