Monday, February 18, 2008

He Touched Me
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He Touched Me

Intro.: Touch is powerful.

  1. Valentines Day, that has just passed, reminds us of the sensitive touch of two people who are in love.

  2. Our news is sadly full of people who use what has come to be called inappropriate touch – whether at home or in schools or on the streets.

  3. Touch is powerful. Not just in a human sense, but from God's perspective as well.

  4. We can go back to the time of the Moses and the Pentateuch (that's the first five books of the Bible). Numbers makes it clear that if an Israelite touches a dead body, that person would be considered unclean for the next seven days.

  5. Or do you remember Jairus. Jairus daughter was dying and he came to Jesus to plead for her healing.

  6. But before Jesus could get involved a woman who had a hemmorage that had not stopped bleeding for five year came up and touched him. “Immediately” the bleeding stopped. And what does Jesus say, “Bless you”, nope. “God god with you,” - nope. Or maybe, “I need a nap” - nope. What does He says? He says, “Who touched me?

  7. When Jesus touches a person's life, they are changed.

  8. Today we will examine the lessons from the hymn “He Touched Me”.


Trans: Bill was an unknown 27 year old high school English teacher in 1963.

  1. An evangelist by the name of Dale Oldham asked him to play the piano at a revival meeting some fifty miles from home. Dale's son, Doug Oldham, would provide the special music for the evening.

  2. The service was memorable with a great many people responding to the invitation that was given at the end of the service.

  3. Dale, Doug, and Bill Gaither discussed on the way home how they had felt God's presence that evening. They talked about how they had felt the hand of God touch them that night.

  4. As the three men separated that evening, Doug said to Bill Gaither, somewhat flippantly, you ought to write a song that said, “He touch me, oh, he touched me.”

  5. The next morning, Bill Gaither did exactly that. By the end of the week, Doug Oldham was singing the song at his father's worship services. Doug recorded the song as well as others including Elvis Presley and the Imperials.

  6. It was the song that launched Bill Gaither's career. Bill Gaither says the song was so successful because it expresses eveyone's testimony when they come to Jesus, “I had no hope, I was done. Then the hand of Jesus touched me.”1


Read: Matthew 8:1-4

  1. The crowd followed Jesus

    1. Jesus had just finished preaching His most famous sermon – The Sermon On The Mount.

    2. And as he comes down from that hilltop, the crowd follows.

    3. It had been an amazing sermon – full of insight, instructive, and challenging.

    4. And the crowd continued to follow Jesus.

(Ill.) I have always been impressed with Jesus' interactions with the crowds. There were times when He would try to get away from the crowds. There were times he chose to minister to the crowds. He did not always respond the way they wanted – or the way we might expect him to.

    1. But you know what, it was not the large crowd that made this event in Jesus' life significant.

  1. The leper approached Jesus

    1. It was the loan man that approached him. This man had leprosy.

(Ill.) Leprosy is a disease for which there is no cure, but that is not highly contagious. William Barclay described what a leper looks like:

The whole appearance of the face is changed, till the man loses his human appearance and looks, as the ancients said, ‘like a lion or a satyr.’ The nodules grow larger and larger. They ulcerate. From them there comes a foul discharge. The eyebrows fall out, the eyes become staring. The voice becomes hoarse and the victim wheezes because of the ulceration of the vocal chords. The hands and feet always ulcerate. Slowly the sufferer becomes a mass of ulcerated growths. The average course of the disease is nine years, and it ends in mental decay, coma, and ultimately death. The sufferer becomes utterly repulsive—both to himself and to others.”

Yet because of the drastic changes it made to the skin, those who have it stand out from those around them. I can imagine that as this man approached Jesus, the crowd backed away. They did not want to be near this man – and yet Jesus does not back away.2

(Appl.) In some ways, this man with his skin condition is representative of all of us. It may not be our skin, it may be our hearts or lungs or nerves or muscles. Or maybe its our behavior or thoughts. Scripture says that “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

    1. Certainly, the leper knew that he had no right to be there with Jesus. He was supposed to be isolated from the rest of his culture – but he decided to approach the one man who he believed could do something to change his condition.

    2. The man made his faith clear, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.

    3. The man's faith made him ready to receive Jesus' touch.

(Appl.) Let me ask you a question – where is your faith? Are you ready for Christ to touch you?

  1. Jesus touched the leper

(Ill.) I remember teaching my first Sunday School class while in college. It was a group of fifth and sixth grade kids in an upstairs Sunday School classroom at Central United Methodist Church in Sacramento, CA. I lesson I remember from long ago when we had a lesson on missions. One of the people we studied that quarter was a man by the name of Frank Laubach. Laubach was a man who touched a great many lives as he worked with the illiterate of the world. His motto was “Each one, Teach one” - I can still remember that motto from that class. Laubach touch many lives – but it began each time he reached out and helped one person to read. It began each time he reached out and touched a single life.3

    1. Jesus touched on man. Verse 3 says, “Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.” and man was “immediately ... cured of leprosy.

    2. That man, that day, could not have known today's hymn – but expect that the words that Bill Gaither wrote in 1963 would ring true for him, as it rings true for us

He Touched Me

Shackled by a heavy burden,

'Neath a load of guilt and shame.

Then the Hand of Jesus touched me,

And now I am no longer the same.


He touched me,

Oh, He touched me,

And oh the joy that floods my soul.

Something happened and now I know,

He touched me and made me whole.

Since I met the Blessed Saviour,

Since He cleansed and made me whole,

I will never cease to Praise Him!

I'll shout it while eternity rolls.



1Petersen, W. J. and Petersen A. (2006). The Complete Book of Hymns: Inspiring Stories About 600 Hymns and Praise Songs. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

2Green, M. P. (1989). Illustrations for Biblical Preaching : Over 1500 sermon illustrations arranged by topic and indexed exhaustively (Revised edition of: The expositor's illustration file). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

3Personal memory refreshed with details from Morgan, R. J. (2000). Nelson's complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes (electronic ed.) (380). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.


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