The Hem of His Garment
May 15th, 1966 @ 7:30 PM
THE HEM OF HIS GARMENT
Dr. W. A. Criswell
5-15-66 7:30 p.m.
On the radio, you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, and we invited you to take your Bible and turn to Luke chapter 8, Luke chapter 8. The Third Gospel, Matthew, Mark, Luke, chapter 8. We shall begin reading at verse 40 and read through verse 48. Luke chapter 8, verses 40 through 48. The title of the sermon tonight is The Hem of His Garment. Now let us read out loud together, beginning at verse 40 through 48:
And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received Him: for they were all waiting for Him.
And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus’ feet, and besought Him that He would come into his house:
For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as He went the people thronged Him.
And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,
Came behind Him, and touched the border of His garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.
And 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? And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched Me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of Me. And 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.
And He said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.
Then in the life of our Lord is the incident that happened in Capernaum when He was invited to leave Gadara on the eastern side of the Lake of Galilee [Luke 8;37]. And when He came to the city of Capernaum there was a great throng of people waiting for Him [Luke 8:40, 42]. Some of them were there out of gratitude. In that city of Capernaum He had healed a demoniac [Luke 8:26-33]. I would think he would be there to receive the Lord. In that city of Capernaum was the household of Simon Peter, and his wife’s mother had been healed of a fever [Luke 4:38-39], and I would think she and her household would be there to receive Him. In that city of Capernaum was the paralytic who was borne of four and let down before the blessed presence of our Lord, and he was healed [Luke 5:18-25]. I would think he would be there to receive Him. And a great multitude of others the Bible says that Jesus healed in Capernaum, I would think all of them would be there. So when the Lord came to the city there was a great multitude, and many of them came out of gratitude for our Savior.
Then a great multitude, I would think, were there out of hope, out of prayer, out of intercession, out of great need. Jairus was one. He had a little daughter, an only daughter, a precious little girl about twelve years of age. And she lay at the door of death, and he was in that throng to ask Jesus to heal his little child. And as the story continues, she had died while Jairus was on the way to make appeal to the Savior for her healing [Luke 8:41-42, -55]. And in that throng was also a woman who had been ill so grievously for twelve years [Luke 8:43]. And the press of people that surrounded our Savior included these who were there out of hope and desperation. You know it is a marvelous thing, what happened when Jesus came to town.
Do you notice how different people respond when different things come to town? When the Metropolitan Opera comes to town, there are certain people that are so thrilled at the presence of those glorious singers. When a prizefighter comes to town and the wrestlers come to town, there are certain people who are so thrilled that these pugilists are in our presence. When the baseball players come to town, when the politicians come to town, when some rich magnate come to town, there are certain people who are thrilled at their presence.
Who’s glad when Jesus came to town, and who were the multitudes that thronged Him on every side? [Luke 8:40,42]. I will tell you. When Jesus came to town, the people who were glad were the sick, and the despairing, and the discouraged, and those who had lost hope in life. And it was an amazing thing, how much misery, and how much sickness there is in any town when Jesus comes.
All of us, as we go through a town, look at it so casually and indifferently, and we come away and we say, why, that is a town of gaiety and pleasure; it is because we don’t understand and we don’t see. We look at the periphery, we look at the edge, we look at the outside. But we never bother and we’re never constrained to look inside. For on the inside of that town, and on the inside of these homes, oh, how many tears and how many heartaches, and how much of sickness, and how much of sadness! And it is these people that thronged around the Lord Jesus when He came to town.
Now in that group that pressed the Lord on every side, there was this poor woman [Luke 8:43]. I would suppose – and this is just a supposition – I would suppose that she was a Gentile, for had she been a Jewish, she would have contaminated with ceremonial uncleanliness everybody that she touched. But being a Gentile, possibly, and certainly having heard of the Great Physician, she made her way in that throng to see the Lord.
But she was very reticent and very timid. By one thing, the nature of her illness would constrain her to be so. For another thing, I would think her natural affinities in life were not objective and outward and buoyant, but they were subjective and inward. She was a timid somebody, a little woman desperately ill, and afraid of the crowds.
