Continuing our discussion about the tools of reconciliation found in the Bible, we discussed truth as the first tool. This brings us to the second tool: touch.
Have you noticed in the Bible what Jesus did in most of his encounters with people in need? He touched them where they hurt. With the lepers, he touched them when no one else would go near them (Mark 1:41). With the blind, he touched their eyes (John 9:6). For the crippled, he touched the place they suffered (Luke 13:13). When Simon Peter's mother in law lay sick in bed, he took her by the hand and she was able to arise and begin serving him (Matthew 8:15). A woman sick for 12 years simply touched the hem of his cloak and was healed (Matthew 9:18). And a father, whose daughter had just died, came to Jesus and cried, "...But if you come and put your hand on her,...she will live!" And Jesus did go, took her by the hand and she lived. (Matthew 9:25)
We live in a world that needs to hear the truth about Jesus. We also live in a world that needs to see and feel the touch of Jesus as well. Time and time again, Jesus touched people at their deepest need and he used that opportunity to speak truth in their lives. His proclamation of God's truth was validated in his demontration of God's love. Moreover, his demonstration of God's love through his healing touch was a visible sign of his proclamation of the Kingdom of God coming.
I see no evidence in the Bible of Jesus choosing one over the other: preaching or healing. I see plenty of evidence that he did these simultaneously, based on the need at hand and saw both of these as means to the same end: proclaiming and showing that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand.
We often fondly quote Isaiah 55:11 as, "so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."
I think it proper to acknowledget that the touch of God through the Name of Jesus does not return back empty as well. In a world where 3 out of every 4 lost persons alive today live in the 10/40 window and considering that 4 out of every 5 of the poorest of the poor, those affected by war and conflict and those living on less than 2 dollars per day, live in that same window, we dare not overlook the touch aspect of the ministry of reconciliation.
We do speak truth to the nations and to lives that are in need of a Saviour, Jesus. We also are to touch those lives in the same Name, demonstrating God's love and His plan for individuals, communities and nations.