Daring to Touch God
by Cynthia Bowen
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Many Biblical accounts show Jesus touching people and doing good. Often people would come to Him with their problems, but Jesus was the one who actually initiated the contact. As often as He touched them, lepers were healed, the blind received their sight, and the dead were raised back to life.
That Jesus, being God the Son, initiated contact with His creation reveals to us that He is good. It also shows that He is willing to help us and heal us. It is the perfect picture of the Hebrew word "chen" which is translated grace. It is a picture of One Who is superior stooping to help someone who is inferior to Him. We see Jesus who is willing to get down in the dirt to help us. Though He is God incarnate, but didn't wall Himself off behind an ornate veil or in a gold-covered box. Instead, He wore flesh like we do, and walked dusty streets like us. He "stooped" down and touched us.
I don't discredit or despise Jesus touching man. If Jesus wants to touch us, let us say, "Yes, Lord! Touch any part of my life You want to touch!" I love it that He cares so much about us that He takes time to touch our lives, tackle our problems as insignificant as they are, and help us in our daily lives. That just shows us His great mercy and compassion.
What I really want to consider is what happens when a person gets bold enough to initiate contact with Jesus. What happens when man touches God? I believe we can find the answers by looking at the story of three women who press past obstacles and opinions to touch the Master.
In Matthew 9, we find Jesus accompanying a man to his house to heal his sick daughter when the miracle is interrupted by a bold woman.
And behold, a woman who had suffered from a flow of blood for twelve years came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His garment; For she kept saying to herself, If I only touch His garment, I shall be restored to health. Jesus turned around and, seeing her, He said, Take courage, daughter! Your faith has made you well. And at once the woman was restored to health. (Matthew 9:20-22)
This is a woman who had a serious problem. In the book of Luke, we find that she had spent all her living on physicians who could not help her. Instead she grew steadily worse. No one could help her; she had tried everything she knew to try. However, she heard that Jesus was coming to town and an idea starting playing at the edge of her mind. First it was just a thought, then it became a conviction. Soon she began to speak the thought. She kept saying to herself, "If I only touch His garment, I shall be restored to health."
However, touching Jesus was going to come at some cost to her. Jewish law considered a woman with an issue of blood as unclean and forbid her from touching others, especially a Rabbi. Additionally, Jesus coming to town was no secret and a great crowd had gathered around Him. But the idea of touching Jesus had become so strong to her, that these obstacles could not stop her. She slipped through the crowds until He was close, then stretched out her hand, and her faith, to touch Him. Mark records that Jesus immediately stopped and asked, "Who touched Me?" The disciples were incredulous as they pointed out to the Lord that a great crowd was thronging around Him. However, Jesus knew that someone had dared to touch Him with the hand of faith, and that same faith had drawn God's healing virtue out of Him. Surely fear filled her heart; she had been discovered. Jesus stilled that fear with His loving words, "Take courage, daughter! Your faith has made you well." She went home healed.
This woman's desperate "on purpose" touch of faith got God's attention. God was not moved because of her need, or she would never have suffered twelve years with an incurable condition. Neither is God moved by our needs alone. He is a good and loving Father Who knows what we have need of, and has provisions made for us. Just like this desperate woman, when we touch Him with faith God cannot resist us. Touching God with our faith pulls on His power to meet our need.
Another account of a bold woman who pressed in to touch the Lord is found in Luke 7:36-38.
One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to dine with him, and He went into the Pharisee's house and reclined at table. And behold, a woman of the town who was an especially wicked sinner, when she learned that He was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment (perfume). And standing behind Him at His feet weeping, she began to wet His feet with [her] tears; and she wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed His feet [affectionately] and anointed them with the ointment (perfume).
