The glory of touch

Church bulletin:

I sometimes think that Christians don’t make enough of Christ’s humanity. We rightfully stress the deity of the second person, but is it done in such a way that we downgrade the real flesh and blood in which deity exists? The New Testament writers, due in part to the influence of Gnosticism among believers, were at pains to stress the humanity of Christ. We may not feel that this doctrine is under threat, yet without realizing it Christians can have a “lopsided” view of their Saviour. We need to be absolutely convinced – if Christ isn’t a man, we are not saved. The incarnation must be held up and highly esteemed.

The apostle John wants us to know that our salvation is wrapped up in humanity. 1 John 1:1-2, That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life(2) the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us—” Likewise the apostle Paul. 1 Tim 3:16, And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh……”

The Lord’s Supper brings the humanity of Christ to our senses every time we participate. 1 Cor 11:24-25, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (25) In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

In our prayers we are to be mindful of the humanity of our Mediator. 1 Tim 2:5, For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” Assurance and hope are found in humanity. Heb 2:17, “Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”

In the day-to-day ministry of Christ, His humanity was perhaps most vividly expressed through a simple touch. He didn’t have to heal or bless by touching, He could have just spoken. He chose most often to touch. He allowed people to touch Him. The warmth of His flesh was felt. Touch is important – a handshake, a hug, a kiss, a pat on the back, a hand on the shoulder are ways of showing acceptance, solidarity, friendship, love, oneness. Touch brings people together – person to person. Christ wanted people to “feel” God with them. God with them as one of them.

We don’t physically encounter Christ now, as such we need to be careful not to think of Him in purely “spiritual” terms. He is man – the God man. The Lord’s Supper helps us with this. Remembering the manger helps us with this. Meditating upon His earthly ministry and His heavenly ministry, helps us with this. We must not succumb to a Gnostic Jesus. The day is coming when we will see Him because He is physical. And we will be like Him. I suspect we will also touch Him and He will touch us – person to person, flesh to flesh (John 20:17).