But to get to the Lord Jesus she had to go through the crowd, just as it is with us. The crowds are always there, the objectors are there, the carping critics are there, the quibbling cynics are there, the apathetic are there, the indifferent are there. To get to Jesus you have to go through that kind of a crowd. But she determined in her heart that she would see the Lord, that she would find the Lord, that she would ask healing of the Lord. But when time came for the actual confrontation with the Prophet from Nazareth, her spirit failed within her. Her courage oozed out of her very fingertips, and she found herself weak and unable. So she said within her heart, "I will not say, I will not speak, I will not ask, I will not stand in His presence. If I but touch the hem of His garment, I will be made whole" [Matthew 9:21].
Over here in the Book of Deuteronomy and in the Book of Numbers, there are words that the Lord God in heaven wrote for His people, how they were to dress. And among them, in these admonitions, they were to have a fringe on the border of their garments made out of blue. And it is to be a reminder that we are to do all God’s commandments and be holy unto the Lord [Numbers 15:37-39, Deuteronomy 22:12]. So the Lord, as a Jew and as a rabbi, wore a garment, and it had on it a border made out of blue, four tassels, on it one on each corner. And she said in her heart, "If I but touch the hem of His garment, I will be made whole" [Matthew 9: 21].
Now let me speak of the divine sensitiveness. That timid and grief-stricken and ill woman came in the throng and the press of that crowd and deigned to touch the hem of His garment. And immediately she was well, she was whole. And the Lord said, "Who touched Me?" And Simon Peter and the disciples that were around Him said, "Master, Master, the multitude throng Thee and pressed Thee on every side, and yet Thou sayest who touched Me?" And Jesus replied, "Yea, but somebody hath touched Me" [Luke 8:44-46].
What an astonishing thing! They throng Thee and press Thee on every side, and it meant nothing to them, nothing to them! Imagine being pressed against the Son of God. Imagine being in a throng in the presence of the Prince of Glory, and it mean nothing. Meant nothing to them, nothing, nothing. Why, there are people who can come to church and it means nothing, nothing, nothing. There are people who can see the cross, and sing songs of it, and it means nothing to them. There’s no sacrifice; there’s no atonement in it.
Blessed is he that hath eyes that can see, for the whole world is filled with the presence of God, horses and chariots of fire! [2 Kings 6:17]. Blessed is he that has ears that he can hear, "for the very heavens declare the glory of God; day unto day, and night unto night uttereth speech and showeth knowledge" [Psalm 19:1-2]. And blessed are the fingers that can touch in faith the blessedness of the atoning grace of the Son of God. They thronged Him and pressed Him on every side, it meant nothing to them, but it meant something to this child, this daughter of faith [Matthew 9:22]. She said, "If I but touch the hem of His garment, I will be made whole" [Matthew 9:21]. And when she touched the Lord, the blue border, the blue fringe of His outer garment, immediately God honored her faith, and she was whole and well again; the divine sensitiveness, the faith. [Matthew 9:22, Luke 8:44]
Out of all of the clever of this world, somebody prays and God hears. And out of all the exigencies of life, somebody cries to heaven and the Lord bows down His ear to hear – the divine sensitiveness, the faith. I speak of the divine cost of our redemption and our salvation and our healing. But Jesus said, "Somebody hath touched Me: for I perceive that virtue, power, strength is gone out of Me" [Luke 8:46].
It appears when the Lord heals, that He does it by fiat. Speaks the word, the sick are healed [Luke 4:38-39]. Just say the sentence and the lepers are clean [Luke 5;12-13]. Just utter a word, and these that are possessed are delivered [Luke 8:26-28]. It looks as though it were that way, but it isn’t. There is a divine cost in our redemption.
When the even was come – and to me this is one of the most precious verses in the Bible – when the even was come, they brought unto Him many that were possessed, and many that were sick, and He healed them all: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.
[Matthew 8:16-17, Isaiah 53:4]
All that Jesus has done in healing us, and in saving us, and in delivering us from our sins, all of it was at an infinite cost and an infinite sacrifice [1 Peter 1:18-19].
I one time heard a pastor say that he had gone to a hospital where a teenager lay dying, and the doctor had told the boy that he couldn’t be well. And the word was brought to the pastor that the lad was not a Christian, and would he go to the hospital and talk to the boy about Jesus. So the pastor made his way to the hospital and to the room and gained permission from the nurse to put his head underneath the oxygen tent and talk to that teenager about Jesus.