When she heard that Jesus was going to eat at the Pharisee's home, this woman, whose name is not mentioned, also had a daring idea. The Bible records that this woman is an especially wicked sinner. She knew who she was, and the way she was viewed in her community. I am sure she understood that she had not been invited to the dinner, nor was she likely to be welcomed into the house. Her life had been one spent on trying to find happiness in questionable relationships and illicit endeavors. Each day left her feeling more empty and alone. Still, she had this conviction that Jesus was God's representative on the earth. She also knew she desperately needed God.
Taking her flask of ointment , she went to the better part of town where the dinner was already beginning. Steeling herself against the incredulous looks of the other guests and the critical remarks that were sure to come, she entered the house and slid to the ground behind Jesus. She wept fat tears as she looked at the Holy Lamb of God and knew she could never deserve to be in His presence. She wept because of the choices she had made and the life she had lived. She wept because she was stained. She wept tears of broken repentance and washed the Savior's dusty feet. Humbling herself even further, she dried them with her hair and kissed them. Finally she poured her precious ointment on His feet in worship. In verses 48-50 of the same chapter, Jesus responds to her with beautiful words of grace, " Your sins are forgiven!"
This woman's broken, repentant worship touched Jesus' heart and pulled on His tender mercy and love. She left forgiven and delivered from the consequences of her sins. Touching God moved her into a new life, free from the slavery of a destructive lifestyle. When we touch God with our repentance, we also enter into a new life. We are suddenly separated from the sins and choices that have brought death into our lives, and are joined to God. Whether it is a first conversion, or repentance after we have erred, the effect is just as powerful. We enter into a life filled with peace with God, and the assurance of His love and favor. God will not resist such a touch.
Finally, we see Mary touching Jesus in John 12:1-8.
So six days before the Passover Feast, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, who had died and whom He had raised from the dead. So they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those at the table with Him. Mary took a pound of ointment of pure liquid nard [a rare perfume] that was very expensive, and she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped them with her hair. And the whole house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.But Judas Iscariot, the one of His disciples who was about to betray Him, said,Why was this perfume not sold for 300 denarii [a year's wages for an ordinary workman] and that [money] given to the poor (the destitute)? Now he did not say this because he cared for the poor but because he was a thief; and having the bag (the money box, the purse of the Twelve), he took for himself what was put into it [pilfering the collections]. But Jesus said, Let her alone. It was [intended] that she should keep it for the time of My preparation for burial. [She has kept it that she might have it for the time of My [embalming.] You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.
Unlike the other two women we have considered, Mary is mentioned by name. She is a person who already had a relationship established with Jesus on a personal level. In John 11:5, she and her family are referred to as Jesus' dear friends whom He holds in loving esteem. Mary is not someone who simply heard He was in town and decided to go see Him do miracles. She is not someone who had an unexplored idea about Who He was. Mary had spent time with the Lord, listening to His teaching and watching His life line up with His words. She had witnessed His miracle power as He raised her brother Lazarus from the dead. She already had faith in Jesus as the Messiah,and more personally as her Savior.
When Mary touched Jesus and anointed his feet, it was a deliberate act of pure, loving worship. As she knelt at His feet, she was not seeking His miracle working power for her life. She was not pouring sorrow out, hoping for salvation. I believe her repentance had already been done. She was, in effect, saying " I know You and love You. I don't need You to do anything. I just want to adore You."
I believe that Mary's touch was significant because it was a personal, intimate touch of love. In the Gospel of Matthew, the Lord adds, "Wherever this good news (the Gospel) is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will be told also, in memory of her." Her touch got God's attention and caused Him to remember her. When we deliberately touch the Lord with our love and worship, we are magnetized for the attention of heaven.
Let us rejoice when God touches us. Let us receive the healing and grace that He longs to lavish on us. However, let us determine in our hearts to initiate contact with Him, not merely to sit idly in our churches hoping He notices us. We will pull the miracle power of heaven to earth for ourselves and for others. We will walk in peace, joy, and freedom in our daily lives with Him. Finally, we will attract the attention of heaven with our love and worship.
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