Chris' Blog Archive

May this touch you... - 01/03/2010
So I was digging into God's word this afternoon and my heart was drawn towards something interesting in a familiar passage. I was in Luke 7:36-50, when Jesus was anointed by a sinful woman. Here is the verse that stuck out to me:

"...and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them." Luke 7:38

What stood out to me is how much touching is involved. This is is a very intimate scene performed in a very public setting. This sinful woman risked touching a respected prophet. The closet modern day equivalent would be that of a whore doing this to the pope. Obviously the pope is not Christ or deserving of worship like Christ is but he is a very public very revered figure. This is a messy, touchy thing and Jesus just receives it. After he receives it he touches back but not in a physical way. He touches back in a emotional and spiritual way. After he essentially schooled the Pharisee on love he tells this sinful woman that her sins are forgive and she is saved and may go in peace. In short, the woman is free. Jesus clearly touched this woman but not with his hands. He touched her with his heart.

So what does this mean for us? It means we need to touch each other. Yes there are inappropriate forms of touch but there is more to touch than skin coming in contact with skin. You can touch someones heart and soul without ever making physical contact with them. Touch is an important part of the process of healing and being redeemed in Christ. Yet, Christians especially, in our country seem to limit touch. I've seen else where in the world where two guys may walk down the street holding hands because they are just really good friends. But here, people have to maintain there bubble. The only one you let in is your family. I've heard it suggested to couples to limit their PDA so as not to remind singles of their loneliness and thus distract them from something God is doing in their life. But what if PDA wasn't just something people who were dating did? What if it was OK for friends to show each other PDA? I'm not suggesting friends go to the nearest park bench and make out. I am suggesting we tell friends we love them and give them a hug on a regular bases. I am suggesting, and I'm mostly speaking to guys here, to not be afraid to hold hands during prayer. I am suggesting we burst our bubbles and not be afraid to connect with each other. Jesus demonstrates here the need for us to truly touch people. To reach out to them and risk being rejected. After all, who can claim they haven't been touched by Jesus and still claim to be his follower? I think he also demonstrates our need to be touched by others. Without this we wither and die emotionally and spiritually. Stoics might disagree with me but they have already seared their hearts so much as to have almost lost the ability to feel.

For me, this passage burst my bubble. As I look at my life it's entirely possible for me to go days without actually touching another human being. In order for us to be the relational beings God created us to be we have to first learn to touch each other emotionally, spiritually, and where appropriate physically. We also need to risk being hurt by allowing others to touch us. This isn't a one way thing. The sinful woman touched Jesus and he touched her back. She risked what some scholars have said was her life savings to touch Jesus. Aren't you glad Jesus wasn't like the Pharisee who would have rejected her because of her sin? Are you willing to reach out and touch someone? Are you willing to take the risk of letting someone else touch you?

p.s. If you need a hug, just ask. They are free.