Summary: Three touches of Jesus that we need in our lives.
Note: This sermon was introduced with the Michael Card song "The Gentle Healer."
Think about the words to the song we just sang: "Your touch is all I need, and when your hands are on this child, your healing I receive." Today we’re going to talk about the touch of Jesus. We’ve been in a series through the New Testament book of Mark called FOLLOWING JESUS IN THE REAL WORLD.
Last week we looked at the voice of Jesus, and how his voice breaks the allure of temptation and brings us back into reality. We looked at Jesus’ announcement of God’s Kingdom, his calling of people to follow him, his teaching, and his rebuking of the forces of evil. Each time Jesus spoke his words broke through people’s lives. Today we’re going to talk about his touch. Specifically we’re going to talk about three touches of Jesus: his healing touch, his Father’s touch, and his cleansing touch.
But before we start, let me talk a minute about how I’m going to suggest we apply this section today. When we talk about Jesus touching people, it’s hard to relate that to today because Jesus isn’t physically present with us today. Although Jesus rose from the grave on Easter Sunday, according to the Bible his physical presence is in heaven at the Father’s right hand as our advocate. So how can people experience the touch of Jesus today if he’s not physically present? Well one way, perhaps the primary way, is through Jesus Christ’s Church. You see, the Bible calls the Christian Church "the body of Christ." That means that although Jesus’ physical body is in heaven, the Christian Church fills the void created by his physical absence. So one way Jesus touches people is through his community, his gathered people who seek to love and follow Jesus. So although his touch certainly isn’t limited to the Church, I believe the gathered Christian community is one of the primary ways people experience the touch of Jesus in their lives today.
So as we apply this section of Mark to our lives, I’ll be suggesting that we apply it to ourselves as a church community, not just to ourselves individually. It’s in our life together, as a church community, that we embody the touch of Jesus for other people.
Now let’s look at three touches of Jesus. Turn to Mark 1:29 and take out your outline.
1. His Healing Touch (Mark 1:29-34)
We’re going to start by talking about Jesus’ healing touch in vv. 29-34. This is one of about three dozen different healings Jesus performs that are recorded for us in the New Testament.
Now there were lots of self-proclaimed "healers" in the ancient world, and most of them were similar to the faith healers we see on TV. Most of them were charlatans and quacks, people who put on a show and tried to line their pockets at the expense of desperate and hurting people. Ancient faith healers were quick to call attention to their exploits, making sure everyone knew of their supposed healings. But this first healing in Mark’s story doesn’t fit the pattern of ancient faith healers. This healing comes in private, witnessed by just a few people.
The setting is Jesus’ visit at the home of Simon and Andrew. Archeologists have actually uncovered a ruins of a home in the ancient city of Capernaum that they believe to be the home spoken of here. They believe it to be Peter’s home because it has graffiti and drawings on the walls with Christian symbolism dating back to the time of Jesus.
Simon’s mother-in-law is home, sick in bed with a fever. Now technically, a fever isn’t an illness, but it’s a symptom. But for whatever reason-maybe she had the flu-she was so feverish that she couldn’t even get up out of bed. So Jesus heals her, but he heals her without saying a word. Most self-proclaimed faith healers in the ancient world would use incantations, elaborate rituals, or special potions to try to heal people. But what Jesus does is very different. He simply takes her hand, helps her up, and as he does, the fever breaks. Jesus doesn’t say a word. His touch is all she needs, and when his hands are on her, his healing she receives.
This woman’s immediate response to the touch of Jesus is to begin waiting on them. Now some have thought that this section to be teaching that a woman’s place is serving men, cooking food, cleaning house, and so forth. But the word for "wait on" here in v. 31 means "serve," and it’s the same word Jesus will use in chapter 10, when he says that he didn’t come to the earth to be served, but to serve. The point of this event isn’t that a woman’s place is serving men; the point is that a Christian’s place is serving others. When Jesus touches a person to heal them, the natural response is to serve God’s people, to use the opportunity of being restored to health as an opportunity to serve.