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The first time in the Bible that we read about something being touched is in the warning from God to Adam and Eve about the fruit in the middle of the garden: "You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die." The implication is that if they "touch" the fruit, they are going to pick it from the tree. It doesn't seem to matter if the touch is light with the fingers or stronger with the palm of the hand.

"Touch" can also mean having an illicit or improper relationship. When Abimelech said "Anyone who touches this man or his wife will be put to death," he was referring to Isaac and (Genesis 26:10) someone having sex with his wife Rebekah.

When Isaac told Jacob to come closer so that he could "touch" him and make sure it was Esau, his experienced touch would tell him which son was near him.

There were many prohibitions against "touching" anything that was considered ceremonially unclean: someone with a skin disease, a carcass, a corpse, or a woman during her menstrual period; conversely, someone could touch special gifts presented to the Lord and become "holy." After the Lord told Moses to consecrate the people for his arrival, he also warned them not to go to the mountain or even touch it. The books of Leviticus and Numbers describe various punishments for touching anything considered unclean.

However, when the seraphim touched Isaiah's lips with the burning coals from the altar, his sins are forgiven (Isaiah 5:7). Jeremiah also has his mouth touched when the Lord puts words in it (Jeremiah 1:9). Daniel has a similar experience when his lips are touched, and he begins to speak (Daniel 10:16).

We begin to see the power of Jesus's touch in the Gospels. In Matthew 9:19, a woman who suffered from a bleeding for 12 years wanted to "touch" the fringe of Jesus's robe so that she would be healed. Jesus turned around because he felt some power go out of him (Mark 5:30; Luke 8:40). He asks, "Who touched my clothes?" Everyone around him denies it, but Peter says, in essence, "anyone in this crowd could have touched you." However, the woman's faith in Jesus has healed her, and all she had to do was touch his robe.

But I am wondering: "In what way did she touch it?" Thinking that if I had a disease and wanted the attention of Jesus, I would have tugged, not touched, his robe. And that is the way the Kewa men interpreted the exchange when they translated it because "touch" in the Kewa language means to "grab hold of." The word for "touch" and the word for the "palm of the hand" are the same. To touch lightly would still be using the palm of the hand, but it would be translated as "just touched," which could also imply that it "just happened," perhaps someone brushed up against him but with no intent.

The feeling of happiness and relief that the woman felt seems much like the expressions in the second verse of the song, He Touched Me by Bill Gaither:

He touched me, oh He touched me,

and oh the joy that floods my soul!

Something happened and now I know,

He touched me and made me whole.

When Jesus healed two blind men, he touched their eyes (Matthew 9:29). He does this again and again: the man who had been blind (Mark 1:41), the man who couldn't talk (Mark 7:33), the sick (Luke 4:40), a crippled woman (Luke 13:13). He even touched a coffin, and the young man got up alive.

Peter walked on the water towards Jesus, but seeing the waves, he was terrified and yelled for Jesus to help him. Jesus didn't just touch him, he grabbed ahold of him and saved his life.

The greatest and the most anticipated touching Jesus. He is the one who existed from the beginning and who the disciples had the privilege of seeing "and touched him with our own hands" (1 John 1:1). What a joy that must have been.

After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples and told them to touch him and make sure he was not a ghost (Luke 24:39). And that is made clear in 1 John 1:1:" We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands." The Lord touches us and holds us securely, "and the evil one cannot touch [us]" (1 John 5:18). We will still have our scars (physical and emotional), but his touch has healed us.

Wehn I think of my wife, I often think of the touch of her hand on mine. What a wonderful feeling that is to remember, and how much greater will be that of the Lord. And I don't think it will be a light touch!

Karl Franklin


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