Matthew 8:1-3 - When He (Jesus) came down from the mountain, great crowds followed Him. And behold, a leper came to Him and knelt before Him, saying, "Lord, if You will, You can make me clean." And Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, "I will; be clean." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
Have you been asking yourself, how can we feel the touch of the Savior's hand? How can we establish closer contact with these endless mercies? Though Jesus is no longer with us in the flesh to leave His healing imprint on our lives, He is with us in His Spirit as our eternal Friend and Companion. For He has promised in His valedictory truth, which can never be broken, "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20b).
Jesus and His multiplied mercies come to us through Baptism, that divine ordinance by which His Spirit cleanses and purifies us. And let me offer two passages from Jesus to those who have never been baptized in the Name of the Triune God: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (John 3:5b). And then this sobering promise: "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:16).
The call to each one of you who have neglected this washing of regeneration, for your own souls and for the souls of your children, is still the appeal of the Scriptures, "And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on His Name" (Acts 22:16). Will you not resolve to be blessed by this cleansing touch of Jesus in Christian Baptism?
You can also meet Christ in His Word, on the living pages of the Bible. Because of His exalting presence in the Scriptures—and in no other book—you can realize that the church today must spurn the many sleight-of-hand substitutes offered by modern unbelief and plead for devout meditation in Holy Writ, careful study of the Scriptures, and close attention to biblical, doctrinal, Gospel-based sermons. Read this Bible, then, delve into its treasures; distill from its vast power the essence of joy and comfort for your own life; the hand of Jesus will rest upon you with the same imprint of its healing, that miraculous hand which recast the lives of multitudes in the days of His flesh.
At every crossroad in life, before the towering heights of any insurmountable crisis, you will see that out of the mists and over the shadows of earth's sorrows a radiant faith always reveals the hand of Jesus, the hand of strength and comfort, of guidance and support. Over every conflict and turmoil, you will hear, as you grasp this life-giving contact with Christ, the re-echoing promise, the clear and true clarion call of faith's certainty: "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand" (John 10:28). O God, touch our souls with this healing, helping hand of Jesus!
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, move our hearts to repentance and faith in Your Son, our Savior. Amen.
From "The Touch of Jesus," a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Walter A. Maier, the first Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. What's your understanding of what occurs in Baptism?
2. Jesus has the power to make us clean—of a skin disease and our sin disease—how has Jesus cleansed your life?
3. How much time a week do you spend learning about God? What kind of books and resources do you use? Have you ever tried your hand at Greek?—at Hebrew?
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