The Healing Power of Touch
Apr 26, 2021 1971
In one of the first miracles of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus demonstrates the healing power of touch. A man with leprosy came to him and fell on his knees, begging to be healed. Jesus reached out his hand, touched him and healed him (1:40-45).
Then a woman who has been bleeding for twelve years touched him and she was immediately healed (5:24-34). Not long after that, Jesus takes the hand of a little girl who had died, tells her to get up, and she comes back from the dead (vv.35-43).
What do all these miracles have in common? It’s the touch of Jesus. But not only that, it’s also who Jesus touches. Jews were forbidden by law to touch lepers, blood, and corpses. All of these people whom Jesus healed were considered unclean. Anyone who touched them also became ritually unclean and could only be made again by a rigorous ritual cleansing process. That’s why, for example, when the leper came to Jesus, the words he said weren’t “heal me,” but actually,
If you are willing, you can make me clean (Mark 1:40, NIV).
Of course Jesus was willing!
People are still experiencing Jesus’s healing power of touch.
In fact, Jesus was so willing, that the instances I’ve mentioned are only examples. Throughout his gospel, Mark delights in showing Jesus touching almost everything that Jewish religious declared unclean and untouchable.
We often take the importance of physical touch for granted. During World War II there was an experiment done with orphaned babies. It’s an experiment that probably would never be ethically allowed today. There were two groups of orphaned babies. The first one had their basic needs met, and additionally received physical touch and soothing words. The second group of babies only had their basic needs met, with no unnecessary touch. The babies who didn’t receive physical touch began to lose weight and become ill, while the other babies thrived.
Physical touch is vital to our healthy development and happiness. MRI scans of the brain have revealed clear changes in brain activity when a person is touched.
Jesus touches the untouchable.
It’s wonderful to be touched by someone who loves you isn’t it? It’s even better to be touched by Jesus. His touch is the touch by the clean of the unclean. It’s the touch that transcends every boundary and barrier. It’s the touch that cleanses, forgiveness, heals and restores.
One of the themes of the gospel of Mark is that Jesus touches the untouchable. That’s true in your life also. Where others turn away, Jesus will draw near to you. Where others set up barriers to keep you away, Jesus will demolish them. And where others fear to get close to you, Jesus is longing to touch you.
Jesus hasn’t changed. People are still experiencing his healing power of touch today.
The more that you allow him, the deeper into your soul Jesus will touch. And wherever he touches within you will be slowly be filled with healing and with light. Understanding will be followed by peace, and peace will be followed by joy.