Was Jesus Christ a hugger? The Bible may not give us an entirely definitive answer. But I do know that Jesus was a frequent toucher. To be sure His touching was always discreet and with complete respect and without any impure motives. He used touch to extend grace and tenderness toward those in need of a special blessing that only He could give.

He touched blind eyes and they saw again. He touched a young man’s dead body and he was brought to life. He touched young children as He drew them to Himself and blessed them. Jesus stayed close to those He sought to bless. And there was something about the demeanor of Jesus that welcomed closeness. Sometimes people would “throng him.” You’ll remember in the upper room one of the disciples was “leaning on Jesus’ breast.”

One of the most touching scenes of the Bible is recorded in Luke 8. It is the account of a woman who had an issue of blood for l2 years. And she had spent all her money on physicians without getting help. One day she pressed through the crowd and touched the hem of His garment and was immediately healed. Jesus knew that the power of his virtue had left Him and wondered who touched Him. When she could not hide her actions, she bore testimony to her great healing. She never forgot the gift of touch she received.

Interestingly, the gift of touch is a part of our church life when we observe the ordinances. We touch when we wash one another’s feet. We touch when we administer trine immersion baptism. We touch when we observe the holy kiss. We touch when we lay hands on those who are ordained to preach or those who are commissioned to go out as missionaries. We touch when we anoint someone for healing. We are commanded to use the gift of touch.

Dating couples usually have a desire to be close to each other. Someone has quipped, “In the church sometimes it is a challenge to keep young people apart and also to keep the older people together.” I once heard of an older couple who were driving behind a young couple in the car ahead. She said to her husband, “John, do you see how close that young couple up ahead is sitting?” “Yes.” “Do you remember when we used to sit that way?” “Yes.” “Why don’t we sit that way anymore?” And John said, “Who moved?”

Jesus still wants to use the gift of touch. He is still saying, “Come unto Me.” And don’t forget, spiritual closeness is a two-way street. The Bible says, draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you. The hymn writer got it right when the song HE TOUCHED ME was written. Here are the words of the chorus.

He touched me, O, He touched me.
And O, the joy that floods my soul!
Something happened, and now I know,
He touched me and made me whole!

Jim Myer – CBC Executive Board member