In Luke 7:11-17 a collision occurs. Let’s observe what Jesus does for a moment: His disciples are about to enter the town and a funeral procession is busy exiting the town. There was not much life left in that place, it was more like the valley of dry bones.
The Lord saw the widow, who was on her way to bury her reason for living, because this was her only son. Jesus had compassion on her. He said to her, “do not weep”. His compassion did not stop there, He touched the open coffin and the pall bearers stopped. Jesus had touched, and life overcame death. A greater authority was at work, the Kingdom of God had come in this desperate situation.
You see it often in the gospels; Jesus reaching out with his hand to touch people. He touched Peter’s wife’s mother on the hand and took away her fever (Matthew 8:14-15). He touched the eyes of two blind men and gave them sight (Matthew 9:27-31). He touched the ears and the tongue of a deaf mute and gave him hearing and speech (Mark 7:31-35). He even touched a leper to make him clean (Mark 1:40-42). Lepers were ‘untouchables’ but Jesus displayed the Father’s love and compassion to everyone He touched.
In Acts, His apostles become his hands. Now they, like their Lord, heal with touch. Ananias “lays his hands” on Paul, three days after the Damascus road encounter, to restore his sight (Acts 9:12, 17). And Paul’s hands, in turn, become channels of extraordinary miracles (Acts 14:3; 19:11), including the laying of his hands on a sick man on Malta to heal him (Acts 28:8).
What is it about touch? There is no substitute for it. It comforts and reassures in ways that other gestures and words cannot. Touch can be like medicine to relieve stress, calm nerves and ease tension. Are we using our hands for godly or self-seeking reasons?
We are told in Philippians 2:1-2 that if we have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, any sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, show it to others.
God wants us to have a heart of compassion and be His hands to touch this broken world. The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit and in these days let Him pour out His compassionate touch through us.