The Touch That Transforms

  • June 27, 2019
Thursday 27

Matthew 8:1-4

Seven times in the book of Matthew, Jesus encountered people with sickness or infirmities and healed them with a touch. Although He had the power to simply speak a word or command illness to leave, He often chose a more hands-on approach. In the case of the leper in today’s passage, Jesus’ personal touch must have been something the man rarely experienced, since he was considered untouchable. In fact, that may be why Jesus chose this avenue of healing.

The need for a touch from a fellow human being has not disappeared in the 2,000 years since Jesus walked the earth. Yet in a world dominated by social media and technology, we are now more isolated than ever before. Physical contact is being replaced with “likes” on Facebook. And when we do think of touch, it’s often associated with scandal, impropriety, or immorality. How did this wonderful word become so maligned?

As Christians, we have the opportunity to “touch” people in a variety of ways, including by our words—for example, the proclamation of salvation through Jesus Christ can transform a person’s life and eternal destiny. However, ministry is also accomplished with our hands through service, compassion, and the encouragement of a hug or loving pat on the shoulder.

Our heart, mouth, and hands must be cooperating in order to fully minister in Jesus’ name. And whether alone or gathered with others, we have the privilege of touching lives through prayer. Jesus touched people both physically and spiritually, and as His followers, we must do likewise. Look for opportunities in which God might use you for His glory. 

Bible in One Year: Psalm 85-89

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1 When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him.

2 And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean."

3 Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, I am willing; be cleansed." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

4 And Jesus said to him, See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest and present the offering that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."

1 O LORD, You showed favor to Your land; You restored the captivity of Jacob.

2 You forgave the iniquity of Your people; You covered all their sin. Selah.

3 You withdrew all Your fury; You turned away from Your burning anger.

4 Restore us, O God of our salvation, And cause Your indignation toward us to cease.

5 Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger to all generations?

6 Will You not Yourself revive us again, That Your people may rejoice in You?

7 Show us Your lovingkindness, O LORD, And grant us Your salvation.

8 I will hear what God the LORD will say; For He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones; But let them not turn back to folly.

9 Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, That glory may dwell in our land.

10 Lovingkindness and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

11 Truth springs from the earth, And righteousness looks down from heaven.

12 Indeed, the LORD will give what is good, And our land will yield its produce.

13 Righteousness will go before Him And will make His footsteps into a way.

1 Incline Your ear, O LORD, and answer me; For I am afflicted and needy.

2 Preserve my soul, for I am a godly man; O You my God, save Your servant who trusts in You.

3 Be gracious to me, O Lord, For to You I cry all day long.

4 Make glad the soul of Your servant, For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

5 For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You.

6 Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; And give heed to the voice of my supplications!

7 In the day of my trouble I shall call upon You, For You will answer me.

8 There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord, Nor are there any works like Yours.

9 All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, And they shall glorify Your name.

10 For You are great and do wondrous deeds; You alone are God.

11 Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.

12 I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And will glorify Your name forever.

13 For Your lovingkindness toward me is great, And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

14 O God, arrogant men have risen up against me, And a band of violent men have sought my life, And they have not set You before them.

15 But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.

16 Turn to me, and be gracious to me; Oh grant Your strength to Your servant, And save the son of Your handmaid.

17 Show me a sign for good, That those who hate me may see it and be ashamed, Because You, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

1 His foundation is in the holy mountains.

2 The LORD loves the gates of Zion More than all the other dwelling places of Jacob.

3 Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God. Selah.

4 I shall mention Rahab and Babylon among those who know Me; Behold, Philistia and Tyre with Ethiopia: `This one was born there.'"

5 But of Zion it shall be said, This one and that one were born in her"; And the Most High Himself will establish her.

6 The LORD will count when He registers the peoples, This one was born there." Selah.

7 Then those who sing as well as those who play the flutes shall say, All my springs of joy are in you."

1 O LORD, the God of my salvation, I have cried out by day and in the night before You.

2 Let my prayer come before You; Incline Your ear to my cry!

3 For my soul has had enough troubles, And my life has drawn near to Sheol.

4 I am reckoned among those who go down to the pit; I have become like a man without strength,

5 Forsaken among the dead, Like the slain who lie in the grave, Whom You remember no more, And they are cut off from Your hand.

6 You have put me in the lowest pit, In dark places, in the depths.

7 Your wrath has rested upon me, And You have afflicted me with all Your waves. Selah.

8 You have removed my acquaintances far from me; You have made me an object of loathing to them; I am shut up and cannot go out.

