HH Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace and be whole of thy plague. —Mark 5:33-34
Why Didn’t the Lord Let Her Go Unnoticed?
One is ready to think it would have been a kindlier treatment if our Lord had let this woman slip away. It would have been more consistent with His gentleness. Probably she was a stranger in the place; all the traditions point to that. She was a modest and retiring woman, not in the least eager for publicity. And the hidden cross that she had borne for years had been of a kind that made her haunt the shadows, as one burdened with a thing of shame. Was it not a little unlike our blessed Lord to insist on an overt avowal–to make her, sore against her will, the observed of all observers? Would it not have been kinder to let her go quietly home, rejoicing in the fact that she was healed, though nobody knew anything about it? Our Lord Himself had often felt that deep imperious craving for retirement. Thronged by the crowd, He had often stolen away to where beyond the voices there was peace. And yet He refused to let this woman go; He summoned her forth and made her tell her story. He brought her in confession to His feet. One perhaps wonders why He acted so; it seems so different from His usual tenderness. Let us try to find the loving reasons for it.
She Would Have Thought She Was Cured by Magic
First, then, had He let her steal away she would have carried wrong conceptions to her grave. She would have thought she had been healed by magic, and would never have known the loving will of Christ. That her faith was a strong and conquering faith is written so that he who runs may read. She did not expect to be made a little better. She believed that at a touch she would be whole. And this, though she had never seen the Lord, and had no parallel to rest her faith upon, for all this happened early in Christ’s ministry. It was a very strong and splendid faith, yet intellectually it was a faith of ignorance. She evidently thought there was some magic power resident in the garments of the Master. She believed that without the consciousness of Christ, and the loving cooperation of His will, wonderful things could be wrought upon her body. Now, cannot you see what would have happened if the Lord had let her quietly slip away? She would never have known the loving will of Christ; she would have thought her cure was automatic. And our Lord summoned her forth and made her tell her story, that she might be lifted out of the realm of magic and brought into living relationship with Him. It seemed cruel, but it was really kind. It sent her home with loftier thoughts of Him. She would never talk of the wonder of the tassel; she would always talk of the wonder of the Lord. Permitted to steal away without confession, she would have said exultantly, “I’ve found a cure.” Now the woman cried, “I’ve found a friend.”
She Would Have Never Been Sure of Jesus
Then had she been allowed to steal away she never would have been quite sure of Jesus. She would have been haunted, to the last hour she lived, by the suspicion that she had done something wrong. You will notice that when the Savior summoned her she came to His blessed feet with fear and trembling. It was not her dread of the crowd that made her tremble; it was something deeper in her woman’s breast. It was her fear that she had stolen something; that she had filched a cure and acted surreptitiously; that she was going to hear the accents of rebuke. Now suppose she had gone home again, without the swift compulsion of confession, cannot you see at a glance that all her life she would have been haunted by that chilling fear? Healed, she would have been unhappy; her conscience would have continually pricked her; she would never have heard that Christ was in her neighbourhood, but she would have fallen to fear and trembling once again. It was impossible for Christ to let her go like that, however great the pain of her avowal. He was not content that the woman should be healed; He wanted always to think of her as happy. That was why He insisted on confession; she must tell Him all and see His look of love; she must hear Him saying to her, “Daughter.” She was the only woman to whom He ever gave that title. He never called anybody else His daughter. She would have missed all that if she had got her way. To learn it, she had to take the way of Christ. And always, if we want to learn His love, and to have done forever with our fear and trembling, like her we have to take the way of Christ.
She Would Have Been Powerless for Service
Lastly, if He had let her have her way this woman would have been powerless for service. And nobody is healed just to be happy; we are saved that we may save. In a brief space of time He would be dead, and dead, where were His garments now? What Roman soldier had them in his chest, to be carried home to his family in Britain? The garments were gone, their wearer had been crucified, and what testimony had she to bear for Christ to the children of disappointment and disease? She would have had no power for witness-bearing; she could never have spoken of the love of Jesus; she could never have cried to weary, broken people, “The Master looked on me, and called my daughter.” And Christ was so eager she should be a witness-bearer, in places where His foot had never trod, that He imperiously insisted on confession. Now she would never talk of magic; she would talk of the wonderful welcome she had got; she would talk of the love that streamed on her poor heart, which was better than the healing of her body. Had she stolen away she would have had her gift, but she would never have known the Giver. For that, she had to stand forth and confess.