His Garment (1)
Matthew 9:20-22
With Thanks to Gus Nichols
By Paul Robison

This sermon is entitled 'His Garment'.  Let's look at our text again, “And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for 12 years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment.  For she said to herself, 'If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.'  But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, 'Be of good cheer, daughter, your faith has made you well.'  And the woman was made well from that hour.”
 
“Let's note that this woman did not say she would have to touch His very person to be healed.  But she said: 'If I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.'  The parallel passages tell us that Jesus felt virtue or power go out of Him when she touched His garment.  Wonderful power flows out from the Lord through His things, through things belonging to Him.  Do you think that power would have gone out just the same and healed this woman if she had touched the garment of someone else?  She said, 'If I may but touch HIS garment.'  So, she [made her way through the crowd and] 'touched the hem of HIS garment.'  Does any one suppose she would have been healed if she had touched the hem of King Herod's garment?  Or do you suppose she would have been made whole if she had said, 'A garment is a garment, one garment is as good as another, and I will touch the garment of my choice, and be made well'?  Again, suppose she had said there was no virtue in even His garment, and therefore, there was no use to touch it?  Of course, the virtue was in Christ, and not in His garment, but still she was not healed until she touched His garment.  Power reached her through the touch of His garment, but the power did not reside in the garment itself.  It would have done no good to have touched this same garment while it was in some market place and before it became HIS garment.”
 
“Touching His garment was with this woman a matter of faith, and faith comes by the word of God (Romans 10:17).  She must have had some evidence to the effect that she would be healed if she would touch His garment [and that Jesus had healing power.  So, she decided to perform a faith-filled act, touched His garment, and hoped for the best.] ... she tried to avoid detection, [but Jesus would not allow such great faith to go unnoticed].
 
Under these circumstances, it seems [almost a] foolish [demonstration] to touch His garment at all.  Then why do it?  God requires many things of us which to us seem foolish.  Paul says, 'But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise' (1 Corinthians 1: 27).  From a human viewpoint, she might have seen no logical reason for touching His garment, but it was a [demonstration] of her faith [in Jesus' power].  Strong faith is a venturesome thing, and it seeks to show itself.  And what better way is there of showing faith than in the doing of that which we know would be pleasing to the Lord, even though it may appear foolish to human wisdom?  God's thoughts and ways are said to be as much higher than ours as the heavens are higher than the earth (Isaiah 55:8-9).  Why put the blood on the doors at the Passover (Exodus 12)?  Why did the Israelites have to march around the walls of Jericho for seven days before they would fall (Joshua 6).  Why did the blind man have to have his eyes anointed with spittle and clay, and then go wash it off at the pool of Siloam to be cured of his blindness (John 9)?”  Each case called for the demonstration of faith, which may seem as “foolishness” by the world's standards.
 
“There are things which are of great importance just because they are connected with the Lord, because they belong to Him.  The garment was important for this reason.  An elderly couple once showed [others] some little shoes of their only child, who has passed away perhaps 50 years before.  They would not have sold those shoes for anything in the world.  They were prized very highly, not because of any intrinsic worth of their own, but because they belonged to their darling child, their only offspring.  Do we appreciate Jesus' things?  What are some of them?  Would you like to contact or touch them?”
 
One thing that belongs to Jesus is His unique name.  “Jesus' name is more precious now than His garment was while He was here in person.  His power does not flow out to us through His garment, but through His name.  Peter said, 'To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins' (Acts 10:43).  So Peter, the same preacher, has these words in verse 48: “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”   Jesus has a unique name because it alone brings salvation to mankind: “... you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).  Peter also declared before the Jewish religious leaders that there is no salvation in any other Name (Acts 4:12).  That command doesn't sound much like an option.  Paul declares that whatever [Christians] do must be done in the Lord's name (Colossians 3:17).  Just as one garment was not as good as another, one name is now not as good as another, if you have Jesus' name in the group”  (order modified).  At the unique name of Jesus, every person will one day bow the knee, according to Philippians 2:10. 
 
