Just A Touch
by Pastor Gene
The verse is striking in its simplicity: “Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him” (Matthew 8:3).
We touch lots of things as we move through life without ever thinking much about it. But this touch was different. The man Jesus touched was a man who had most likely forgotten what it felt like to be touched by another human being.
He was an outcast. Dirty. Unclean. One of the untouchables. A man to be kept separate, hidden, quarantined, away from the rest of polite and impolite society. He was an unclean man.
But he’d heard that there was a Man who’d been healing the sick and talking a lot about God. He’d even called God His Father!
He was a Man who seemed to care about people, to really love them. He’d been feeding the hungry and even raising the dead! A miracle-working Man.
So, when Jesus came down from the mountain on this particular morning, the leprous man was among the crowd that followed Him.
I imagine he worked his way through the crowd with great difficulty – the people would have backed away as soon as they spied his condition. He was breaking every social code. He shouldn’t have been near the crowd. But he believed that this Man might help him, heal him, change his life forever.
So, this leprous throw-away “came to him and knelt before him” and said: “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” This amounted to a declaration of his faith. The man believed that Jesus could do this for him. But would He want to?
Jesus’ answer came quickly, “I will, be clean.”
But the words were accompanied by a shocking gesture: “Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him …”
Why the touch? It was socially inappropriate. Some might even argue it was irresponsible, that it made Jesus a law-breaker. But no, not at all.
Jesus could have healed the man with a word, but He chose to touch him.
Because He knew that the man needed something more than just a healing. He needed to feel that touch. He needed to know that he mattered, that he was still human.
To consider …
- Is there anyone around you that might need more than just a word of encouragement? Perhaps something more? Some special time, some special touch from you?
- While the Lord may not use us to ‘heal’ whatever is troubling those around us, just being available to listen, to share, to hold a hand can make all the difference. Is there someone in your periphery that needs a touch from you? The challenge here is to do the harder thing – to risk something to love like Jesus loved. The easy thing is often the distant thing – send a check, a card, write a note, or just do nothing. The closer we get to the person in need, the more it costs us. Jesus’ touch was the ultimate risk. But it’s the love that risks that has the greatest potential impact. Are you letting your love settle for the easy thing?
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Compassion- it does mean so much sometimes to someone going through difficult times. I can remember times when I honestly thought I was alone in the struggle and God would put someone at the right place at the right time because that person listened to what God wanted them to do. I know in my crazy busy week I am guilty to want to rush through and get through the day but I need Gods heart and His eyes to see what I’ve been missing.
Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me a Your love for humanity
Give me Your arms for the broken hearted
The Ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Harvest family do we have eyes that “see”? ❤️👀
Thanks for this reminder by posting the lyrics of Brandon Heath’s song give me your eyes. It is pretty amazing how God will use a person at just the right time to say or do just the right thing. I remember after a deep loss my friend knew to call me up and say I’m bringing you a coffee what do you want? I’m coming over to be with you. And she just let me cry and she cried w/ me it was very profound!
Wow! I am so overwhelmed, first the message! That Greek Word ‘splagch-n-lzomai’ for compassion, when I first heard its pronunciation it sounded like some a medical term for some rare sickness! no offense to the medical field, but if that’s what it means ‘compassion’ then I want to catch it!
Then Joy’s testimony ending with a poem? song? prayer? I couldn’t differentiate so I’II call it a prayer-song. It touched my heart, I want to recite it often. And the testimony of Ann, how can you not be moved!
A touch from a stranger led to my salvation! We had been attending a certain “church” for many years when my daughter entered her last months on this earth. No elder or clergy or teacher visited us during the 4 months that she battled. When she died I knew that I could not, WOULD not go to them. Instead, I knew that people in a friend’s church had been praying for us all that time so I asked if that pastor might be willing to do a memorial service. Not only did she did agree to do so but she also began to minister to me on an almost daily basis, reaching out in Christian love and sharing the Word, the TRUE word, resplendent with all of God’s promises. We met for coffee, for lunch, to work in the food pantry, to visit people in nursing homes and hospitals, wherever she could take me to show me how much God loves us, evident in his people serving others. Most of all she showed me that I could have a personal relationship with Jesus and that there was HOPE in my daughter’s death and for my life’s journey. I am forever thankful that she allowed the Holy Spirit to prompt her to “take on my cause” and come alongside me and give me the greatest gift!