And he began, as you would expect him, talking to the boy about his need.
"You understand that you cannot live?"
"And the doctor has told you?"
"And you’re not a Christian?"
"I am not a Christian. I am not saved."
"And you are going to die and you need God."
So the pastor took the Bible, and in the simple sentences, as it is always recounted in the Word, he read to the boy how he could be saved. And those sentences are all so simple like, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" [Acts 16:31], "But as many as received Him, to them gave He the right to become children of God, even to them that trust in His name" [John 1:12]; those simple sentences, and always that in the Bible.
And the boy broke in, and said, "But, sir, is it that easy? Is it that easy? I just trust in the Lord, I just receive the Lord. Is it that easy?" And the pastor made a classical reply. He said, "Son, it is easy for you, but it was not easy for Him."
"He took our infirmities, and bare our illnesses" [Matthew 8:17]. He took in His own body our sins, and died for us on the cross [1 Peter 2:24, 1 Corinthians 15:3]; the way into heaven is made open, and plain, and simple, and easy for us, because Jesus took our sins and bore our sorrows, "and by His stripes we are healed" [Isaiah 53:4-5]. The judgment of the wrath of God fell upon Him. Easy for us, not for Him. And there is no deliverance but that cost the life of the Son of God. "Somebody hath touched Me; for I perceive that strength, power, is gone out of Me" [Luke 8:46]. It cost the life of our Lord.
"And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and fell down before Jesus and declared unto Him before all the people for what cause she had touched Him, and how she was healed immediately" [Luke 8:47]. Now that sounds somewhat harsh, as we think of the Savior demanding whoever it was that touched Him to make that someone known, and the cause why that someone had come. But look, had she not been made known and then been made public, she would have missed the greater of the two blessings. Privately, inwardly, by faith, touching the hem of His garment she was healed. But look: when she came publicly, openly and before that throng, kneeling down before the Lord, told how the Lord had healed her, look what the Lord Jesus says. "And He said unto her, Daughter"; that’s the first time you’ll find that address used from the lips of our Savior. "Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith, thy faith hath saved thee" [Luke 8:48]. One of the accounts reads, "Thy faith hath saved thee as well as making thee whole in thy bodily frame. Go in peace" [Luke 8:48; Matthew 9:22], not only saved in physical life, but saved in her heart and in her soul.
Was it not the greater blessing? And it pleases God for us to avow openly and publicly the committal of our lives and our hopes in Him. To be a clandestine believer, to be a secret disciple, has a blessing I am sure, but not one that pleases God. "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in thine heart that He lives, thou shalt be saved" [Romans 10:9]. "Whoever shalt confess Me before men, him will I confess before My Father in heaven. Whoever denies Me before men, him will I deny before My Father which is in heaven [Matthew 10:32-33]. Openly, publicly I am to avow the committal of my life to the blessed Lord Jesus. "If I but touch the hem of His garment, I will be made whole" [Matthew 9:21].
Where is the hem of His garment today? Does the Lord still live? And is it possible by faith to touch the hem of the garment of God? Oh, yes! Oh, yes! The hem of the garment of God is seen everywhere, and we can touch the garment of God, the glory of God everywhere. To the eyes that can see, the Lord is everywhere. To the ears that can hear, God speaks in a thousand voices. And to the heart that is sensitive, the presence of the Lord is everywhere. When we retire at night, He is there. When we rise in the morning, He is there. When we make our work to the tasks of the day, God is there. The hem of His garment is everywhere.
How much more is that true in the household of faith; touching the hem of the garment of God in the songs that we sing, in the prayers that we pray, in the invitation that is extended, in the earliest entreaties of the Holy Spirit that we feel in our soul. These are the hems of the garments of God, and we can touch God through the prayer, and through the song, and through the invitation, and through the written Word, and through the spiritual appeal in our souls; the garments of God.
And the hem of the garment of God is always nigh and near, as close as life and breath itself in our hour of need, always, ever without fail. This week I read where a friend went to see a sainted man by the name of Sir John Simpson. And the great noble Christian was dying, waiting for a translation to glory. And the friend said to Sir John Simpson, the friend said, "Oh, Sir John, Sir John, you will be like the beloved disciple; you will be laying your head on the bosom of our Lord." And the humble but godly man replied, "Oh, sir, I do not know that I should be privileged to lay my head on the bosom of my Lord. But I do believe I have got hold of the hem of His garment."