Another unique thing of Jesus is His blood.  “Hebrews 9:22 affirms: '... without the shedding of blood, there is no remission.'  Jesus said: 'For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28).  Yes, His precious blood was shed for the remission [or forgiveness] of our sins, and shed for all people alike.  Jesus tasted death 'for everyone' according to Hebrews 2:9.  His blood was shed 'for the sins of the whole world' (1 John 2:2).  But just here, a very practical question arises: 'Must the sinner do anything to obtain the remission or forgiveness of sins for which His blood was shed? … Peter answers to sinful believers who had asked what to do, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit' (Acts 2:38).  Redemption and forgiveness of sins by His blood is IN Christ, and not OUT of Christ.  Paul says: 'In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace ...' (Ephesians 1:7).  Again, Paul affirms in Colossians 1:14: '… in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.'  So then the question arises: 'How may the sinner as a penitent believer get into Christ so as to have the redemption and forgiveness that is in Him by His blood?  One is baptized into Christ.  Before baptism, one is out of Christ.  Paul says in Romans 6:3: 'Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?'  The same truth is stated in the Galatian letter where Paul says: 'For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.'  Christ's [unique] blood is the fountain in which sins are washed away in our obedience to the Gospel.  Jesus 'loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood' (Revelation 1:5). … It is in baptism that the penitent believer washes away his sins in this cleansing fountain.  Ananias was sent to tell Saul of Tarsus what he as a penitent believer must do (Acts 9:6); and when he stood before Saul, he exhorted: 'And now why are you waiting?  Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord' (Acts 22:16). … Paul [also] affirms that the church was purchased by Christ with His blood (Acts 20:28).  The church is the blood-bought blood-redeemed possession of the Lord.  It is made up of those redeemed by His [unique] blood—those who have been blood-bought—those actually saved by His blood.”  The apostle Peter states in 1 Peter 1:18-19: '… knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.'  Jesus' garment was unique, and so is His cleansing blood!
 
Another thing that belongs to the Lord is His unique day.  “... The apostle John [wrote]: 'I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day' (Revelation 1:10).  … The Lord's Day is Jesus' day, [a unique day in our week]. … Jesus had the divine right and authority to take away the old law and to give us, as His followers, a new day [for worship].  Paul declares in Colossians 2:14, 16, and 17: '… having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us.  And he has taken it out of the way having nailed it to the cross. … So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or new moon or Sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.'  Christ was raised on the first day of the week.  Mark states: 'Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene' (Mark 16:9).  … Not only was Christ raised from the dead on Sunday, but that is the day on which His church was established.  Pentecost was always on the first day of the week. … The word 'Pentecost' means 'fiftieth' or 50 days.  It always came on the 'morrow after' a certain sabbath (Leviticus 23:15-16). … The first day of the week is, therefore, the 'Lord's day', and not the sabbath.  There is no command in the New Testament for anyone to keep the sabbath day.  Of course, the sabbath command was binding until the cross when the law which contained it was abolished (Ephesians 2:14-16). … The Holy Spirit came on this Pentecost day—the first day of the week, the day we call Sunday. … The apostle Peter later said this was 'the beginning' (Acts 11:15).  This was the beginning of the church which Christ had [promised] He would build (Matthew 16:18).  Those obeying the Gospel on Pentecost were added to the Lord's church (Acts 2:47).  Thus, the New Testament comes into force and the first Gospel sermon was also preached on a Sunday, and the church came into existence on the Lord's Day. … If this is the Lord's Day, then it is not mine nor yours.  And the Lord's Day extends beyond the Lord’s hours on Sunday. ... There is a great blessing in the proper observance of the Lord's Day.  We should have 100% attendance of all Christians upon that day, except for the few who might be ill or shut in and unable to attend.  It is a day on which we are to rejoice and be glad.”  We could use the Lord's Day to touch the lives of others through visiting and service.  We could use the Lord's Day to write letters of encouragement to other members and to missionaries, and we could use the Lord's day as a time to read our Bibles more and think about spiritual matters.  Using the Lord's Day for doing the Lord's work can work wonders in our lives.  Do we really believe that being a faithful servant all during the Lord's Day can make a difference in our lives?  The woman who touched Jesus' garment believed that it would make a difference in her life.  Are we anticipating touching the Lord's Day and doing His work during it because we believe it will help us to be more spiritually healthy?  “Unless we touch the Lord's Day and use it for His glory, there might as well be no such day, as far as we are concerned.”  Sunday, the Lord's Day, is a unique day because of the events associated with it and because of the potential for blessing it can bring us if we would devote ALL that day to being about Jesus' business.
 
