WHO TOUCHED ME? Andy Hollifield 2-16-17
As I sat in church Wednesday night, something was said about the woman with the issue of blood touching Jesus. That made me start wondering just how many people did actually touch Jesus. That may sound kind of silly until you stop to think about it. He touched a lot of people but how many people actually physically touched him? That may strike you as an unimportant question but it really isn’t. Touch is one of the five basic senses. Sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Touching is the only sense that involves anything other than our head and one of only two that involve movement you can see; taste and touch. The rest are stationary senses and the tongue is limited in its movement. Touch is the only sense of our major extremities and again one of only three, including the lips, that are capable of initiating contact. Touch is in my mind the only multi-faceted sense of the human body. It determines firmness of a handshake and softness of a baby’s skin. It also detects temperature and texture as well as pain. The other senses except the tongue, which also detects temperature, texture, and pain, all have one basic function for the most part. A human touch can alleviate or inflict pain. It can also calm and soothe and relieve fear and pain. Touch communicates intimacy such as between a mother and a baby. Initiating touch to another person is a deeply personal gesture. Putting your arm around someone’s shoulder may give comfort or make them uncomfortable. Touching someone’s face is a deeply personal gesture. To put it plain, you have to have a special relationship to hug someone and even more intimate to touch their face. That is far more personal than shaking hands. My point in all this is to say that folks that touched Jesus physically had a special bond that others didn’t necessarily have.
In my study unless I missed someone, I found only probably six and possibly eight that actually touched Jesus in a display of either faith or affection while he was alive. There were a lot that touched him in anger. I will try to highlight the good touches for you. This may not seem too important right now but by the time we are done I think you will see it in a whole different light. I know I did. First was Mary and you have to assume Joseph. The bible doesn’t say that he did but it would be a natural assumption based on the prenatal and early childhood care that he provided for Mary and Jesus that Joseph was an affectionate father. Those two to me were kind of no-brainers.
Luke 2:28 tells us that Simeon “came by the Spirit into the temple” when Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to be circumcised. The next verse says the “Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God…” Can you imagine the closeness Simeon must have felt with the Savior at that moment? The fact that he was now holding the Lord’s promised Messiah in his hands as he had asked the Lord to allow him to do. He had actually only been promised to see him so holding him was a bonus.
The next was one of the probable ones, with Joseph being the other one, was the prophetess Anna. The bible only says that she seen him and “gave thanks likewise”. It is quite likely that she worshipped him the same way Simeon had only a moments before. She had finally seen come to pass the very thing that she had dedicated her life to. I have a hard time believing that she would just see him and proclaim him to everyone and give thanks and never hold him. It’s possible but not likely. There is also no record of the shepherds touching him in the manger that night but it is very possible they did. The same can be said for the wise men as they visited him in a house some time later.
I will try to hurry along as much as I can. John 1:29 speaks of his baptism by John the Baptist. Imagine if you will, the honor of getting to baptize the one that brought salvation to the world. Also in the book of John is Mary the sister of Lazarus in John 11:2 and 12:3. She is the one that anointed Jesus body for burial as he was eating with his disciples and Lazarus in their home in Bethany. She broke an alabaster box of expensive spikenard and annointed his head and washed his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair while she continually kissed them. Can you imagine the humbleness of her actions and the love for her Savior she must have had to do that? There is a lot of similarities and questions among scholars as to whether or not this anointing in John 12 is the same one as in Luke 7. I personally believe it is Mary the sister of Lazarus in John 12 because they had prepared Jesus a supper, presumably at their home in Bethany. I believe it is Mary Magdalene in Luke 7 and it possibly took place in the city of Nain, which is the last city named that Jesus had went to. In Luke 7 in the home of Simon the Pharisee, a sinful woman of the city, possibly Nain, also anointed his feet with oil and washed them with her tears and dried them with her hair. Plus, she had a reputation of a sinful woman and the sister of Lazarus didn’t. Either way, a lot of the participants were the same and the spirit in which it was done was the same. Also in John 13 is the account of John the beloved leaning on his breast at the last supper. Another person that touched Jesus.
The last one technically didn’t touch him but (Mark 5:27) only touched the hem of his garment but nevertheless, she touched enough. Jesus said it was her faith that saved her. Also in Matthew chapter 14:35 and 36, many were brought to him that were diseased and desired to touch the hem of his garment and as many as did they were made “perfectly whole”. Aren’t you glad that God don’t do anything part way but they were made perfectly whole.
We also have Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus that took Jesus’ body of the cross and prepared it for burial and put it in the tomb that touched him after his death. That in itself must have been a humbling experience and was a gracious display of love. Joseph had apparently been a long time “secret” disciple of Christ. Matthew 27:57 describes him as a rich man and a disciple. Mark 15 says he was a respected member of council and Luke 23:50-56 tells of an instance where he didn’t consent to the councils actions concerning Jesus. In John 19, he begged the body of Jesus and done the burial in his own tomb along with Nicodemus. In John 3 he had come to Jesus by night and left disappointed by what Jesus had told him. In John 7, it was Nicodemus that reminded his fellow members of the Sanhedrin court that according to the law, a person must be heard before they are judged. Then he appears here in chapter 19 and even provides spices for the burial. Since he is considered as a disciple of Christ, it is obvious that at some point he returned and accepted Christ.
There were many that touched Jesus in anger. It is very likely that since Malchus, the high priest’ servant, had his ear cut off, he may have been the one taking Jesus into custody. We know that Jesus replaced his ear immediately and we don’t hear any more of him. Judas however, kissed the door of heaven that night in the garden and went to hell. Although he was remorseful and tried to return the blood money he had been paid, he never repented to Christ, only in himself. You can repent to yourself and feel remorseful all you want and die and go to hell just like Judas. Unless you repent of your sins to the Lord, you will seal to yourself the same fate as Judas. You have no power to forgive your own sins so it is useless to repent within yourself.
In closing, I want to ask a question; could you be found guilty of touching Jesus? The account of the woman with the issue of blood said that when Jesus knew that virtue had gone out of him he asked, “who touched me?” It goes on to say in Mark 5:33 “But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.” Would Jesus even know if you touched him in a crowd? Something to think about isn’t it? She said in verse 28, “…If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.” Unwavering faith yielded impossible results. What others had failed to do, he done without even trying. He can do the same for you. It don’t matter how wrecked your life may seem, you don’t have to go the way of Judas. If you are reading this, God is being merciful and giving you another opportunity to kiss the door of heaven and repent and gain entry. All you have to do is touch him. When you do, he will know it and you will (33) know what is done in you. If you just try to touch him in faith with your prayer of repentance, he will without question touch you and you too shall be made perfectly whole. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!