John Stallings penned the words,
â€œTouching Jesus is all that really matters,
then your life will never be the same.
There is only one way to touch Him,
just believe when you call on His name.â€
â€‹I hadnâ€™t thought about that song for years. Until one night at a revival meeting in northeast Ohio that it flooded my memory.
It had been a good week. The crowds were good, services lively, and the Spirit of God was present. People had been responding, and lives had been changed. Masterpieceâ€™s restored.
It was the last night of the meeting and a spontaneous testimony service erupted. It was beautiful. People stood to share what God had been doing in their lives. You could really sense a genuine atmosphere of praise.
â€‹And then she stood. Her face was worn and tired. She stood with her shoulders slightly down. Her dress was very common. Iâ€™ll confess, I donâ€™t remember her name . . . however, Iâ€™ll never forget what she said.
Her voice trembled as she spoke. She shared how difficult the past few years had beenâ€”especially the last year. I listened intently as she described how her husband of 60-plus years had lost his battle to Alzheimerâ€™s Disease, her family had deserted her, and now she was facing sickness herself. Yet, she had a testimony.
She relayed to all in the sanctuary that night that God had been her constant and had proven to be true through it all. She continued her story and with a stronger, more determined voice concluded with this statement that has stuck with me:
â€œThe last few years have been so very hard. However, I know this is true:
The promises that are before me are greater than the pain of my past!
You see, I have Jesus, and Heâ€™s all I need.â€
â€‹Thatâ€™s when I realized that this woman had touched Jesus! And the memory of this song from my childhood replayed in my mind.
â€œTouching Jesus is all that really matters. . . . â€
â€‹Can I confess to you there are so many times that I think of everything else but this? I come to a church service thinking about what Iâ€™m going to sing, what Iâ€™m going to preach, how the flow of the service will go, wondering whoâ€™s going to show up. . . . Consumed by so many thingsâ€”everything but the most important: Touching Jesus.
I hope that statementâ€™s not too shocking. I feel I can confess this because youâ€™re likely the same way. I mean, we all live lives in a very real world. There are occupational issues, family concerns, and obligations that want to occupy our time and thoughts. If weâ€™re not careful, these things will control us.
I need this reminder; perhaps you do, too. Touching Jesus is all that really matters. If weâ€™ll touch Him, our lives will never be the same.
Another Broken Person
â€œThen they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four menâ€ (Mark 2:3)
This story is one that has been filled with heartache and struggle. Weâ€™re not sure when it began, but obviously, itâ€™s been going on for quite some time. Another smeared life turned upside on the Artistâ€™s canvas. What has happened?
Heâ€™s a paralytic. In other words, his body doesnâ€™t work. No movement in his arms. No strength in his legs. His limbs are dead; useless.
We donâ€™t know how he ended up like this. It could be that he was born this way. Maybe he was dropped on his head as a child. Or perhaps it was the result of a tragic accident later in life. How he arrived here is unknown. Heâ€™s just here: paralyzed, dependent, pathetic.
Jesusâ€”the One who speaks authority over evil, chases sickness away, touches the untouchablesâ€”is across town.
Was there a stirring in the paralyticâ€™s heart to get to Jesus? Were thoughts rushing through his mind of getting to where Christ was? Or, did his friends simply insist that he go? Perhaps he was embarrassed. After all, he canâ€™t feed himself, bathe himself, or go for a walk. He could never get to where Jesus was. Not, on his own. What a pitiful state. Just lie there. It was his sentence. It was his life.
However, the story doesnâ€™t end there.
We meet four men. Theyâ€™re nameless men.
No titles or position. But they have huge hearts.
They define the word friendship.
When the paralytic couldnâ€™t get to where Jesus was, they would take him. What this poor man could not do for himself, they would do for him.
Matt carriers. Thatâ€™s who they are.
â€‹The Greek word pherÃ³ (fer’-o) can be translated to bring, bear, carry, or carry a burden. Thatâ€™s what his life had becomeâ€”a burden. He was a burden not only to himself but to others as well.
If he were to eat, someone would have to feed him.
If he were bathed, someone had to wash him.
A burden. And the burden has become much too heavy. So, they go to the only place they know to go. They bear the burden across town.
Jesus Was in the House.
â€‹Touching Jesus was all that mattered.
â€‹So, they bring him to Jesus.
You see, if Jesus would touch a leper, certainly He can meet this need.
â€‹If He could banish sickness, disease, and evil . . . then paralysis is no challenge.
â€‹ Theyâ€™re so desperate for a genuine encounter with Jesus, theyâ€™re, willing to do anything to make it happen! Letâ€™s highlight this. Itâ€™s an important fact!
â€‹They are so desperate to get to Jesus, theyâ€™re willing to do WHATEVER IT TAKES.
â€‹Do you know that God absolutely loves it when weâ€™re desperate for Him? Oh, how that blesses Him! Flash forward to Luke 18:35-43. We see this same kind of desperation in the blind man beside the road. Heâ€™s so desperate for a genuine encounter with Jesus, he starts shouting, â€œSon of David, have mercy on me!â€
â€‹Heâ€™s an outcast. Just like this paralytic.
â€‹People consider him a freak. Just like this paralytic.
â€‹Heâ€™s desperate for wholeness. Just like this paralytic.
â€‹Jesus is so moved by the blind manâ€™s desperation that in spite of all the other things vying for His attention, He stops in front of the blind man and heals him.
â€‹Have you experienced this kind of desperation? Are you so spiritually desperate for a genuine encounter with Jesus that youâ€™re willing to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to experience Him?
â€‹Weâ€™ll pick up here next week . . . Until then, letâ€™s live with this sort of desperation to touch Jesus in our lives. Not only for ourselves; but, for others as well.
For more information on BILLY Huddleston, visit billyhuddleston.com.