Matthew 9:20

This little incident inserted in the middle of the story of the ruler's child, because the event occurred on the road to the man's house, reveals Jesus as the Friend of the obscure, the miserable, the lonely. On the way to help the little daughter of a great house, Jesus is arrested and deeply interested with the faith and cure of a poor and helpless woman.


1. It is modest. She trembles at the idea of becoming conspicuous. In her deep distress she will but creep up in the crowd behind the great Healer and steal a blessing. Timorous souls are drawn to Christ. They will not come to the "penitent's bench" at a monster revival meeting. But they will seek Christ in their own quiet way.

2. It is humble. Who is she that she should claim the attention of Jesus Christ. An important citizen may call him into his house, but this poor obscure woman cannot even bring herself to speak to him. Yet Jesus had pronounced a blessing on. the poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3).

3. It is unselfish. This would seem to be a most unfortunate time for approaching Christ. He is just hastening to the house of an important personage where a little child is dying. To stop him now would be cruel to the child; it would be resented by her father. Suffering is often selfish. But the distressed woman will not hinder the good work Christ is about to perform by asking him to stay for her.

4. It is ingenious. It was a new idea to obtain a cure from Christ by a touch of his garment. The sufferer decides for herself that her novel method will be efficacious. There is room for freshness of thought in our relations with Christ.

5. It is powerful. This is what most strikes Christ. In spite of her modesty, humility, unselfishness, and the difficulty of her position, this woman determines to try to obtain healing. Faith is tested by the difficulties it overcomes. It may be that the least pretentious faith is the strongest. There is room for great faith in lowly circumstances. The heroes of faith are to be found among the obscure and humble.


1. He was conscious of her touch. There was no magic in his garment. The cure came from himself. We are blessed by Christ only when we come into personal relations with him.

2. He took notice of her. He turned and saw her. It interested him much that a humble woman should have so much faith in him. He is not satisfied that any should approach him solely for their own private advantage. He would know his people, and he expects them to recognize him. This cannot be because he craves the fame of miracle-working. On the contrary, he shrank from that and forbade the publication of his doings. But he desires to have a personal friendship between himself and all whom he blesses.

3. He cheered her. The poor woman was overwhelmed with shame, and addressing her in the utmost refinement of sympathy as "daughter," Jesus reassures her. There is a rough charity that wounds the spirit while it tries to benefit the body. But this is not found in Christ. He perfectly understands, he truly sympathizes, he encourages and gladdens the heart of the miserable.

4. He commended her faith. Jesus was always ready to perceive the good in people, to tell it out and rejoice over it.

5. He healed her disease. She had her wish granted, while she had more. Jesus gives what will really satisfy the need of his people, while his gracious recognition far exceeds the hopes of the humble. - W.F.A.

And touched the hem of His garment.
I. How many evils sin hath brought into the world.

II. We are too much disposed to seek human help instead of going directly to God.

III. However deep-seated and desperate the condition of the soul's health, the Saviour can help us.

IV. The secrecy with which the afflicted woman sought help of Jesus.

V. The impression which the suffering woman had formed of Jesus.

(J. H. Norton.)

The sinner and the Saviour.

I. THE WAY IN WHICH THESE TWO ARE THROWN TOGETHER. As we say by chance this woman crosses His path; it was a by-errand of the Son of Man.

II. THE OCCASION OF THEIR BEING BROUGHT TOGETHER. It is the incurability of her disease by earthly skill that throws her upon the heavenly Physician. Man's failure brings her to One who cannot fail.



V. CHRIST'S NEED OF THE WOMAN. The sun needs the earth as truly as the earth needs the sun. You may say, What would the earth be without the sun? Yes; but what would the sun be without an earth to shine upon? What would become of its radiance? All wasted. It would shine in vain. So Christ needed objects for the exercise of His skill, love, and power. The Lord hath need of us.

VI. THE WOMAN'S THOUGHTS OF CHRIST. She is modest, earnest, humble; so full of faith that she deems a touch enough. Like the garden, He cannot but give out His fragrance. The simplest form of connection with Him will accomplish the cure.

