The Common Life

By E.J. Waggoner
First published in The Medical Missionary, October 1903

I read Woman with Biblea warning recently by someone to the effect that we must not make the life of the Lord too common; that we must not bring it down to the level of our daily lives. But when we really understand the matter we shall find that we cannot make it any more common than it is. While we must not bring the life down to the level of our lives, we must let that life which is so common lift up our lives.

The Lord has put the gospel message into everything upon the earth; we cannot go anywhere where we cannot find the gospel proclaimed, so there is no danger of making the gospel too common. God himself has made it common.

The Lord Christ manifest in the flesh, is nigh unto every one,

Romans 10 [see also Deuteronomy 30:14]
8 …even in your mouth and in your heart…

Christ crucified, buried, and risen again, with his eternal power, is with every person, in order that he may do the things that are right. The Lord has not left himself without witnesses, but he has put the witness in every one.

In the thirtieth chapter of Deuteronomy we read:

Deuteronomy 30
19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live:
20 That you may love the Lord your God, and that you may obey his voice, and that you may cleave unto him: for he is your life, and the length of your days.

This is true of you–he is your strength. He is your life,–your present life,–all the life you have. All the life there is, is the Lord’s, for he says,

John 14
6 …I am the way, the truth, and the life…

He is the life, not a part of the life, but the life. Just as there is no other way, and no other truth, so there is no other life. That life does all that is done, or ever can be done, for mankind.

In the eighth chapter of Luke is the account of the healing of a poor woman who had suffered everything and was nearly dead. Jesus at this time was surrounded by a great crowd of people who wanted to see what was going on. They knew that this man had done many wondrous things, and they were there to see what they could, and have something to talk about. They crowded and pressed themselves as people do at a show, each trying to get to the front. This poor woman, with her life almost gone, could see no hope of getting to him, and she thought,

Matthew 9
21 …If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.

I am sure that God had this one miracle recorded here in detail for a special purpose, because it is so fully illustrative of the universality of the cross,–that the power of the cross is our life. There is such comfort and instruction in it.

To continue: That woman’s peculiar form of disease was loss of blood: she was anemic, pale, thin, exhausted, almost ready to die because she did not have blood enough to nourish the tissues and keep life going. But she determined to get into touch with Jesus.

At last she got where she could touch the hem of his garment and instantly she was made whole. The record says that instantly she was made whole. It does not say only that the blood was staunched, or that she felt that she was healed, but that she was made whole; not simply that the ravages of the disease were checked, and she was started on her way toward recovery, but that she was made whole.

I go very carefully over this, because I have seen so many people who find it such a new idea that it seems difficult for them to grasp it. That is to say, Christians have become so accustomed to think that the cross of Christ is simply a piece of wood set up nineteen hundred years ago that they cannot grasp the idea that the cross of Christ is everywhere, always giving life. They cannot grasp the wondrous love of God and his infinite power, and the marvelous provision he has made for the redemption of fallen man, and see that it is always and everywhere working. It seems a strange thing, as the Lord said to the prophet Hosea:

Hosea 8
12 I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing.

The trouble with this sick woman was lack of blood. If she was to be made whole she must have the lack supplied. She was made whole; therefore it is self-evident that she received that which she lacked; namely, blood. Whence did the woman get this fresh blood? Where did it come from?

Let us take the story a little further. Jesus looked up suddenly and said,

“Who touched me?”

And then the people laughed, and said,

“That is a foolish question to ask, for everybody is crowding and pressing on every side.”

But Jesus said,

“Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.”

That touch, then, which brought instant healing to the woman took something out of the Lord. She received power,–life-power, blood,–and power and vital force went forth from Christ. What she lacked, he supplied.

“How can that be?” someone asks. “No one saw the blood pass from Him to her.”

There are many things that human eyes never saw, yet they take place and we know them by faith. The woman could not see anything, but she took something by faith, and then she knew in herself, without any need of assurance from anyone that she had something very real.

