The Power of Touch
Sovereign and Generous God, I praise You in astonishment for who You are and what You have done.
Read MARK 8:22-26
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“The greatest sense in our body is the touch. We feel … are touchy and are touched, through the touch corpuscles of our skin” (J. Lionel Taylor). It’s no mistake God made us that way.
Mark is a documenter of detail, the Gospel writer who most gives us a visual close-up of the ministry of Jesus. With this healing, his reporting centers on touch. It is the touch of Jesus that these friends seek for their blind companion (22). It is by touch that healing comes: Jesus leads him by touch (23a), ministers to him by touch (23b) and then completes the healing, again by touch (25).
To the blind man it matters because touch is all he has. He relies on touch to find security in his environment. Jesus knows this. To take his hand is to initiate a relationship of trust. Healing is administered in terms this man can grasp and understand. Jesus enters his world. To Mark, touch matters, because he wants us to see the process by which healing is achieved. Real hands are involved and real spit. Healing happens in the physical, observable realm of the body.
Mark is telling the story of the incarnation. The eternal God moves from the realm of the Spirit into our flesh-and-blood reality, so we need to know just how “real’ and physical these acts of healing are. Mark situates Jesus in the real world, setting the jewels of his teaching and miracles in the context of everyday reality. This is why he also shows us that the healing is not instant. Like a doctor asking if the pain has gone, Jesus checks with his patient after the first touch to find that sight has only partly returned. It is the second touch that completes the healing. Physical effort is involved: real touch, and the passage of real time. This is a powerful portrait of how miracles happen and an important corrective to our desires for instant change.
“The world needs more people to live the Good News…in a way that can be seen, heard, handled” (John Hayes). How are you or can you be doing that?
God of the incarnation, come to my material world today. Teach and help. Touch and heal. Work through me as I touch the lives of those I meet.