HOW WAS THERE HEALING IN JESUS’ GARMENT HEM?
by Shawn Brasseaux
What is the significance of sick people receiving physical healing by touching Jesus’ garment hem? Why—of all things—was a garment border emphasized in these verses? In faith, we will take our King James Bible and search for answers!
Notice Matthew 9:20-22: “ And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:  For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.  But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.”
Read the parallel, Mark 5:25-29: “ And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,  And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,  When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.  For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.  And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.”
Luke 8:43-44 is also a companion passage: “ And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,  Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched [stopped, dried up].”
Matthew 14:34-36, while another occasion entirely, nevertheless highlights the idea of touching Jesus’ garment to receive physical healing: “ And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret.  And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased;  And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.”
In order to grasp the significance of this hem, we must consult the Law of Moses. Read Numbers chapter 15: “ And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue:  And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring:  That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.  I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD your God.” Deuteronomy 22:12 is a similar order: “Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself.”
JEHOVAH God commanded the Israelites to sew a strip of blue cloth on the borders of their garments. This blue band served to remind them to obey His laws (the Old Covenant). They were His people and were thus expected to act like it. In fact, they had actually promised to obey Him back at Mount Sinai just prior to Him giving the Mosaic Law and entering that covenant relationship with Him. They were married to Him, and were required to have no other gods before Him.
Read Exodus chapter 19: “ And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;  Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.  Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:  And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.  And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him.  And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.” Although they boasted they would “do” “all” that God had commanded them (verse 8), they did not obey Him. They engaged in pagan idolatry from that time all the way to Christ’s earthly ministry over 15 centuries later. Their sinful nature and behavior necessitate the New Covenant (yet future).
Pay attention to Jeremiah chapter 31: “ Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:  Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:  But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.  And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” The New Covenant is God causing Israel to obey Him as opposed to their sinful flesh struggling but failing to obey Him. In other words, if they are to be His people, the arrangement must be based on His righteousness instead of theirs.
During Christ’s earthly ministry, there was a believing remnant present in Israel who understood their personal and national sin problem. The hemorrhaging woman pictures these believing Jews (Mark 5:25 and Luke 8:43 report she suffered her malady 12 years, 12 being Israel’s number in Scripture). We saw how she reached out in faith and grabbed the blue “ribband” (strip, ribbon, hem) on Jesus’ garment. Spiritual healing, depicted by the physical healing, is not in the sinner keeping the laws of God (an impossibility). Rather, spiritual healing is in the Son of God keeping those laws perfectly. “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him” (John 8:29).
Even now, it is Jesus Christ’s obedience to Father God—not our obedience—that delivers us from the penalty of sin (Hell and the Lake of Fire). Believing Jews in Israel’s program understood this, and we Christians in this the Dispensation of Grace understand that now. Unlike them, we have a complete Bible, and therefore possess a full understanding of Calvary’s crosswork. Christ’s shed blood delivers us from sin (Romans chapter 3) as well as ratifies the New Covenant to save Israel from sin (Hebrews chapter 10). The physical healing of the hemorrhaging woman and the physical healing of the others who touched Christ’s garment border all demonstrate Israel’s future redemption and restoration (spiritual healing).
The Law is “weak and beggarly” (Galatians 4:9), “weak through the flesh” (Romans 8:3) because we are naturally unable to keep God’s laws. “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). Romans 3:19-20 is so plain, we would have to want to miss it not to understand its simple words: “ Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.  Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in God’s sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Also, 1 Corinthians 15:56, “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.”
If we want sin to reign in our lives and dominate us, the Law is the means whereby we can be defeated as sinners. Even in Israel’s program, the Mosaic Law was never meant to save anyone, never intended to give anyone a right standing before God. It was given to prove Israel’s failure, and it was to demonstrate our failure—for we are all, Jew and Gentile alike, sons and daughters of sinful Adam. Galatians 3:19 says, “The law… was added because of transgressions [sins, failures]….” But, the good news is that, “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). As the hemorrhaging woman reached out to Christ, depending on His righteousness and not her own, let us place our faith in Christ as sufficient payment for our sins. We will experience permanent, spiritual healing found nowhere else!