WHY SICK UK IS NOT OK
(The Story of a Sick Woman)
Dr. Alan C. Clifford, England
"Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction." - (Mark 5: 34)
WHEN our Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed the kingdom of God (Mark.1:15), He did so by word and deed, sermon and miracle. His miracles demonstrated God's mighty power and compassion for lost men and women. They declared Christ's glorious deity - He is God incarnate! They are also to be seen as visual aids of His teaching. In this sense, they were signs and not ends in themselves.
For those who imagine that miracles are necessary to make the preaching of the Gospel effective, we should remember that many saw Christ's miracles yet
remained unconverted (see John 11:45-7; Acts 5:16-17). Such miracles are chiefly associated in Bible history with periods of revelation, as in the times of Moses, Elijah, our Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles (see 2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:4). lt is not necessary to insist on the miraculous today. Besides, the Gospel has been powerful throughout church history without them.
Furthermore, it is possible for miraculous claims to be false indicators of spiritual life (see Mattthew 7:21-3) and even Satanic (see 2 Thessalonians 2:9).
The chief thing about the Gospel is peace with God. It is about salvation from sin and everlasting damnation not our present physical health. Even those whom Christ raised from death eventually died again. The complete salvation of soul and body is for the world to come not this present world. So Christ's miracles may be seen as pictures of the power of God's saving grace in our souls.
1. THE DREADFUL DISEASE
While Jesus was responding to another cry for help, a sad, sick woman joined the crowd of His enthusiastic followers (see Mark 5:21-7). She had been haemorrhaging continuously for twelve years (see v. 25), possibly since the birth of a child. She was in a desperate condition when she heard about Jesus. She
illustrates the state of the entire human race, helplessly ruined by sin for a long time, in fact ever since mankind's disobedience in the Garden of Eden. Indeed, who can deny that sin and its symptoms indicate a spiritual disease on an epidemic scale? Even the 'Black Death' or bubonic plague of 14th century Europe or the modern HIVcrisis don't compare with this.
No one is exempt from guilt or free from sin's deadly influence and morally crippling effects (see Romans 3:10, 23). The myth of evolutionary progress flies in the face of the facts.
The human patient is as sick as ever (see Mark 7:20-3; Romans1:28-32). The tragedy is that many foolishly believe the false diagnosis of the 18th century
Rousseau, "Man is born free, yet everywhere he is in chains" (The Social Contract).
The truth, as taught by Christ, is that "Man is born in sin, therefore he is in chains" (see John 8:34). However, this is the very slavery Christ came to liberate us from (see John 8: 32, 36) by dying for our sins and paying our spiritual debts, then rising again in victory before pouring out His renewing Holy Spirit upon us (see Romans 4:25).
2. THE DECEITFUL DOCTORS
What did the woman do about her haemorrhage? What has the human race done about the problem? Where have people turned for help? We are told that the woman spent all her money trying to get help from 'many physicians' but was worse off, physically as well as financially (see v. 26). Likewise, human beings have
tried many remedies without success. Consider the 'doctors' we often turn to:
'Dr Brains' prescribes more education, including access to computers and information technology. However, more knowledge leads to more confusion and self-destruct capability (see 2 Timothy 3:7).
'Dr Darwin' prescribes a scientific and religion-free course of medication. Apart from deceiving patients with pseudo-scientific propaganda, his quasi-religious hype is a threat to human health. Tragically, his secular opiate inspired communism and fascism.
'Dr Politics' insists he can cure us but, despite his promises of social improvement, the cancer of sin remains untouched by his remedies (see Isaiah1:21-3). Sadly, he too is unwell, a fact which undermines his credibility.
'Dr Cash' prescribes more money and a better economy but the patient keeps coming back, discontented and sick with greed (see Isaiah 55:2). The alarming personal and national debt crises aggravate the illness.
'Dr DIY' advocates self-help measures and innate human resources. But the patient keeps falling flat on his face in failure (see Psalm 118: 8-9; 1 Corinthians 1:17-25). This remedy flies in the face of thousands of years of human history.