9 My eye has wasted away because of affliction; I have called upon You every day, O LORD; I have spread out my hands to You.

10 Will You perform wonders for the dead? Will the departed spirits rise and praise You? Selah.

11 Will Your lovingkindness be declared in the grave, Your faithfulness in Abaddon?

12 Will Your wonders be made known in the darkness? And Your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

13 But I, O LORD, have cried out to You for help, And in the morning my prayer comes before You.

14 O LORD, why do You reject my soul? Why do You hide Your face from me?

15 I was afflicted and about to die from my youth on; I suffer Your terrors; I am overcome.

16 Your burning anger has passed over me; Your terrors have destroyed me.

17 They have surrounded me like water all day long; They have encompassed me altogether.

18 You have removed lover and friend far from me; My acquaintances are in darkness.

1 I will sing of the lovingkindness of the LORD forever; To all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth.

2 For I have said, Lovingkindness will be built up forever; In the heavens You will establish Your faithfulness."

3 I have made a covenant with My chosen; I have sworn to David My servant,

4 I will establish your seed forever And build up your throne to all generations." Selah.

5 The heavens will praise Your wonders, O LORD; Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones.

6 For who in the skies is comparable to the LORD? Who among the sons of the mighty is like the LORD,

7 A God greatly feared in the council of the holy ones, And awesome above all those who are around Him?

8 O LORD God of hosts, who is like You, O mighty LORD? Your faithfulness also surrounds You.

9 You rule the swelling of the sea; When its waves rise, You still them.

10 You Yourself crushed Rahab like one who is slain; You scattered Your enemies with Your mighty arm.

11 The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; The world and all it contains, You have founded them.

12 The north and the south, You have created them; Tabor and Hermon shout for joy at Your name.

13 You have a strong arm; Your hand is mighty, Your right hand is exalted.

14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You.

15 How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O LORD, they walk in the light of Your countenance.

16 In Your name they rejoice all the day, And by Your righteousness they are exalted.

17 For You are the glory of their strength, And by Your favor our horn is exalted.

18 For our shield belongs to the LORD, And our king to the Holy One of Israel.

19 Once You spoke in vision to Your godly ones, And said, I have given help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people.

20 I have found David My servant; With My holy oil I have anointed him,

21 With whom My hand will be established; My arm also will strengthen him.

22 The enemy will not deceive him, Nor the son of wickedness afflict him.

23 But I shall crush his adversaries before him, And strike those who hate him.

24 My faithfulness and My lovingkindness will be with him, And in My name his horn will be exalted.

25 I shall also set his hand on the sea And his right hand on the rivers.

26 He will cry to Me, `You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.'

27 I also shall make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth.

28 My lovingkindness I will keep for him forever, And My covenant shall be confirmed to him.

29 So I will establish his descendants forever And his throne as the days of heaven.

30 If his sons forsake My law And do not walk in My judgments,

31 If they violate My statutes And do not keep My commandments,

32 Then I will punish their transgression with the rod And their iniquity with stripes.

33 But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him, Nor deal falsely in My faithfulness.

34 My covenant I will not violate, Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips.

35 Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David.

36 His descendants shall endure forever And his throne as the sun before Me.

37 It shall be established forever like the moon, And the witness in the sky is faithful." Selah.

38 But You have cast off and rejected, You have been full of wrath against Your anointed.

39 You have spurned the covenant of Your servant; You have profaned his crown in the dust.

40 You have broken down all his walls; You have brought his strongholds to ruin.

41 All who pass along the way plunder him; He has become a reproach to his neighbors.

42 You have exalted the right hand of his adversaries; You have made all his enemies rejoice.

43 You also turn back the edge of his sword And have not made him stand in battle.

44 You have made his splendor to cease And cast his throne to the ground.

45 You have shortened the days of his youth; You have covered him with shame. Selah.

46 How long, O LORD? Will You hide Yourself forever? Will Your wrath burn like fire?

47 Remember what my span of life is; For what vanity You have created all the sons of men!

48 What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah.

49 Where are Your former lovingkindnesses, O Lord, Which You swore to David in Your faithfulness?

50 Remember, O Lord, the reproach of Your servants; How I bear in my bosom the reproach of all the many peoples,

51 With which Your enemies have reproached, O LORD, With which they have reproached the footsteps of Your anointed.

52 Blessed be the LORD forever! Amen and Amen.

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Publish Date June 27, 2019
The Touch That Transforms

Just as Jesus healed people through touch, our physical presence is key in ministering to others.

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