SOMEBODY … TOUCHED ME
“And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.” Luke 8:43-45
THRONG: This event took place while Jesus was on the way to the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler, He had urged Jesus to come to heal his only twelve-year-old daughter. The two twelves here are interesting, if not significant. As Jesus made His journey many crowded Him. He was often “thronged” by a pushing, shoving, pressing, crushing, jostling crowd. Then as He went, there came a message that indicated that they were too late; the daughter had died. They said, “trouble not the Master.”
This is how it has been throughout this Age of Grace. There have been tens of thousands and thousands of thousands that have “THRONGED” Him, and many have troubled Him. Some in positive ways, others in negative ways. Thank God, there have also been those who by faith make personal contact with Jesus and “Touch Him.” I have been impressed as I read through the Gospel of Luke of some of the Law’s touchables and untouchables, and also our Lord’s. We who stay in personal contact with Him are made to realize that we are something special in His heart, and in His sight.
Thinking about the first side of the title to this message, it is interesting to consider who the Lord counts as “somebody” and who is otherwise, “For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself” – Gal. 6:3. “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” – Rom. 12:3.
Paul asked in I Corinthians 4:7, “Who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hast not received it?” The grace of God had certainly been at work in Paul’s life. The same grace that humbled our beloved brother, also lifted him up and made him that said he was less then the least of all saints, the chief apostle to the church. He plainly and humbly said, boasting only in the Lord, “I am what I am by the grace of God.”
“If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” – I Cor. 14:37. In II Tim. 2:7 we read, “Consider what I say;; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.” I believe these scriptures along with many other corresponding portions, give us the measure of a true church minister. Please excuse me if I seem to over simplify. When asked for my church bylaws by several recently, I said that all we have to go by are Paul’s epistles.
In Gal. 2:6-9, Paul wrote of those that seem to be “somewhat.” We read in Acts 5:29-42 of the wise counsel of Gamaliel, one of the council, a doctor of the law, who was held in reputation among the people. The advice he gives here follows a wonderful prison release of Peter and the other apostles. (Acts 5:19) When the high priests and those that were with Him took counsel to slay them, Gamaliel spoke up and said unto them, “Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.” He then gives examples of those that rose up and drew a following after themselves, and boasted to be “somebody.” But these came to nought. He concluded his advice by telling them to “Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God” – vs. 38-39. So the council beat, threatened, and released them. This is when we find out who the real “somebodies” were. Those apostles departed rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for Jesus’ name.
TROUBLE: In many ways today there are those that will tell us not to trouble the Lord. Thank God we each have the sweet privilege of turning to Him and trusting Him with all our troubles. He is a refuge in times of trouble, and a very present help – Ps. 9:9; 46:1. When Jesus spoke of going to prepare a place for His people, He said, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me” – Jn. 14:1. We are told to be careful for nothing (troubled in mind) but to let our request be made known unto God, and to cast all our care upon Him. While trusting the Lord in times of discomfort, we learn His comforting love by experience. Thus He works in our lives to make us useful in sharing His comfort with others in trouble – II Cor. 1:3-6.
He is most touchable to our faith. He delights in supplying all our need. He said, “I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.” He knows when we are blessed by whole hearted trust in Him. He knows when it is real. He takes note of any who by faith touch Him, and you are made “SOMEBODY” special by His grace, for His glory. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” – Heb. 4:12.
God touches the very depths of our being with His Word, so that having seen our need, we will reach out and touch Him by faith for His delivering work. “He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him” – Heb. 7:25. “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed unto the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” – Heb. 4:14-16. Jesus is on the throne there, “passed into the heavens” having been totally triumphant here and being tempted here in His triune being, and without sin, He is most touchable there on that throne of grace. He is our merciful and faithful high priest. I believe He had a divine, unfallen, human nature. He was never in any way overcome by sin.
TOUCHABLE: Jesus is so touchable to the otherwise untouchables of religious reckoning. Read Luke 7:36-50 and consider. We read here of Simon, the Pharisee, a self-esteemed untouchable, and the woman with the alabaster box, who was a sinner. They both needed Jesus’ saving touch, but one knew it and the other did not. Simon seemed to be certain in his own eyes that he was “somebody.” He, no doubt, felt that he was showing some special favor to Jesus, by inviting Him to eat with him, Simon possibly considered this a great kindness to one somewhat beneath His standing. Yes, he shared his house maybe for a hour, and his meal, but he did not touch Jesus. (vs. 44-46)
Who is worthy to touch Jesus? He came into the world to save sinners. He died for the ungodly. When Simon saw this woman wash Jesus’ feet with her tears, wipe them with the hair of her head, kiss His feet, and anoint Him with the ointment, he was troubled. He condemned Jesus for allowing such a sinner to touch Him. She had manifested much thankful love because she had experienced much forgiveness, but not everyone will reach out by faith and grasp the total forgiveness offered. Therefore most of our love seems to be restrained.
The law made a dead body untouchable. Lev. 21:11. Whoever touched a dead body was considered unclean, and unfit for holy service. In Luke 7:11-16, we read that Jesus and His disciples went to the city called Nain, and there they met at the gate, “a dead man carried out, the only son of His mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto tee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.” Thank God, for the way Jesus in grace overcame and far superseded the authority of the law.
Leprosy in its most dangerous forms was considered unclean, and sometimes contagious. The scaly appearance itself made it repulsive to the touch, as well as its stages of swelling and running sores. The leper was one pronounced unclean and separated from the congregation. In Luke 5:12-13, we read of “a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean, And immediately the leprosy departed from him.”
Today we still have many religious untouchables, and the words of Jesus back then are still appropriate, “And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! For ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers”– Lk. 11:46. Legality acts likewise today being very good at making demands, burdening others but too good to dirty their own hands. There are conditions, traditions, and prohibitions handed down by men that would keep us from enjoying, employing, and showing the grace of God. The apostle Paul speaks of those in Col. 2:21, “Touch not; taste not; handle not:” that only brings satisfaction to the flesh, but no glory to God.
“And they brought unto him also infants (Mk. 10;13) that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him and said, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein”– Lk. 18:15-17. In Mark 10:16 Jesus “took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.” In these verses, we find tender instruction concerning some of our Lord’s “touchables.” We see also the attitude we each must have to enter and enjoy the things of God. Those child-like in faith are born into the family of God. Such are not quick to contradict, but teachable. Those child-like in their faith are uncluttered in their reasoning, and approach Him in spiritual simplicity, unassuming. These also became in a real sense the Lord’s untouchables, “In Christ.” The wicked toucheth not, him that is born of God. Our life is indeed hid with Christ in God. Jesus said, “no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” We are kept by the power of God, and who is able to overthrow Him. The adversaries of all of God’s people are warned, “Touch not mine anointed.” God has said, “he that touches you touches the apple of mine eye.” Satan had to get permission to sift Peter, and to get at Job and that was limited, Praise God!