The political correctness of our day says don’t touch, don’t hug, don’t spread germs, don’t subject yourself to possible accusation. And in a culture given to carnality and wrath, the Church can unconsciously abdicate the power of touch. But Jesus is a “touchable high priest” – accessible — because He is a personal God, and we as humans are made to need touch. It is no small thing that something of His life can be transferred by contact.
When it comes to the co-partnership of the work of God as sons, our work is ministering the love and life of this personal God to people personally. If we study Jesus’ ministry, even casually, we see that He ministered by touch and ordains His followers to lay hands on the sick. Why by touch? Because we need the acceptance that comes with personal contact, and He models the reality that what is in us is greater than the death, darkness and brokenness in the world. Jesus ministered above the prohibitions of the law by laying hands on lepers, and they were healed. He was not afraid to touch.
Think about how touch happens. God made man with hands – hands as a primary way to work; unique from the rest of the animal creation. Our hands provide the ability to finesse a curveball or a slider, paint a name on a grain of rice, carve a masterful statue or perform delicate brain surgery. It should not seem strange to us that in partnering with man for His kingdom purposes, God would ordain the use of hands as a primary way in which man joins in the work of God. “You shall lay hands on the sick and they will recover.” Paul speaks specifically to power of men releasing authority and capacity when he admonishes Timothy to have “men in every place lift up holy hands without wrath or doubt.”
The idea of wrath and doubt connected with lifting up hands presupposes the awareness that hands can also be used to do harm. And because of this, one must be careful as to how touch occurs. Some have been so wounded by others, that physical touch is a part of the problem. But those commissioned with a healing work must not abdicate to the sickness. It only makes our mission more critical.
The laying on of hands is a fundamental issue of authority and life-flow in the Kingdom of God — a transmission of the life of the Lord — the way the power of the Lord moves into the human scene (Notice that it is one of six points in the early Church’s “newcomers class” [Heb. 6:5,6]).
Whether that touch is a transfer of authority, a hug of compassion, a touch of healing power, or just a purposeful handshake of friendship, it is a significant part of broken people coming to wholeness. May the Church be known as a place where wounded healers are bold to hold humanity in arms of love, willing to touch one another with the Lord’s love, and without fear.
Dr. Kerry Wood | All Rights Reserved 2016