My scripture today comes from Luke 8:40-50 and Mark 5:21-5:32
Today we are going to talk about The Master’s Touch
Don’t you hate it when you see a sign that says “don’t touch”? Aren’t you glad that God never has that attitude toward how He treats us? He created each of us with the need to touch…to be touched. It is probably not a coincidence that one of the most popular programs on television used to be “Touched By An Angel”. I loved that show. However, our text today talks about two people who were touched by God. It is interesting how the Holy Spirit intertwines two stories – at either end of the social spectrum to teach us an important lesson about “touch”.
Let’s read the passages together: Luke 8:40-50 and Mark 5:21-32.
The Master’s Touch – the touch of Jesus. Two ends of the spectrum. A young preacher’s kid from the upper end of society and a poor, outcast woman from the “other end”. Yet Jesus touched them both, it did not matter. The Touch of the Masters Hand-Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer thought it scarcely worth his while to waste much time on the old violin, but held it up with a smile; "What am I bidden, good folks," he cried, "Who'll start the bidding for me?" "A dollar, a dollar"; then two!" "Only two? Two dollars, and who'll make it three? Three dollars, once; three dollars twice; going for three.." But no, from the room, far back, a gray-haired man came forward and picked up the bow; Then, wiping the dust from the old violin, and tightening the loose strings, he played a melody pure and sweet as caroling angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer, with a voice that was quiet and low, said; "What am I bid for the old violin?" And he held it up with the bow. A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two? Two thousand! And who'll make it three? Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice, and going and gone," said he. The people cheered, but some of them cried, "We do not quite understand what changed its worth." Swift came the reply: "The touch of a master's hand." And many a man with life out of tune, and battered and scarred with sin, Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, much like the old violin, A "mess of pottage," a glass of wine; a game - and he travels on. "He is going" once, and "going twice, He's going and almost gone." But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd never can quite understand the worth of a soul and the change that's wrought by the touch of the Master's Hand.
I want to share with you this morning several simply, yet profound truths from these two intertwined events. Truths about the touch of the Master’s Hand. Truth #1: People need to be touched! It would be very easy to make light of “touch”. I’m not simply talking about physical touch either though medical science tells us that physical touch is a basic need. I’m told that new born babies who are left untouched will begin to wither away physically. The very act of touch can stimulate healing in the human body in some cases. But the kind of touch we’re focusing on today goes beyond the issue of physical touch – to the touch of God.
The leader of the Synagogue understood that ultimately it was only the touch of Jesus that would bring healing to his daughter. He intervened on behalf of someone who could not at the moment help herself. I’m sure Jairus had called in the best physician in all of Galilee too look at his daughter. He might have even turned to the Romans who headquartered there in Capernaum. In the end he realized only the touch of Jesus could bring healing.
The woman realized herself that she needed the touch of Jesus. She had come to the end of her financial abilities. The Bible tells us she had been through any and every kind of treatment imaginable – exhausted all of her financial resources and was not only still hemorrhaging – but was probably reduced to a beggar as well. She knew that if she could just touch Jesus…she would be healed. In both cases there was a realization that in and of themselves – they weren’t enough. Not many of us here this morning are suffering physically like the woman and the young girl – but we still need the touch of God.
Maybe you’re here this morning and it’s not your body that’s hemorrhaging, but your family relationships. Maybe it’s not your little girl that lies at the point of death – it’s your soul/spirit – your desire to keep going through the situation you find life in this week. We still need the touch of Jesus, the touch of God.
The second truth we need to understand is that Jesus wants to touch people.
It has not been an easy day for either Jesus or the disciples. On the other side of the lake Jesus had delivered a demon-possessed man from 2000 demons. Maybe you remember the story from your studies in the Bible. Jesus had met a man who lived in caves and graves. Most of the time he ran around naked, beating and cutting himself with sticks and frightening the people of the region. When he was caught and chained up – he would simply break free of the chains. When Jesus met the man – he cast out the demons and gave the man a new life. If you remember when he cast out the demons, the demons went into a herd of pigs that ran over a cliff into the Sea of Galilee and drowned. When the towns people heard what had happened – instead of rejoicing that the mad-man was sane and cured – they got mad because they had lost all the pigs. They asked Jesus to leave…to them pigs were obviously more important than people. So, Jesus and the disciples got into a boat and rowed across the lake back to Capernaum. Getting chased out of town – rowing across a large lake and finally assuming they were going back to Peter’s home to some much needed rest…
Then the crowd showed up. The leaders of the synagogue along with the people of Capernaum waiting to see what Jesus would do. For most of us it might have been easy to say – OK, come see me tomorrow…maybe after the holidays. Can’t you see I’m weary…I’m busy. I don’t have time right now to touch anyone else. You people just don’t understand my situation. How can you expect me to go and touch someone else! But they did – and so did Jesus. There was never a thought, never a hesitation. Jesus simply went. Why? because Jesus came to touch people. Jesus said, “And I, the Son of Man, have come to seek and save those like him who are lost.” Luke 19:10. Jesus wants to touch people. Jesus made himself totally available to touch others.
When I first starting studying these passages my thought was “but each of these people took the initiative to come to Jesus”
But that’s not true – Jesus took the initiative to come from heaven in search of you and me. He took the initiative to take on a human form that could actually touch his creation. They may have reached out to Jesus, but he made himself available to be reached! Jesus wants to touch people.
This morning if you are here in need of a fresh touch from Jesus – all you have to do is open yourself to His touch. In the case of the synagogue leader – he brought Jesus into the needs of his family. He opened himself and his home to Jesus and His healing touch.
In the case of the woman – she was willing to do whatever it took to get past the push of the crowd to touch Jesus.
By the way – what’s blocking you from the touch of Jesus this morning? Maybe instead of a crowd of people – it is your finances, or pride, or shame. What’s keeping you from reaching out to Jesus? Jesus wants to touch people.
The final truth this morning is that Jesus wants to touch people by using you and me! It appears to me that the woman with the hemorrhage would never have made it to Jesus if the crowd had had its way. They totally neglected this woman. They couldn’t have cared less. There is another story in the Gospels (Mark chapter 2) where there was a crowd so large that several men could not get a sick man to Jesus. But instead of letting the crowd discourage them – these four friends climbed on the roof, tore a hole in the ceiling and lowered the sick friend to Jesus. Unlike the crowd that was a hindrance to the woman – these four guys wouldn’t let anything get in the way of bringing their friend to Jesus. Jesus wants to touch people by using you and me. He doesn’t want us to be the crowd in the way – it wants us to be the friends on the roof! Jairus understood that if his daughter was to be healed – he would have to bring Jesus to her.
Church, we have a community that’s sick and in need of Jesus. Many of them don’t even understand their condition apart from God. Yet they need His touch whether they realize their need or not. And God has chosen us to bring His touch! The Master’s touch! People need to be touched. Jesus wants to touch people. Jesus wants to touch people by using you and me. So….are you willing to reach out and touch someone this morning?