The Master’s Touch…
I do not know with fullness how others feel. I only know my own heart and my own desires with complete sureness. My discerning heart tells me though that deep down in our innocence we are all very much the same with feelings and desires to want and to be wanted, to touch and be touched. I remember well the comfort of my mother’s arm wrapped around me with my head nestled against her, her other hand stroking my brow. The feeling of my own hand cradled in my father’s strong rough hands being led to where I was needed and safe is quite unforgettable to me. A loving, gentle, and sometimes even firm touch was the sought after prize of a little child of earthly parents I loved so dearly and unconditionally.
I do not know what the people of God thought was going to happen when their Risen Lord appeared to them after His resurrection, but I know that whether they hoped it, or even dreamt it possible, the touch of their Savior’s hand must have been the very fulfillment of their greatest desire. Imagine it, to touch and be touched by our God.
When I was a much younger man with very small children the Church produced a video, “My Joy Is Full” (ChurchofJesusChrist.org), that showed the Resurrected Lord visiting His people in America. This representation of the Lord‘s ministry to His people touched me like nothing I had seen before. At first I did not know why it moved me so. Of course I felt the Spirit, but there was something even more that touched my heart like a tender mercy just for me. It was the depiction of the merciful, tender, authoritative and loving touch of the Master’s hand that indeed touched me so deeply.
It must have felt like a miracle beyond miracles, that this mighty God, powerful beyond the understanding of any mortal, would beckon them forth and reach out His hands to be touched. “How could this be,” I suppose they thought, “that an unworthy creature such as I could come to Him, and touch Him?” But He did call them forth and they indeed felt the wounds in His hands, in His side, and His feet, wounds that He received to save them, wounds that He received to save us all. They cried “Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God!” (3 Nephi 11:17) “And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him.”
But this was not all that He did for them. He sensed their deepest desire that He remain with them a little longer, and He asked them to bring unto Him their sick, or “lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner,” (3 Nephi 17:7) that He might heal them with His touch, and He did.
We read in 3 Nephi 17:10, “And they did all, both they who had been healed and they who were whole, bow down at His feet, and did worship Him; and as many as could come for the multitude did kiss His feet, insomuch that they did bathe His feet with their tears.”
Then the Lord performed in my heart a most beautiful tender mercy, as only one who remembers childhood yearnings can fully appreciate. He commanded that all the little children be brought to Him, and they were sat on the ground roundabout Him and He personally with His own hands “took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them” (3 Nephi 17:21).
To touch and to be touched of the Master’s hand is an indescribable gift, and He gave it all. He offered His hands, and His side and His feet. Sweet and humble tears were sanctified in the gift of bathing His feet. He reached out His wounded hands and with them He healed sick bodies and wounded hearts. His tender loving hands held and blessed the little ones, stroking their brows and providing a Savior’s touch and safe guidance never to be forgotten. And then, and perhaps the greatest tender mercy of all, He reached forth with His authoritative hands and shared His power to do the same. “…He touched with his hand the disciples whom He had chosen, one by one, even until He had touched them all,… He gave them power to give the Holy Ghost” (3 Nephi 18:36-37).
With His almighty, most gentle hand He has touched us all. We simply need to search our minds and our hearts for how His hand has touched us and He can heal us as He healed them. He can bless us as He blessed them. He has paid the price and redeemed us with His almighty and most gentle hand. May we, as He has empowered us by His almighty and most gentle hand, extend His comforting touch in bringing tender mercy to all who are or would be His. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.