(A. Bonar, D. D.)

I. Faith comes with a deep despair of all other help but Christ's.

II. Faith has a Divine power to discover Christ.

III. Faith comes with an implied trust in Christ.

IV. Faith seeks for its comfort, close contact with Christ.

V. Faith, with all its imperfections, is accepted by Christ.

VI. Faith feels a change from the touch of Christ.

(J. Ker, D. D.)

I. ONE TOUCHING OUT OF MANY PRESSING ON JESUS. There was love, .power, and nearness enough for all the crowd, yet only one touched Christ for healing. We are near Christ in the house of God and at the holy table, yet perhaps do not by faith touch.


1. She is the weakest in all the crowd, yet she presses through till she reaches Jesus. Our inability a needful lesson, but earnestness is a power. By grace are we saved. There is always a crowd between Christ and the inquiring soul — a crowd of past sins, evil spirits, etc.

2. She is the vilest of all, the most unfit to touch the Holy One, for her very touch defiles. Christ is cleansing for the vile.

3. Her coming is the worst-timed of all applications; it was unseasonable. He was in the midst of another case. The coming ill-timed He does not refuse.

4. Her coming seems to be in the very worst way; none other appears to have come so ill. She comes by stealth.


1. Her coming to be healed is late, and yet immediate; late in reference to the past, immediate in the haste of this afternoon. The reason humbling, because she has spent all. The sinner does not come to Christ first, but after every other refuge has failed.

2. Her cure is immediate, complete, conscious.

3. She cannot depart in health without confessing Christ the Healer. The coiner need not, but the follower must bear the cross of Christ; it is lighter to bear afterward.

(A. M. Stuart.)


1. Her condition represents that of every sinner.


(2)Unclean and separate from the fellowship of god and His people.

(3)Hopeless of help from earthly physicians.

2. Difference between her touch and that of the crowd.

3. Her faith successful, though imperfect and mixed with error.


1. That she may confess and glorify Christ before others.

2. That He may confess her and confirm her faith, and confer upon her further and higher blessings.

(1)He confesses her.

(2)He approves and confirms her faith.

3. He adds a further and spiritual blessing — "Go in peace." This a word of power.

(T. M. Macdonald, M. A.)

Was not the same struggle seen in the case of Luther, issuing, too, in the same result? That cell in Erfurth heard sounds and saw sights of conflict and sorrow enough to make our hearts bleed. What tears that monk shed, what prayers he offered, what lacerations he inflicted upon his flesh to chase away its lusts, what hunger he endured that he might starve his appetites to submission, until he nearly killed the body in seeking to kill its sins, and he was found once and again nearly lifeless on the floor! But what of his sins? They were as vigorous as ever. Plied by many physicians, they yielded not; scourge, hunger, thirst, nightly vigils, all failed; and he had spent nearly all that he had, and was " nothing the better, but rather the worse." Nearly all, I say, for he had still a little left. One more physician he had not tried, and that was the eternal city of Rome, which he must see; and there, amid its sanctities and miracles, he must and a perfect cure. He must climb on his bare knees the wondrous stairs of the Santa Scala, and there the burden will roll from his soul for ever. But the burden presses heavier as he climbs; and in the moment of his blackest despair, a remembered text rings in his ears like music from heaven's gate, "The just shall live by faith," and he rushes from the scene rejoicing in Christ Jesus, and putting no confidence in the flesh. Thus it is that men must despair before they can hope.

(E. Mellor, D. D.)

The sun can send some of its light and heat through very murky skies, and the Sun of Righteousness can do the same, and even more.

(E. Mellor, D. D.)There may be much earthly rubbish in the soul that comes to Christ; but if there be in it one gleaming grain of the gold of faith, Christ will receive that soul with all its rubbish; for He knows well that in due time all that is worthless will drop away, that the eye of faith will sweep over a vaster horizon of truth from day to day, until we shall be light in the Lord, and shall not walk in darkness.

(E. Mellor, D. D.)

