Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Royalty That Can Be Touched

“And the whole multitude sought to touch him…” (Luke 6:19a)

As you probably know, the Queen came calling a few days ago, Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II, that is. One the things we learned, if you didn’t already know it, was that protocol dictates that at no time should the Queen be touched. One may not even extend a hand of greeting unless she offers hers first. Most of these practices have historical precedent, and obviously, they are breached on occasion, but to do so is to indicate ignorance at best, and arrogance at worst.

My first thought, of course, when being reminded of this prohibition, was to offer a prayer of thanksgiving to the King of all the earth (Psl.47:7), who knew before He ever took human form that not only would He be touched and handled (1Jno.1:1), He would also be manhandled (Mk.14:65). It is safe to say, I think, that the Incarnation of God in Jesus Christ gives testimony not only to His love but also His openness to the human touch. Men (Mk.8:22), women (Mk.5:28,41), and children (Mk.10:13)—all were able to touch God in the flesh. Even the one who handed Him over to His enemies was allowed to press his lips against the cheek of the guiltless One, in a kiss of betrayal.

Second Corinthians reminds us that you and I cannot touch Jesus Christ as those early Christians were able to (5:16), but that does not mean we cannot experience the same results. Hebrews 4:15 tells us that Jesus can still be touched, and it is our “infirmities”—our inadequacies, if you will—that make Him especially accessible to us. It is the hand of need that is the quickest to lay hold on God.

I have no illusions of ever being in the presence of earthly royalty, much less experiencing its touch, but every day I come into the presence of the One who holds within His hands the heart of all kings (Prov.21); and every day, by faith, I touch Him. It may not be skin to skin, but it’s heart to heart, and it’s every bit as real. Can you say the same?

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