When we have been shattered of our strength or when we are discouraged, if we cry out for the comforting touch of Jesus, He will respond. The kingdom of God manifests through the touch of Jesus Christ. One of the most appealing of all Jesus’ many attractive qualities was His compassion and kindness for suffering people. The Gospels are full of examples of Jesus’ physically touching and being touched by people. We could see a Ministry of Touch of Jesus all through the gospels.
In the Gospel of Matthew, we see an amazing demonstration, not just of Jesus’ power, but of His compassionate love. In Matthew 8:1-3 we see “When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed Him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before Him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.”

We human beings many times don’t like to get our hands dirty. When we hear about someone who is experiencing great pain or trouble, we might try to do something to help but very few of us are willing to get directly involved in a messy situation of others need. The Bible tells how Jesus, though He was by very nature divine, did not consider His exalted position as God, as something He should cling to but voluntarily gave it up and humbled Himself to enter the world as a man. Then He stooped even lower, becoming a servant who spent His entire life attending to the needs of others.
Here in the above incident, we see Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man-the leper. Now Jesus comes back from the mountain, He is immediately confronted with an instance of profound human need. A leper came to him, knelt before Jesus, and asked for healing. This man seems to have had no doubt about Jesus’ ability or power to heal. The only question in the leper’s mind had to do with Jesus’ willingness. In that time and culture lepers were considered impure, unclean, contaminating. They were literally untouchable. So there was a real point to this leper’s hesitant statement, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” Jesus’ response was immediate and dramatic. He “stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be clean.’” Jesus Christ actually stretched out his hand to touch a leper, and in doing so, Jesus healed him.

In Mark 1:31 we see there was Peter’s mother-in-law who was in bed with a fever: “And Jesus went to her, took her hand and helped her up and the fever left her”. In Mark 5:41 there was a young girl who actually was lying dead. Jesus took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). On another occasion He helped a man who was deaf and mute: “Taking him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put His fingers into the man’s ears, and He spat and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven He moaned and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means, ‘Be opened’” (Mark 7:33-34). In Mark 8:23 there was the case of a blind man; Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” In Mark 9:27 we see a boy who was tormented by demonic, epileptic seizures, who convulsed and lay as dead: “But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up”.
Jesus not only touched suffering people who needed healing as described in all those examples mentioned above; He also touched struggling people who needed help. Think of Peter sinking in the sea as he tried to walk to Jesus across the water. Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. (Matthew 14:22-33) Jesus also gathered the little children in His arms and blessed them. (Mark 10:16) He also allowed Himself to be touched, even by those whose contact would ceremonially defile Him in the eyes of the law. There was a sick woman who once reached out to Him in a passing crowd because she thought, if she just touches His clothes, she will be healed. (Mark 5:28). On another occasion, a woman with a sinful past came up to Jesus at a banquet and expressed her gratitude for His forgiveness by washing His feet with her tears and drying them with her hair. (Luke 7:36-50) Also we all know about Thomas, the disciple who doubted Jesus’ resurrection. More dramatically than anyone, Jesus allowed Thomas to touch Him, and all his doubts vanished in an instant. In John 20:27 we see then Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
But why did Jesus touch all these people or allow all these people to touch Him? In particular, why did He touch this particular man, the man with leprosy, who appealed to him for help? A leper, whose very contact, would make Jesus unclean but actually what Jesus wanted to communicate is that, nothing could make Him unclean. Any other would have defiled themself by touching the leper; but Jesus remain undefiled and instead cleansed the leper whom He touched. That is the obvious reason Jesus touched this man. The leper had wondered whether Jesus was willing to help him, to have contact with him, to get involved in his messy life and its problems.
Remember what the man had said? “Lord, if you will …” That is really an implied question: “Lord, are you willing? Would you really want to help someone like me, someone so hurting, so unclean?” Jesus not only offers the man a verbal answer to his question but His touch also was the answer. Jesus touched the man because He loved him and if you love someone you can never show that with mere words but it needs an embrace, a hug and the touch of a hand like the comforting touch of Jesus. Two thousand years ago Jesus modeled the healing effects of the ministry of touch. He typically used His hands to heal. In what ways can we be the hands of Jesus and show the ministry of touch to someone who many need our love and compassion?




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