Last year, work began on a new subdivision right around the corner from my house. Bulldozers and graders and other pieces of heavy equipment were out there moving dirt around, carving out new streets, and preparing the lots for the construction of new homes. On weekends, when the workers are off and all the heavy equipment is idle, I’d go over there to look around and check things out. On one occasion, I was over there walking around with my five year old granddaughter (we were actually walking in a field next to the construction site) when we came to an area of high ground that overlooked an entire section of the subdivision. That moment presented me with a teaching opportunity to show her how God sees the entire world, and to teach her that He sees everything all at one time from His home in Heaven. It seemed like such a good way to explain God’s eternal presence to a five year old.
She pointed to an area that was right smack in the middle of where the bulldozers and graders had been smoothing out dirt for a new street and she said to me, “Let’s go look over there.” I told her there was nothing to see over there, that there was nothing down there but dirt. “C’mon, let’s go look.” she insisted. And as grandfathers do, I said “Okay.” and off we went. We walked about thirty or forty feet when something shiny caught my attention down on the ground. I kicked the dirt off of it to see what it was and to my surprise, it was a pair of Leatherman pliers. If you don’t know what Leathermans are, they’re needle nose pliers that have an assortment of blades and other tools that fold up in the handle, kind of like a Swiss Army knife. They looked like they’d been run over by a bulldozer, and probably had been. They were packed full of mud and dirt and the handle was bent up. But with some cleaning and a little tweaking on the metal handle, I figured they’d be serviceable.
When I bent down to pick up the pliers, it occurred to me that God had presented another one of those teaching opportunities. I explained to my granddaughter Jesus was born and came to the earth to pick us up out of the dirt and clean us up, just like I picked up those pliers and planned on cleaning them up. She’s five years old, so I don’t know how much of that she understood. But isn’t that what God did? Did He not come down to earth in flesh just so He could reach down and pick us up out of the dirt we call sin?
When God became flesh, our relationship with Him became much more personal. One way that’s illustrated in the Bible is through the people Jesus healed. Whenever Jesus healed someone, He usually chose to touch that person physically, even though He had the power to heal from afar as He did on many occasions. But most of the time, He reached out and touched people. In the eighth chapter of Matthew for example, a leper knelt before Jesus and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” And Jesus reached out and touched him and said, “I am willing. Be healed!” And the leprosy left him instantly.
On another occasion, Jesus went to Peter’s house where Peter’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. The scripture says when Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her immediately. There was the time when a synagogue leader’s daughter died: Jesus took the little girl by her hand and she stood up! He touched blind men’s eyes and their eyes were opened. Jesus could have healed every one of them with His word alone and sometimes He did the when occasion warranted. But it was much more personal when He reached out and put His hands on them, when they were touched by the hands of God.
Even though it was certainly an important part of His ministry during His time here on earth, Jesus didn’t come down to earth just to heal a few broken bodies. He came to heal broken spirits. As personal as it was for Jesus to touch someone and heal them, I think it’s far more personal when a repentant sinner is restored by the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. Think about it: God offers us salvation through the death of His son on the cross! How can it get more personal than that?
Jesus touched broken bodies and healed them. He still touches people’s lives today. He’s touched the hearts of all those who have called on His name and have been saved. Because of His great love, Jesus had to become flesh, so He could reach down and pull us out of the dirt.