Jesus Knew the Power of Touch

Jesus Knew the Power of Touch

Rick Odden

We live in a day and age where communication is done via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, or WhatsApp. They dominate our lives. We have the ability to quickly reach out and communicate our thoughts and feelings, and share experiences.

We can easily portray what we want others to see and think about us simply by touching up photos and posting the “good things” going on in our lives. We hide behind the fact that no one can get close and see us for who we truly are. We can go for weeks without being in the presence of another human being.

Society has built such a false sense of who we are that we generally shun relationships where we are physically in each other’s presence. I am not surprised when I read statistics about our children are suffering in greater numbers from negative thoughts, low self-esteem, and depression. It often stems from constantly comparing ourselves to what we see portrayed on electrons in the cyber world. Could it be because so few of us go outdoors to play and interact with others in social settings? 

None of us can compete with this fake/false world that so many try to impress others with. We have lost a very important part of life and that is physical touch, being in the presence of others, shaking hands, holding hands, hugging. What most young people don’t get today is that “physical touch” is important to our overall health.

Why is physical touch important? I read this article the other day…

“Among the various reasons why primates do touch each other is to ease tensions among the group in social situations. The hormone Oxytocin is another benefit of physical touch or acts of hugging. Oxytocin helps humans connect to others and promotes feel-good sensations that foster a sense of well-being and happiness.

It helps improve heart health. “When you are feeling subjectively reassured, you also reduce blood pressure, your pulse goes down, and you are calming your body, which puts less stress on your heart,” according to Polard. All of these physical benefits of hugging and touch can lead to a healthier, longer life.” March 10, 2015

 In Mark 5:27-29 we are told about the woman who was plagued with a blood disease for twelve years. In those days if you had such a disease you were cast out of the city, away from society, absent of the touch of another person.

This woman knew how important a physical touch can be. She knew it because she needed it so desperately. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

I am not trying to be critical of social media as I feel it plays a very important role in our lives today. I personally use social media. It allows us to connect with one another when distance separates us from our loved ones. We’re able to share our lives with others and reconnect with friends we lost touch with over the years.

However, I also believe that we need to set it aside time daily and physically reach out to those around us to give a real hug, not just an emoji hug. A hug, a tight embrace, to know they are genuinely loved and someone cares for them, and they don’t need to be perfect to be a friend.

Jesus understood the importance of touch as part of communicating. Take time and read the Bible and notice his interactions with people. Notice his miracles always started with some form of physical touch.

 In Mark 8 Jesus heals a blind man at Bethsaida.

"They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go into the village.” Mark 8:22-25

Jesus understood that as humans we need “touch” in our lives. So much is communicated when we reach out and touch someone on the arm or when we take time to hug a hurting individual. When we gather together and sit close, it creates a sense of caring, love, and belonging. When we take time to shake hands, greet someone with a hug, it binds us together and so often that’s how relationships, deep relationships, begin to form.

Think about this: God used “touch” as “communication to connect with us and it changed the world.

He sent his Son in the flesh, announcing it via angles, from the heavens to earth, to a group of humble shepherds. The first Facebook post that went viral!

The local news got hold of it and rumors started. Some big wigs came into town to check out the facts and to verify the story. The next thing you know the political factions of the day wanted to rid their community of this trouble maker. (This “trouble maker” [Jesus Christ] was two years old at the time. How big of a trouble maker could he have been?) 

The family came under such pressure they had to leave the country. But that is not the end. Years later the family moved back to Jerusalem and Jesus begins to socialize. The local “social media” of the day begins to capture the story and share what this Jesus is doing.

The local political officials fear that their power may be usurped so they spread rumors, hire media firms to shape the story, and begin to spread lies. Once again, “social medial” is miss-used to meet a specific end. They tried to eliminate the person doing well in their community, healing, restoring, and uplifting those in need. We know the end…

But here is the cool thing, God’s social media platform was established at the moment Jesus died on the cross for our sins. The narrative never changed no matter who got ahold of the story. It’s the same narrative today as it was 2000 years ago.

We now have a way to directly communicate with God. There are no filters, no hiding the “true person,” there are no monthly charges, and no lost signals. God is available 24/7 and all we have to do is have faith and believe.

Jesus gives us the greatest free WIFI communication platform we will ever need and it starts with a simple prayer asking Jesus into our lives. John 14:6 gives us directions on how to set up an account, log-in, and have full access now and forever, free of charge. “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

I challenge you today to put down your tablet and your phone, and to step away from your computer and invite one person God has placed on your heart over for a cup of coffee/tea/hot chocolate. When they enter, give them a hug, and though it may feel awkward, hold it a bit longer. It’s time that we begin to build relationships where we can share the Good News and provide the URL to God. https:\\Prayandaskforforgiveness.god

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