Twin girls, only a few hours old, were lying in their individual hospital incubators. Something was terribly wrong with one of them, and she wasn’t expected to live. A nurse placed the babies together in one incubator. The healthy baby threw an arm over her sister's upper torso, either intentionally or by chance. The smaller baby’s heart rate stabilized and her temperature rose to normal. Some said, “That’s astonishing!”
But maybe it shouldn’t be. Human experience has demonstrated over and over the value of the loving human touch. Why is that? It’s because gentle contact normally implies acceptance, and without acceptance, we live miserable lives, and may even die.
As Jesus traveled among people, he often reached out and touched them. His touch wasn’t reserved for the healthy, beautiful people he met; he also touched those no one else wanted to touch.
Why did Jesus intentionally have this intimate, physical contact with people? It was because he loved them and wanted to heal them. He knew they needed someone to show them they were worth something.
Jesus’ touch wasn’t always intended to miraculously heal people afflicted by physical conditions, but they often were. Let’s briefly look at three instances where this was the case.
First, the touch of Jesus healed a leper. Following the Sermon on the Mount, “...a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.’ And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, ‘I will; be clean.’ And immediately his leprosy was cleansed” (Matthew 8:2-3).
Leprosy was sometimes a punishment for sin and a symbol for the spiritual condition of the sinner. Miriam was punished by God because of her opposition of her brother Moses’ leadership of the Hebrews as they traveled in the Sinai wilderness.
Leprosy destroys the flesh and eventually causes death; sin does the same thing spiritually! Leprosy is contagious, and touching a leper could be deadly. Those afflicted with it were unclean, and could not associate with those who didn’t have the disease.
But the touch of Jesus healed this leper. Likewise, the spiritual touch of Jesus heals the leprosy of sin. As the divine touch of Jesus was the only cure for leprosy, so is the divine touch of Jesus the only cure for sin today.
Second, Jesus’ garment was touched by a woman with chronic bleeding and healed (Matthew 9:20-22). The doctors could not help her; in fact, she was beyond human help. She had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was not healed, but instead grew worse. This woman’s disease was internal and caused her great suffering; she no doubt would have eventually been consumed and destroyed by this disease had she not had faith in Jesus’ power of healing.
Without the touch of Jesus all sinners will eventually be consumed and destroyed by the disease of sin.
Third, the touch of Jesus gave sight to two blind men (Matthew 20:29-34). Even though some who followed Jesus as he left Jericho tried to stop them from seeking his help, they persisted and were rewarded by his healing touch of their eyes.
Many can’t see the importance of the kingdom of God, nor understand spiritual things. Since the Garden of Eden, Satan has worked to blind women and men to the truth of God’s word. Consequently, many are spiritually blind unable to see their need for Jesus and the salvation that he alone can give.
Jesus came to touch us with the spiritual healing of the good news. These stories of physical healing should encourage us to persist in seeking his touch.