Near, nigh, in our hour of need. God bless our people as in trust, and in faith, and in commitment we draw nigh to God, that the Lord might heal us, and might bless us, and might save us and keep us to Himself, now and forever.
And on this radio, as you have listened to this message tonight from God’s Book, are you ill? Are you sick? The hem of the garment of our blessed Jesus is nigh you. Reach forth your hand and touch it. And by faith ask Jesus for healing, and if in His divine will we are not healed, if God elects that we suffer, then ask God for that grace and patience to wait upon the Lord. Ask Him, touch the hem of His garment.
And if you listening on the radio are not saved, you’ve never given your heart in trust to Jesus, the hem of His garment is close by. By faith, touch even the garment of our Savior, and you will find the divine sensitiveness to the outreach of faith. And He will save you and make you whole. And in the throng of people in this sanctuary tonight, somebody you, looking in faith to the Lord Jesus, come openly and publicly, do it now. "I need the Lord; I am a sinner; I ask God to forgive me. I ask Jesus to save me. I don’t want to die lost and unforgiven. I want to be saved, and I am coming to Jesus tonight."
Or your life is unhappy and miserable, and you don’t have answers, and you can’t find solutions, come to Jesus and surrender your will and your life to the Lord Jesus. He has an answer for every problem. He has a solution for every difficulty. He will see us through. Let’s take our souls, our lives, our destinies, let’s lay them at the blessed feet of Jesus. Come, trusting the Lord tonight, do it . You will find in Him an unspeakable gladness, a glory in the daytime, a triumph in the nighttime. You will find an answer in the Lord Jesus to every problem you face in your life. Come, come, come to the Lord Jesus.
God called some of you tonight into a fellowship of this place, into this communion of the saints, a member of this church. One of you, a couple of you, a family, "Pastor, this is my wife, and these are my children, all of us are coming tonight." As the Spirit of God shall press the appeal to your heart, come. On the first note of the first stanza, make it tonight. When you stand up in a moment, stand up coming. "Preacher, tonight by God’s grace I give my heart in faith to the Lord Jesus. I ask Him to forgive my sins, to write my name in His Book of Life, and to keep me in His grace and mercy now and forever." However the Spirit of God shall lead in the way, when we stand up in a moment, stand up coming. "I decide for Jesus now, I cast my life and lot with God and our Savior now, and here I come. Here I am."
"Preacher, I want to be baptized like it says in the Book, following the Lord through the waters of the Jordan and here I come." As God shall lead in the way and as the Spirit shall press the appeal to your heart, make it tonight. There’s a stairway on either side, at the front and the back, down one of those stairways, and here to the front. This press of people on this lower floor into the aisle and down here to the pastor, "Pastor, I give you my hand, I give my heart to God." As the Spirit shall lead, answer with your life. "Here I come, pastor. I make it tonight," while we stand and while we sing.
THE HEM OF HIS GARMENT
Dr. W. A. Criswell
Luke 8:40-48, Mark 5:24-31
I. The welcoming throngs in Capernaum (Luke 8:42, 45, Mark 5:21, 24)
A. Some there out of gratitude
B. Some there out of trembling hope, need
II. This poor woman
A. She had heard of Jesus
B. To get to the Lord, she had to go through the crowd
C. Her timid, humble approach (Numbers 15:37-41, Matthew 9:20-21)
III. The divine sensitiveness
A. Jesus alone was cognizant of her
1. Disciples astonished at His question, "Who touched Me?" (Luke 8:45)
B. How blessed those of faith and hope, as this woman (Psalms 19:1-2)
IV. The cost of mercy (Luke 8:46, Mark 5:30)
A. Every miracle had its cost (Matthew 8:16-17)
B. Divine cost in our redemption (Acts 16:31, 1 Peter 2:24)
V. Our public confession
A. She declared what she had done and how she was healed (Luke 8:47)
B. By coming publicly, she received a greater blessing (Luke 8:48, Matthew 9:22)
1. It pleases God for us to avow openly the committal of our lives to Him (Romans 10:9, Matthew 10:32-33)
VI. Where is the hem of His garment today?
A. Manifestations of the presence of God are everywhere
B. In the services of the church