5. Sensing God: Touching with the Hands of Jesus

5. Sensing God: Touching with the Hands of Jesus

5. Sensing God: Touching with the Hands of Jesus.

“Then they brought babies and small children to Jesus that He might touch them, bless them and pray for them. But when the disciples saw it, they rebuked those who brought the children. But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the Kingdom of God.’ And Jesus took the children up in His arms one by one, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.”  (Matt. 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17).

Vital to the work of Jesus was His ministry of touch. He seemed to touch everybody in need. He specialized in touching the untouchables… the leper, the prostitute, the morbidly sick, the demon-possessed, even the dead. He operated under the assumption that touch was an integral part of his life on earth. Whenever called upon, Jesus blessed others by laying his hands on them. Jesus was an inspired and supreme blesser. If we want to touch others with the hands of Jesus, we do so through the physical and verbal act of blessing them. We do with others just what Jesus did with the children above. We touch them as a part of the blessing.

The Hebrew word for bless meant to bow the knee in honor of someone of high value. To bless someone was to communicate value and worth and importance to that person. The Greek word for bless meant to speak a “good word” over someone, to eulogize that person, to affirm that person’s qualities as well as desire good for that person. To bless someone is to want that person to flourish, to do well, to want the best things to happen to that person. So to touch someone in the spirit of blessing is to communicate human warmth, personal acceptance, and hopeful affirmation.

Being the co-designer of the human body, Jesus understood the importance of touch. In psychological studies, it is estimated that each person needs 8-10 meaningful touches each day for emotional and physical health. In fact, human touch has several physical benefits. The hands of blessing are especially important in establishing sensitive connections. since one-third of our five million touch receptors are located in the hands. It’s also interesting that, when touched by hands, a person’s body tissues immediately receive an influx of added oxygen. This oxygen provides energy and it aids in regeneration of body tissues. Touch is literally a healing agent. And too, physical touch lowers the blood pressure of the person being touched in a meaningful way. Innocent and loving physical touch is the most intimate and helpful way we can minister to others when appropriate, and is the best way to bless others with the hands of Jesus.

Have you ever been at a loss in figuring out how to bless others in a meaningful way, to warmly accept that person, and pray God’s best for that person? Whether the person being blessed is a child, a sibling, a spouse, a parent, a friend, or even a total stranger who invites a blessing, what words should be used in the blessing? If words fail you, try Scriptural blessings. These twelve blessings are “good words” to be said, they are literally inspired by the Holy Spirit, and so can’t go wrong.

This first blessing is the traditional priestly blessing that has stood the test of time, and is a part of biblical history. This Aaronic blessing has been used effectively for centuries, and literally came from the mouth of God. There is no doubt that Jesus, being a rabbi, would have been praying this blessing over the children as He laid His hands on each one.

1.”May the Lord bless you and keep you; may He make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; may He turn His face towards you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26).

a. “May the Lord bless you and keep you…” This petition is for physical blessing and protection. The blessing applies to physical health and material needs, to grant prosperity, provision and success, with the understanding that one will be kept from the corruption of wealth. There are 8 Hebrew words for “prosper” and none of them includes the idea of accumulation of goods and money;

b. “May He make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you…” For a face to shine upon someone is to show affection, favor and friendship. It is to show you a smiling face, the opposite of hiding His face out of displeasure or anger. One’s face “lights up” when one sees a friend. Also, this blessing asks for the Lord to leave a visible trace of His Being on the face you show to others. To ask the Lord to be gracious is to ask that He extend mercy, have compassion, to see the best in someone and seek the best for that person.

c. “May He turn His face towards you and give you peace.”  This part of the blessing asks that the Lord look upon you with approval, that He turns towards you with favor, and fondness; that He makes eye contact, so to speak, and affirms one’s worth and dignity in personal relationship. This petition asks for a constant awareness of the Lord’s presence, the presence of the goodness of God. The seal of this entire blessing culminates in peace, granting freedom from strife, disorder and disquiet, bringing harmony, wholeness and abundant well-being. Bringing His shalom, that the person being blessed would flourish.

(this section on the Aaronic blessing done with thanks to Hebrew scholars Dr. Dwight Pryor, Rabbi Jonathon Sacks, and Mrs. Keren Pryor).

2. “May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your heart enlightened, so that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe, according to the working of his great might which he accomplished in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:17-20).

3. “May the God of all grace, who has called you to share his eternal splendor through Christ, after you have suffered a very little while, restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power forever and ever.” (1 Peter 5:10-11).

4. “May the Father, out of his glorious riches, strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19).

5. “May you be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, to lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” (Colossians 1:9-12).

6. “Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without  fault in the presence of his glory with unspeakable joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power and authority, before all time and now and forever.” (Jude: 24-25).

7. “May you be resolute, encouraged in heart and bound together in love until you have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that you may know the mystery of God, who is Christ, in whom are hidden all the jewels and treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:2-3).

8. “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).

9. “May your love abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best, and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11).

10. “Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the Great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever.” (Hebrews 13:20-21).

11. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13).

12. “May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.” (from Philippians 4:7, as in Book of Common Prayer).