Posted by: rcottrill | January 29, 2014

The Hem of His Garment

Words: George Frederick Root (b. Aug. 30, 1820; d. Aug. 6, 1895)
Music: George Frederick Root

Wordwise Hymns (George Root)
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Though his songs were simple and singable, Root was a noted musician of his day. In 1873, he was granted the degree of Doctor of Music, by Chicago University. A humble and gracious man, in spite of his many accomplishments, he asked that nothing be sung at his funeral but the Doxology. The present gospel song was published in 1887. It concerns one of the miracles of Jesus.

There is an unusual double incident in the life of the Lord Jesus, recorded by three of the Gospel writers (Matt. 9:18-26; Mk. 5:21-43; Lk. 8:40-56). It is kind of a miracle within a miracle.

On the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, the Lord was approached by the ruler of the local synagogue, a man named Jairus. He fell at the feet of Jesus, urging Him to come to his house, because his twelve-year-old daughter was sick, and at the point of death. The Lord agreed to accompany him but, as they went, the message came from home that she had died. Later, Nothing daunted, Christ arrived at the home and raised the young girl from the dead.

But on the way there, between the time of Jairus’s approach, and the raising of the dead child, there was another unusual incident. At the plea of Jairus, and Christ’s indication that He would indeed go with him to his home, “a great multitude” (Mk. 5:21, 24) that had thronged the Lord surged along with Him, curious to see what would happen. In the crowd was a woman who had been seriously ill for twelve years.

Notice: The girl had had twelve years of life, then died of a critical illness. The woman had had twelve years of prolonged misery. The Lord has the power to help us in the sudden crises of life, and aid us in those things that bring prolonged times of suffering.

The woman had a chronic flow of blood which no physician had been able to stop. Not only was the hemorrhaging itself a problem. It would have rendered her ceremonially unclean and unable to participate in religious services. And anything or anyone she touched would likewise become ceremonially unclean (cf. Lev. 15:19-21). Further, some would consider her malady the result of an immoral lifestyle.

She had spent all her money looking for a cure. But Mark tells us that not only had various doctors failed to help her; their treatments simply made things worse (Mk. 5:26). The strange treatments of the day included: 1) Drink a goblet of wine, mixed with powdered rubber, alum, and an herb made of garden crocuses. 2) Eat Persian onions, cooked in wine, while the doctor proclaimed, “Arise out of your flow of blood!” 3) Carry around the ashes of a burned ostrich egg in a cloth.

In her desperation, she approaches Christ. Timidly, tentatively, but believing He had the power to help her, she reached out and touched “the border [or fringe] of his garment” (Lk. 8:44). The Law commanded the Jews to wear a fringe or tassel of blue on their outer robes, to identify them as God’s people, who were subject to His rule (Num. 15:37-40). It was that she touched, and immediately she was healed.

The multitude thronged around Him, the curious crowd. But hers was a touch of faith, and Jesus said to His disciples, “I perceived power going out from Me” (Lk. 46). He called attention to the woman, forcing her to identify herself, and reassured her, sending her on her way: “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith [that is, your faith in Me] has made you well. Go in peace” (Lk. 8:48).

Peace. For twelve long years she had no peace, only fear and frustration. But through faith she had claimed the power of the Lord to do what no doctor had been able to. George Root takes her example and uses it to make a general application of deliverance from sin, and the gift of salvation which can be claimed through faith in Christ. We cannot touch Him physically now, nor is it necessary. But with the eyes of faith, we look to Calvary, and faith declares, “I believe that Jesus died for me.”

CH-1) She only touched the hem of His garment
As to His side she stole,
Amid the crowd that gathered around Him,
And straightway she was whole.

Oh, touch the hem of His garment!
And thou, too, shalt be free!
His saving power this very hour
Shall give new life to thee!

CH-3) He turned with “Daughter, be of good comfort,
Thy faith hath made thee whole!”
And peace that passeth all understanding
With gladness filled her soul.

1) This would make a good hymn to use in a service where the sermon dealt with this incident. Are there other times you might use it?

2) What other hymns do you know and use that speak of physical healing by the power of Christ which can readily be applied to His power to cleanse from sin and give new spiritual life?

Wordwise Hymns (George Root)
The Cyber Hymnal


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