Faith is for the purpose of making us see something that cannot be seen. Faith is not imagination or fancy, but substance, and is that power which makes intangible things patent to our senses.

Moses endured because by faith he saw the unseen; he saw the invisible; he beheld the glory of the Lord, looking not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen. We find in this strength, and courage, and hope.

And now I wish you to see some of the things that cannot be seen with your eyes, but which you can see just as plainly as if they were visible before you. You can walk through this world, seeing, just as plainly as you see the sun, things that the world cannot see.

No one saw anything pass from Christ to the woman, yet there was something real, because the thing she lacked came from him, and what she lacked was good blood and plenty of it. The reason why so many people do not grasp that is because they think that blood cannot be other than as it is in our arteries.

You know that for many, many years, because people could not see the air, they thought it was really nothing at all. But we have lived to see air in a liquid form poured from one vessel to another. We have seen a dipperful thrown to the floor, and heard it strike in a body, like so much water, and instantly there was nothing visible.

The Lord has allowed such discoveries as this to come out, one by one, in order that there may not be a single peg upon which a reasoning person can hang any sort of doubt.

Suppose that instead of air being this invisible fluid, we had always seen it in no other form than liquid. We then would have the same difficulty in thinking of it as existing in an invisible form that people now have in thinking of blood as ever being invisible. If in that case someone said that air could pass from one vessel to another and nobody see it, the reply would instantly be,

“That cannot be, because air is always white, and has a definite color and consistency.”

There are many truths about the most common things which we have yet to learn. We have yet to learn the scientific fact that blood can be invisible, and yet as real as when we see it flowing; the same as the invisible air is real.

Of His Fullness Have We All Received

The case before us is an illustration of the fact that Christ took our sicknesses upon himself; he himself bore our sicknesses and carried our infirmities.

Suppose that here is a vessel about one-third full of water; the other two-thirds is, of course, full of emptiness, as far as water is concerned. Suppose I had another vessel full of water, and I poured out of that into this partially filled vessel until it became full. The vessel would then have received of the others fullness. What would that other one get from this?–Why, its emptiness; because to the extent that water has been drawn from it into the other there is a corresponding emptiness in it.

That is what happened when Jesus healed that woman’s infirmity. He felt the draft upon his life. Just as much life went from Him as the woman lacked and received. Why, then, did He not die?

We have to carry the illustration a little further in order to realize it. Suppose that instead of filling this vessel’s emptiness from another vessel, I take the water from a flowing fountain. Can you not see that the very same thing would take place? The vessel has received from the fountain’s fullness. What has the fountain got from the vessel? Emptiness, because I took a quantity of water from it, enough to fill the vessel. But you cannot see where it was taken, because there is a fresh supply constantly coming.

With God is the fountain of life; and Jesus Christ was in continual touch with God, because he was God manifest in the flesh; and therefore, although the sick and diseased came to him by scores, he healed them all, as many as touched him received healing–their need was supplied. He did not die, because he was in touch with the fountainhead, and the supply was kept up.

When was it that Jesus laid down his life for the world? Was it just that hour when He hung upon the cross? Was it not every day? He laid down his life, gave it up, when he healed that woman and all who came to him, just as surely as when he hung on the cross of Calvary.

In the case of healing which we are studying, as in all others, we have the cross. Christ gave life, his own life, for those whom he healed. What did he do when he hung upon that piece of wood which we call the cross? He gave his life, his blood. The reason we are reconciled by the blood of Christ is that it flows through us and cleanses us from all impurity.

Where is sin? your sin and mine? It is in us, a part of us, it is in our flesh and blood; it is a plague that is defiling this body and sapping our life. If the blood of Christ cleanses me from sin, that blood must be in me; because if there is uncleanness, we can clean it only by applying the cleansing fluid to the impurity. And just as real as the sin is, so real must be the blood that cleanses it away. Yea, it is greater and more powerful than the sin.