'Dr Fun' prescribes plenty of TV entertainment and sport, with lots of drink, drugs and promiscuity. A famous king proved this was useless (see Ecclesiastes. 2:1-11). Kings and commoners are still suffering! Royalty rarely provides good examples of healthy living.
'Dr Deviant' urges patients to go on a sex binge, to experience homosexual as well as heterosexual freedom. Sadly, his remedy for repression is personal and social poison. It is nothing but sexual slavery.
'Dr Ritual' thinks that 'religion' will cure the patient. Unaware that the Papacy is founded on a fallacy, he opines that the Pope alone provides hope. Neither does
his partner 'Dr Multifaith' with his Islamic potions help. Indeed ritual without reality deludes the patient.
Without a true experience of the grace of God in Christ, this only aggravates the disease, promising healing where there is none (see Isaiah 29:13).
The truth is, these doctors are 'quacks', treating symptoms and not the cause. They didn't study in God's medical school. What is more, it is a case of "Physician,
heal yourself" (Luke 4:23).
3. THE DIVINE DOCTOR
At last, the woman came to 'Dr JESUS' (see v. 28)! All others had failed. Here was One who could heal her. What is more, the healing was free! Indeed, free
at the point of need, though costly to the gracious Healer. In faith, she touched Christ's robe and was immediately healed (see vs. 27-9). What a glorious picture of the Gospel! Christ alone is 'the Way, the Truth and the Life' (John 14:6). He is the only One 'whereby we must be saved' (Acts 4:12).
As surely as the happy woman 'felt within herself that she was healed', we too experience the saving power of God's grace when we truly turn to Christ in repentance and faith.
Pardoned by His blood and renewed by His Spirit, we are saved by receiving not achieving. It is all of grace, FREE GRACE (see Ephesians 2:8-10). May we also fall before Jesus, 'in wonder, love and praise' and hear His voice, "Go in peace...be healed."
We noted earlier that her healing was 'free' to the woman but 'costly' to the gracious Healer Who felt that 'power had gone out of Him' (v. 30). All this has to be
seen in the light of the cost of the Cross. At Calvary God made Christ 'who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him' (2 Corinthians 5:19-21).
What does this mean? Simply that, on the cross, the Saviour was treated as a sinner that we might be regarded as righteous. A great exchange took place! Our debt of guilt was 'imputed' or charged to His account, so that the universally-available 'credit' (or 'merit') of Christ's sacrifice could be imputed to all who trust.in Him! The sinless Saviour was thus condemned and punished so the guilty sinner may be justified and acquitted: 'Justified by His blood' (Romans 5:9), we are
thus declared righteous in God's sight.
When Jesus said to the woman "Your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction" (v.34), we must carefully grasp an important
truth. We are not saved by 'faith' as an activity of our own, but by God-given 'faith in Christ in whom alone we trust. In short, we look to the One Who saves rather than to our act of believing: 'Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling' (Toplady). Indeed, salvation is all of grace!
While Sinai's Law justly condemns us for violating it, Calvary's Gospel justly acquits us (since Christ has died). Let the Apostle Paul sum up the wonderful message of salvation for us: 'Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the Law' and 'Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ' (Romans 3:28; 5:1). After centuries of spiritual darkness in the Church of Christ, this was the wonderful truth rediscovered by Martin Luther in the sixteenth century: Justification by faith in Jesus Christ alone!
Furthermore, real contact with Jesus is truly life transforming. He makes a difference to our lives, attitudes, aspirations, relationships and pursuits. It's not 'easy believe-ism'. The Christian life involves duties as well as delights. There are commitments as well as comforts. Yes, true saving is a 'faith which works by love' (Galatians5:6).
Hymns have beautifully expressed and applied the wonder of this miracle of grace. John Greenleaf Whittier wrote:
We touch Him in life's throng and press,
And we are whole again.
George F. Root wrote:
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!
May we also trust, praise - and joyfully serve in faithful witness - Him forever. Amen!
Dr Alan C. Clifford
NORWICH REFORMED CHURCH
Back To Archive Contents