It was a sunny day and I was outside playing with the two little boys I nanny every afternoon. While getting the dump trucks and fire trucks from their bin in the shed, the boys discovered a spider web bigger than their heads, with a spider in the dead center. They were fascinated, and their fingers instantly reached out to touch the spider. I quickly pulled them back and told them "Just use your eyes! Look, but don't touch."
I didn’t think much of it—I was protecting them, keeping them safe from the potential harm that could have come their way if they had gotten too close.
Later that week, that moment came back to me as I was flipping through the Gospels. I realized something about Jesus as I scanned over those chapters and books. He touched a lot.
The man with leprosy came before him, asking to be made clean. Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him and his leprosy was cleansed. (Matthew 8:2-3)
Peter's mother-in-law was sick with a fever. Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him. (Matthew 8:14-15)
The daughter of a ruler was dead in bed. Jesus took her by the hand, spoke to her, and she got up at once. (Luke 8:53-55)
Two blind men followed Jesus, crying that he would have mercy on them. He touched their eyes and healed them because of their faith. (Matthew 9:27-29)
The stories continue throughout the Gospels- Jesus moving, speaking, touching and healing person after person.
I think about those people in our world today. They are still just as real as they were when Jesus was here. There are people on street corners holding ragged signs that announce their circumstances to passersby-- homeless, broke, hungry, no job, down on their luck. There are people living under underpasses and bridges, surrounded by trash and broken bottles, with just a slab of concrete for a bed. There are still blind, sick, lonely, hurting, deaf and dying people all around me.
I look, but I don't touch.
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