<<contact, feel>>

The physical touch, most commonly via the hands, brings a personal dimension of identification with another through the symbolic transference of love, care, blessing and affection. In the OT there was a symbolic transference of wrong, when a sinner placed their hand on the innocent animal (before it was then slain) – a token of the sin passing from themselves to the animal (Lev 1:4, 4:27-31).

Jesus often touched those He healed and parents brought their children
to Him to be blessed (Mt 8:3, 20:54; Mk 1:41, 10:13-16; Lk 5:13). At other times people touched Him or His garments and “All who touched Him were

Reach out to Jesus and He will touch you

healed” (Mt 14:36; Mk 3:10, 5:27,28, 6:56, 8:22). However, there was a difference between a natural brushing against or making causal contact with Jesus, because of the crowds gathered around Him, and the desperate need and deliberate action of one who said, “If I but touch His garments I will be healed” (Mt 9:20,21). There was nothing special about the clothes of Jesus; they were just a trigger point that brought a release of faith.  In a similar manner, handkerchiefs from Paul were taken to the sick and they were cured (Act 19:11,12). Again, there was nothing significant in the means, rather, along with Paul, they were only objects through which God ministered His power. When we connect with Jesus, we will be affected too.  Am I desperate to make a determined effort to ‘touch’ Jesus, recognising Him as the source of all I need to be made whole?

Jesus said one of the signs that would follow believers is, “In my name...they will place their hands on sick people and they will recover” – hence, the term ‘laying on of hands’ which is often mentioned in the NT (Mk 16:17,18; Act 6:6, 9:17; Jas 5:14). In today’s world be prudent when touching anyone, especially those of the opposite gender, and it is polite to ask, ‘May I place my hand on you?’  Normally this is acceptable on the head or shoulder but must always be done with integrity, and in the presence of others. It is imperative that men act with caution and restraint around women and children (of any gender) so their actions, even though done with a pure motive, are not misconstrued.

The Bible says, “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm” (1 Chr 16:22; Ps 105:15). These verses taken out of context are sometimes used to defend certain preachers from scrutiny and criticism of their unbiblical teaching.

See also: caress, closeness, hands, integrity, intimacy, senses.