There is always someone in our daily lives who needs even just the simplest of touches. I agree with Joy, that if we open our eyes we will see them! We don’t need to go looking….we just need to be willing! God will do the rest! This Thanksgiving I saw some wonderful reaching out being done in our own church family. One person, who actually asked, “why me?” was blown away by the kindness shown to him by many. Jesus’ love exemplified!!!
Thank you for sharing, Anne! This was a very profound and personal touch of the Lord who led his dear lady to help meet your need in a very very difficult time! It was so effective as God knew it would be that this is what led you to Jesus, praise His wonderful Name! 💖
I sent with Kristin to feed the homeless on Tuesday, which they faithfully do 52 weeks a year. I see lots of hugs & caring. One an stayed for our prayer time, Lamar, who gave a word of encouragement: keep doing what you do, touching even one makes a difference. It’s made a difference to me.
I was deeply comforted and welcomed back into the family of God’s Body at Harvest by Pastor Steve Bacon on a frigid January morning in 2011. After four long years of forsaking the assembly (a “compromise” with an unsaved spouse= SIN), my faith was shipwrecked. I sat on an end seat toward the back in hope of remaining isolated in my agony. An unending stream of tears gushed down my face. Each minute felt protracted and overflowing with pain. I knew I was blood-bought and forgiven, but the consequences of prolonged sin had taken its toll on both body and mind. As he exited the pulpit after announcements, instead of joining his wife at their seats only a few rows from the front, he chose to walk beside my “hiding spot.” He placed his hand of comfort on my right shoulder as a father would to assure a frightened child. Then,he turned and walked back to sit with his wife. That small gesture made him a giant man of the faith in my eyes. He saw. He heard. He acted. He loved like Jesus.
We are blessed that we have people in our church who care and help.Today it was Steve Marsella who took the time to take me to a doctor apt and blood work. Compassion and caring mean so much.
Reaching out to others is what our Harvest Church members do.. Joy I agree… You have been there for me…Anne.. Yes our church has reached out to those in need. One day when tears were streaming down my eyes at church someone handed.
me a Kleenex and said never.
leave home without them..lol..
ON SUNDAY WAS AGREAT SERMOM IT HELPS ME WHEN IGO TO CHURCH EVEY SINCE I BEEN GOING TO CHURCN I AM ADIFFERNPERSON
We are so blessed by you Anita! Your deep desire and commitment to studying the Word are such an inspiration! 💕
As I sit here in the hospital room with my mother-in-law, i am witnessing compassion at work. Mom is awake and able to eat. Her nephew (Teri’s cousin) is feeding his aunt ice cream as he keeps a running commentary on the day and his mother’s progress. He just came from his mother’s hospital room in Rochester (where she is recovering from a pretty bad stroke). 5 grandchildren (including Adam),2 nephews 2 children with spouses all coming to visit, to talk, to hold a hand, travelling hours to spend a few minutes. I’m blessed to be a part of such a loving family.
P.G., I’m so blessed to be able to hear the message from Sunday when we couldn’t be there.
To ALL of you who have reached out to Steve and I while we’re recuperating from this flu/virus thing, THANK YOU for being the heart, words of encouragement, prayers for healing and compassion of Christ to us! We truly are a blessed people here at Harvest Community Church. CHRIST’S COMPASSION IN ACTION!
Jeff, Teri, and family… we love you and you’ve been heavy on our hearts – we’ve been praying for you.
Yesterday I was driving to work and feeling really down–I felt like putting one foot in front of the other was going to be a major struggle. I prayed that God would replace my hopelessness and help me to serve Him. At the end of the workday, I headed to kickboxing. It was so crowded, I ended up sharing a bag with a woman I had never met before. She was struggling and I was able to help her with her form. Just before we began partner work she said, “I don’t have any friends outside of work.” I said, “You do now!” At the end of class I introduced myself and thanked her for sharing her bag with me. Her face just lit up–not only did I get to serve God by being kind to my new friend, but I realized how blessed I am–because I have a lot of friends..this was a timely reminder.