Today’s post is about the healing touch of Jesus. In just one touch, we see Jesus healing an outcast transforming him from death to life.
If you continue to read on, you’ll discover the science behind touch and how it has the power to heal your body.
You’ll change the way you view physical contact and you’ll seek ways to introduce more of it into your world.
Are you a huggy touchy-feely Christian? Or do you prefer your ‘personal space?’ I definitely fall into the latter group.
I remember going to New Year’s Eve parties and conveniently going to the bathroom at midnight to avoid those awkward New Year hugs with everyone.
Therapists and doctors claim that hugs are good for our health. We see the healing touch of Jesus in the way He heals the leper. It is not by accident that Jesus chooses to heal him in this way.
THE HEALING POWER OF TOUCH
Neuro-scientists tell us the healing power of physical touch. Caroline Leaf tells of Psychologist Harry Harlow who undertook a scientific study in the 50’s and 60’s by enclosing baby monkeys with a substitute ‘mother’ made from wire.
They were fed milk to ensure nutrition, but never received physical cuddles and affection. They quickly showed signs of depression, stress and violent behaviour.
This behaviour was reversed when the wire ‘mother’ was replaced by an older monkey who began to hug and cuddle them.
Caroline Leaf says lack of touch is called ‘cutaneous deprivation’ and can be responsible for emotional, intellectual and physical problems in human beings.
Now translate this into the life the leper was living; not having been touched in many years. Unlike me, this leper had no choice. Despised and condemned by everyone, he was untouchable.
He had a contagious ‘disease’ and couldn’t go near others. He was an outcast.
Consider the deep wounds caused by feeling so unloved, alone and rejected, or the damage caused by the cutaneous deprivation.
THE HEALING TOUCH OF JESUS
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.
Praise God that Jesus stretched out his hand! Jesus transforms the life of the leper in an just one touch. Where the world turned away from the leper, Jesus turned towards him.
He restored the leper’s humanity, gave him back his dignity and made him feel loved. Jesus gave him exactly what he needed.
1. ACT AS A BARRIER TO INFECTIONS
A study of 400 adults published by Sage Journals, showed that those who regularly engage in hugging and social interaction are less likely to pick up viruses.
If they do pick up a virus, the symptoms are far less compared to those people who rarely hug others.
2. LOWER YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE
A study was done by the Harvard Medical School showed that those who experienced a 20 second hug from a partner had lower blood pressure.
If you therefore were to hug someone every day, just think what this would do for your stress levels.
Oxytocin is the bonding hormone and dopamine is that ‘feel good factor’ that are released during physical touch. We feel uplifted, more regulated and happier as a result.
“Receptors for oxytocin are found in every cell of the body…..Oxytocin is an analgesic…anti-inflammatory and antioxidant…inhibits stress hormones…regulation of vagal tone…” Sue Carter, PhD, Kinsey Institute
Carter also states it prevents depression, activation of stress states and chronic pain.
Imagine the depression, stress and pain of leprosy!
4. ARE COMFORTING
When I was little, whenever I fell over or if I wasn’t well, my mother gave me the biggest hug. It was exactly what I needed. I felt her warmth, love and embrace.
There is nothing like an empathic witness in your hour of need to counteract trauma. The sense of comfort impacts our brains at a cellular level.
The healing touch from Jesus counter-acted any trauma the leper was experiencing.
5. CONTRIBUTES TO NERVOUS SYSTEM REGULATION
When we engage socially with others, we activate the ventral vagal branch of our parasympathetic nervous system. We need to spend most of our time living in this part of our nervous system, it’s where the healing is.
It had been many years since the leper had engaged socially with anyone or received physical touch. Our nervous system regulates when we’re in connection with one another. Without this, we become either shut-down, lifeless, depressed or fearful, anxious and on edge.
The healing touch of Jesus restores this in an instant.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:19
Could a lack of touch or social engagement contribute to your health condition?
HE HEALS AND MAKES WHOLE
I love how the God of the overflow over exceeded the leper’s prayer! He was just as concerned about the leper’s emotional wellbeing as the physical illness.
Just as He knit you in your mother’s womb, He wants to heal and restore every part of you back to wholeness.
What difference would it make to your world if you increased the amount of hugs you receive each day? Who could you hug regularly?
I now challenge myself to hug every day. What about you?
Can you bring the healing touch of Jesus to someone in your world? You may be the answer to someone else’s breakthrough!
For more in this series: