When everything gets back to normal and we look back, what will be the one thing we’ll have missed most during lockdown? Maybe walks along the beach, or a nice meal at a restaurant, a trip to the theatre, or chatting to friends over a coffee? We may not appreciate it now, but I think in the future, the thing we’ll agree we’ve missed most is human touch. Think about how often we do it. We shake hands or embrace when we meet. We hold hands or put an arm around the shoulder of someone who’s upset. We visit someone in hospital and hold their hand. We do a good job and get a pat on the back. We score a goal and get embraced by the whole team. Touching is an integral part of our being, and we’re not to do it except with those who are in lockdown with us. Even as rules begin to relax social distancing will stay in place for a while to come. It isn’t natural.

Why isn’t it natural? Why do we need to touch? Because our God is a touching God.  Jesus often touched people when he healed them and, even more amazing, he allowed people to touch him. Imagine that! The Son of God, creator of the universe, allowed his creation to get up close to him. He was perfect, they weren’t, but he interacted with them at close quarters nevertheless.

Even more amazing is that the hands he reached out to heal people were one day outstretched on a cross, to which he was nailed. That makes his hands appear worthless, and Jesus helpless, but nothing of the sort. This was something that was planned before the earth was even created, and upon the cross Jesus was nothing but helpless. He was engaged in a battle against Satan and his forces of evil, whilst also suffering for our sins. He won the battle. He suffered for our sins and gave out a massive victory cry, “It is finished!(1) The nailed hands were victor’s hands.

Jesus described himself as a shepherd, and his followers as sheep. It’s comforting and provides great encouragement. Probably the most famous Psalm in the Bible begins, “The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.(2) Jesus also tells his followers, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.(3)

The hands that he held out to heal people, the same hands that were nailed to a cross, his followers take comfort in knowing that we are safe in those hands. He has us in his grip and is not letting go. We’re also in God the Father’s hand, safe in the twofold grip of God. When someone becomes a Christian it’s not just for life, it’s for eternity and nothing can alter that truth. I can’t, you can’t, no one can. No one can snatch a Christian out of the hand of Jesus or the hand of his Father. Wouldn’t you love to have that security?

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(1) John 19:30

(2) Psalm 23:1-3
(3) John 10:27-30