Jesus came up, touched them, and said,
“Get up; don’t be afraid.”
When they looked up,
they saw no one except Jesus alone.
Our sense of touch is very important to us. What comes to mind when you think of the word “touch?” I think of reaching out to see how something feels. It could be the strong grasp of a hearty handshake or the soft fur of a cat. Maybe it’s the kisses and hugs from loved ones — or walking barefoot in the grass or on a sandy beach.
I like the feel of dough on my hands as I knead it in preparation for baking bread, or the feel of yarn sliding through my fingers as I crochet — though when my arthritis kicks in, those activities do not feel like a gentle touch. Can you relate? Sometimes chronic illness causes us to stop doing some of the things we like to do. Does it also have to stop us from sharing a gentle touch of kindness?
As human beings we all need a gentle touch at times. Anything that helps another person can be a gentle touch of kindness; it needn’t be actively serving others. We can pray for others; we can offer a smile to someone or reach out with a phone call or personal note.
JESUS OFTEN USED A GENTLE TOUCH
There are many instances in the Bible where Jesus used a gentle touch —- in healing, blessing the children, comforting. One such time was when Jesus took Peter, James and John up on the mountain where He was transfigured before them.
After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother John and led them up on a high mountain by themselves.
He was transfigured in front of them, and his face shone like the sun; his clothes became as white as the light.
Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it’s good for us to be here.
I will set up three shelters here: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said:
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased. Listen to him!”
When the disciples heard this, they fell face down and were terrified.
Jesus came up, touched them, and said, “Get up; don’t be afraid.”
When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus alone.
TRANSCENDENCE, IMMANENCE, AND A GENTLE TOUCH
One of the beautiful things about this passage is that it not only shows the transcendence of God, but also displays His immanence. When God speaks out of the cloud, the disciples are frightened and fall on their faces – then Jesus comes to them, touches them, and gently tells them not to be afraid. He is right beside them. His Presence can be seen and felt.
Today, we don’t see Jesus, but we have the Holy Spirit living within us. His Presence is always with us.
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper
(Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) to be with you forever—
the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive [and take to its heart] because it does not see Him or know Him,
but you know Him because He (the Holy Spirit) remains with you continually and will be in you.
Jesus kept his promise to send us the Holy Spirit. So, like the disciples, we always have the tender touch of Jesus with us.
MEDITATION AND RESPONSE
As I meditated on the passage about the transfiguration, I responded with a poem using haiku for each stanza. I love how Jesus gently touched his disciples when they were full of fear. Knowing that He is still with us in the Person of the Holy Spirit gives us a gentle touch of comfort.
High on a mountain
There with Peter, James and John
Jesus was transformed
Right before their eyes
Moses and Elijah stood
Speaking with Jesus
Peter hatched a plan
But scarcely began speaking
When he was stopped short
Suddenly there was
A bright cloud covering them
Followed by a voice
My Beloved Son
In Him I am greatly pleased
Listen to His words
Overcome with fear
Peter, James and John fell down
Trembling on the ground
Jesus walked over
Touched them tenderly and said
Do not be afraid
As the trembling stopped
The three sat up and saw
Only Jesus there
Hear my prayer, O Lord
May I always know the touch
Of your presence here
Thank you for Your gentle touch on our lives. When life seems out of control and we are overwhelmed, may we look to you for strength and comfort. Give us a desire to know you better and to worship You alone. Amen
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
- When have you felt the touch of Jesus’ presence?
- How has another person touched you with the gift of kindness?
- Meditate on a scripture, then respond with a prayer or poem. Does this help your awareness of the touch of Jesus in your life?
Chronic Joy® Content Coordinator and Prayer Team
A grandmother but young at heart, Gayl enjoys exploring creativity through writing, poetry, nature photography, art, crocheting, and piano. She loves coffee, tea, chocolate, and jeans. Gayl has been married to Steve for nearly 50 years, with 7 children and 14 grands (some have chronic illnesses, and one son is now with Jesus). Always learning and writing from her heart about life, her desire is to know God better, glorify Him, and encourage others. She is the author of Journey into Light and blogs at Words, Photos and Art.
Chronic Joy® devotionals are an invitation to take one gentle step, to pray in a comforting and familiar or perhaps new-to-you way, or to cry out on behalf of one precious life today … maybe even yours.
30 Creative Ways
Pause. Seek. Notice.
Be aware of the people around you. Observe the tender prompting of the Spirit. Be intentionally kind and discover what God will do.