E. Mellor, D. D. .
Most of the religion of mankind begins in what may be viewed as selfishness, and then becomes transformed into love. Most of religion did I say? I might have said, the natural life of every one of us from childhood has followed the same law. Where is the child that began life with love? Life begins with hunger and other needs. The infant is a bundle of imperious and constant necessities. It loves no one, can love no one. Love has to be begotten, to be wakened up little by little as months roll on, and the expanding babe learns who it is that feeds and fondles it, whose arms they are that enfold it, whose face it is that reflects upon it the very light of heaven. Can anything be more selfish than the cries of the child which seeks nourishment and comfort, caring nothing from whom they come if they do but come? But can anything be more unselfish than the love which at length rises up in the soul? A love which makes the name of mother the sweetest, dearest name on earth; a love which will traverse seas and not be chilled by distance, and which feels that no tears are too many which are shed on the grave where she rests in peace. We cannot begin our Christian life at the highest point, or with the highest motives, any more than our natural life.

(E. Mellor, D. D. .)

The notions which the woman entertained of Christ were very confused. She was timid and shrinking — a woman probably of a sensitive temperament, her nervous system possibly injuriously affected by her disease; but only ignorance and superstition could have suggested the idea of a furtive touch of our Lord's garments.

(H. Allen, D. D.)

Some instrumentality for connecting the faith of our souls with Christ we all, perhaps, require. Without it the faith even of the strongest might have difficulty in realizing Christ. Sense is the minister of the soul. We grasp Christ best when the hand of spiritual faith rests upon sensible things; only let us be sure that it is the Christ our spirits grasp, and not the mere sensible thing.

(H. Allen, D. D.)

This woman was a native of Caesarea. At the gates of her house, on an elevated stone, stands a brazen image of a woman on her bonded knee, with her hands stretched out before her, like one entreating. Opposite to this there is another image of a man erect, of the same materials, decently clad in a mantle, and stretching out his hand to the woman. Before her feet, and on the same pedestal, there is a certain strange plant growing, which, rising as high as the hem of the brazen garment, is a kind of antidote to all kinds of diseases. This figure is a statue of Jesus Christ, and it has remained even until our times, so that we ourselves saw it whilst tarrying in that city.

( Eusebius.)

The woman had not to undergo u tedious process, but was cured straightway. Physicians require time, and must use proper means. They physic you and diet you, and thus cure you gradually. The Redeemer never physicked or dieted His patients. He cured them straightway.

(J. C. Jones.)The cure was perfect — not better, but whole — every whit. All traces of the disease vanished. Complete — perfect.

(J. C. Jones.)

Can you tell why the needle trembles to the pole? The buds feel their way to the spring? Flowers to sunlight? They are made for it, and souls are so made for Christ.

(Dr. J. Ker.)


1. There is nothing to forbid your coming and resting your guilty soul upon Christ.

2. The very nature of the Lord Jesus Christ should forbid your raising a doubt about your being permitted to come and touch his garment's hem.

3. Think of the fulness of Christ's power to save and make a little argument of it.

4. Suppose you do come, you will not injure Him.

5. You shall rather benefit than injure Him.

6. Others just like you have ventured to Him, and have not been refused.

II. BUT CAN I? Faith in Christ is the simplest action that anybody ever performs.

III. "I SHALL be made whole."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. Unobstrusively.

1. "She said within herself," etc.

2. Came behind Christ.

II. Unceremoniously.

1. Came when Christ was engaged.

2. Touched His hem.

III. Undoubtingly. "I shall be whole." Her faith was undoubting, therefore strong to overcome difficulties.

1. Subjective difficulty.

2. Objective difficulty.

3. Undoubting, hence strong to draw blessings from Christ.

(J. S. Swan.)

We may regard the act of this woman as an expression of her faith.

1. Faith is a simple thing as an act. You exercise it when you consult your physician. In religious experience acts of faith are simple, but behind them there is a mental state, mysterious and sublime.

2. Great faith is compatible with great modesty. There may be great faith before God, yet fear before men.

3. Great faith is compatible with great ignorance.

4. Faith saves and then becomes an incentive to holiness.

(F. C. Polton, D. D.)

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