“Also the church belongs to the Lord, just as did His garment.  Jesus loved the church and gave Himself for it (Ephesians 5:25).  It is not my church, or your church.  The garment was called 'His garment'.  It did not belong to the woman who touched it either before or after touching it.  Christ affirmed in Matthew 16:18: “... and upon this rock I will build MY church.'  Paul states: 'The churches of Christ greet you' (Romans 16:16).  The church is called 'His body' in Ephesians 1:22-23.  Just as the woman respected 'his garment' and chose it above all other garments as the one to be touched; just so, we should respect the Lord's church, and put it above all other churches on earth.  In fact, we should eliminate all other churches, just as she rejected all other garments and chose 'His garment'. ... Suppose someone was to stack a lot of other books on top of the Bible, and then say, 'A book is a book; one book is as good as another; just read the book of your choice.'  That would be putting the Bible down on the par with human books [wouldn't it]?  ... Yet people will put the church of Christ in with man-made churches and say: 'One church is as good as another, for after all, a church is a church; just take the church of your choice.'  Friends, such is not right!  The woman did not say one garment was as good as another, but she put 'His garment' above all others, and rejecting them, said, 'If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.' ... A church not identical with the congregations in the New Testament is a human, or man-made, church. ... Divine power and blessings flow out to us through the Lord's [church], and even then we must make contact—touch His garment—be added to His church!”  Jesus once declared in John 10:16: “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold [speaking of the Gentiles]; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and their will be one flock and one shepherd.”  Jesus promised that there would be only one flock.  Now what is that flock?  Paul admonished elders with these words in Acts 20:28: “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers ...”  Notice these elders are to take heed to the flock.  Well, what is that flock?  Let keep reading: “... to shepherd the church of God ...”  Doesn't this show that the one flock that Jesus promised has now become a reality, and that one flock is His church?  Jesus' church is unique and distinct; there is no other human organization like it!  Jesus' church will spend eternity with Him in heaven after this world has been destroyed (2 Peter 3:12-13)!
 
“Another thing belonging to the Lord is [salvation].  Paul said, 'For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes' (Romans 1:16).  Note that this is 'the Gospel of Christ,' not just any gospel.  Just as the woman was determined to touch His garment, we should be sure to contact His Gospel, not just some of many 'gospels' being preached today. ...  Yes, the Lord's Gospel must be heard, believed, and obeyed.  Any gospel which one does not obey to be saved is not the Lord's gospel.  Power flows through the Lord's Gospel to save the lost (1 Corinthians 15:2).  This is not true of other 'gospels'. ... Baptism is also connected with the Lord [and is a part of His salvation].”  “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit ...”  This is Jesus' command to His followers in Matthew 28:19.  “People speak of taking the baptism of their choice when there is no such choice as they have in mind.  Sprinkling and pouring are not any more baptism than King Herod's robe was Jesus' garment.  For baptism to connect one with Jesus' death, it must be a burial in water, and have in it a resurrection—like Jesus was buried and raised. ... Paul wrote: 'Buried with Him [Jesus] in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him from the dead' (Colossians 2:12) ... 'But,' our neighbors argue, 'a drop is as good as an ocean.'  This is not true, for you could not bury a person in a drop, but you can bury one in an ocean.  When Philip and the Ethiopian in Acts 8 both went down into the water and Philip baptized him, they did not go down into a mere drop to perform this act (Acts 8:38-39).  The writer of Hebrews said that those baptized in his day had their bodies washed with pure water (Hebrews 10:22), and this could not have been done with only a drop. ... So, don't touch the wrong garment, friend; and if you have already been misled, correct the matter while you have time and opportunity on your side.  The [unique salvation] which Jesus [offers] and the unique baptism He commands are like His garment in that they belong to Him, and His power goes out through His divine things, and not through the teachings of men.
 
Why live a sickly and diseased spiritual life?  Why live for many years like this woman had?  If you want to be made well, you can touch the hem of His garment this morning.  Will you have the faith and courage like the women in our text to perform a faith-filled act that others may think of as foolish?  Do you believe that His name, His blood, His day, His church, and His salvation can bring you spiritual health?  The women worked her way through the crowd to touch Jesus' garment in order to know His power, and won't you work your way down this aisle to contact Jesus' things and know His power again?  Come to Jesus and be made spiritually healthy!  Let's stand now and sing the Lord's invitation for your encouragement!