The Touch of Christ!
There is a strange power sometimes in the mere touch of a hand. Frequently in the gospels we read of the touch of our Lord's hand, and always there was a blessing in it. Peter's mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. The family told Jesus of her and he came to her bedside and touched her hand. There was a singular power in that touch, for the moment it fell upon the patient's hot hand, the fever left her. So complete was the cure that she arose at once and ministered unto Jesus and the friends who were with him.
Once a leper came, imploring the Master to heal him. "If you will, you can make me clean," said the leper. It was not lawful for anyone to touch a leper, for leprosy was an unclean disease and the touching of any who had it, left the person unclean. But Jesus was moved with compassion, and putting forth his hand touched the leper and said unto him, "I will—be clean!" He had no fear of being made unclean, and there was such power in his touch that the leprosy departed immediately from the poor man and he was cleansed.
There was a man brought to Jesus who was deaf and who had an impediment in his speech. His friends brought him to Jesus and besought him to lay his hand upon the silent man. Jesus took him aside and first put his fingers into the deaf ears, and then, spitting, touched the speechless tongue, and looking up to Heaven sighed and said, "Ephphatha, be opened!" Immediately the man's ears were opened and the string of his tongue was loosed and he spoke distinctly.
A blind man was brought to Jesus. Reaching out his hand and groping in the darkness, he begged to be permitted to touch the Master, hoping thereby to be cured of his blindness. Jesus took him by the hand and led him out of the town and then touched the sightless eyes with his hand, when light broke in upon the man's darkness. At first he saw dimly and obscurely, but soon he was able to see clearly.
At another time Jesus was journeying toward a town when a funeral procession was coming out of the gate and moving toward the place of burial. Following the casket was the mother of the dead boy, who was her "only son," while she was a widow. The Master's heart was moved with compassion as he looked upon the sorrowful scene, and he spoke to the woman, saying, "Weep not." Then he drew near and touched the casket, while the bearers stood still. Speaking to the dead boy, he said, "Young man, I say unto you, Arise!" And life returned and the dead boy sat up and began to speak. Thus death fled away and sorrow was turned to joy at the Master's touch.
On another occasion little children were brought to Jesus with the desire that he would teach them. The people seem to have understood that there was a strange power in the touch of that hand, that in some way blessing went out from it; hence parents wanted him to touch their children. He gladly took these little ones in his arms and laid his hands on their heads and blessed them. If any of those children became Christians when they grew up, it must have been a sweet thought to them all through their life, that the hand of Jesus was once laid upon them.
It is remarkable that the last touch of Christ's hand mentioned in the gospels, was when he restored the ear which Peter had cut off with his sword in the garden of Gethsemane.
These are a few of the allusions in the gospels to the "touch" of Christ's hand. They are all suggestive. His touch always cools the fever of our lives, and prepares us for quiet and sweet service.
There is a story of a woman whose life was full of cares, and who sometimes lost her peace. One morning she was feverish and perplexed as she went about her work, preparing the meal for her family and getting her children off to school. When her house was quiet she went to her room, and, opening her Bible, read the account of the healing of the sick woman, where it says, "He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she arose, and ministered unto them." "Ah!" said she, " if I had had the touch of that hand before I began my morning's work, the fever would have left me and I would then have been prepared to minister peacefully to my family." The lesson she got was that she needed the touch of Christ to make her ready for sweet service.
The lesson is for all of us. When life's fever is on us we are not in condition to minister to others—and there is nothing that will cure us so quickly as the touch of the Master's hand. Then when the fever has left us, we shall be ready for ministry.
And there is no touch that will cleanse us of our leprosy of sin, but the touch of Jesus. Nothing else will open our blind eyes, or unstop our deaf ears, or loose our dumb tongues. Indeed, no blessing of any kind can come to us except through the touch of Christ's hand. It is the one link that earth has with Heaven. Through that nail-pierced hand—all blessing, all comfort, all grace and strength come to this world's weary ones. Jesus is the one mediator between God and man, and through his touch alone do the light and life of Heaven flow down upon the darkness and death of earth.
Jesus is now in Heaven, yet his hand is stretched out still. It is ready everywhere with its gentle touch to cool the heart's fever, or heal the soul's diseases, or rest in blessing on the bowed head of the crushed sufferer, or little child. Wherever the holy Word goes the hand of Christ, unseen, is reached out. Wherever the Spirit lingers over a life, the hand that was wounded waits ready with its efficacious touch to give blessing. Laid upon the penitent crying for mercy—it gives peace. Resting upon the mourner in the bitterness of grief—it gives deep and rich comfort. Touching the brow of anxious care—it smooths out the lines of anxiety. The touch of Christ brings . . .
rest to the weary,
strength to the weak,
courage to the faint-hearted,
and hope to the despairing.
We need only faith and prayer to have this healing, cleansing, renewing, life-giving touch rest in all its blessed power upon our hearts and lives.