“Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’” (Mark 1:41, NIV).
The other day, my oldest daughter Ester was sitting in my room looking like she could use some love. Under the impulse of the Holy Spirit, I put my hand on her cheek and held it there. I didn’t say anything at first, so she looked at me curiously. “Jesus healed people with just one touch,” I explained lovingly. “I’m ministering to you.” Profound contentment instantly spread across her face. She closed her eyes and soaked in the contact with me.
Over and over throughout His recorded three years of ministry, Jesus reached out and physically touched people. The story above from Mark is particularly moving because of the shunning this man had deeply internalized for the duration of his illness. Being a leper meant that he was forced to stay away from society and urgently cry out “Unclean!” to warn others of his unwanted presence. I can’t even begin to imagine the weight of loneliness and shame that had come to define his everyday existence.
Jesus saw him. He didn’t just see a diseased man, though. He saw right into the depths of the wretched man’s soul. He saw all his pain, and His entire being stirred with intense, visceral compassion. And He touched him. He touched the man that no one wanted to touch, that no one wanted to be anywhere close to. He cut right through all the barriers that had closed him out from human kindness and warmth. With just one touch. With that touch, He ministered not only supernatural healing to the man’s physical frame – but also indescribably profound restoration to his inner being.
The Lord has been speaking to me about ministering to others through touch. Just one touch, directed and anointed by the Holy Spirit, can transform someone’s life. I want to encourage you, too, to listen in carefully to the Spirit for His nudges to minister touch to people that He brings across your path. A simple hand briefly on someone’s shoulder, accompanied by a genuine, compassionate smile, could indelibly mark their heart with a deeper understanding of God’s love.
Don’t just limit it to a physical touch, though. Continue to focus in on Holy Spirit in that moment. Where your hand touches, use the eyes of your heart. Watch what He is doing. Focus on His power flowing through your spirit and into that person. Expect Him to move through you each time you are obedient to His prompting in this way. He loves it when you are expectant! He delights to minister His love and healing to His precious ones, through your hands.
(Do make sure that the person is okay with receiving your touch. It’s important to be sensitive to whether touch is welcomed or not by that individual. Particularly when people have suffered abuse, touch can be a very difficult area. Be attentive, gentle, and careful to listen to Holy Spirit, watching the person’s body language.)
With that in mind: “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32, NKJV). Don’t be afraid! People, especially wounded ones, deeply need to be touched. And Daddy is longing to pour His loving through your heart and your hands!
What are your thoughts about ministering the Father’s love and power through your touch? If you would like to share them in the comments, I would be honored to hear from you!