The Apostle Paul: Touched by God

Gary Chapman
header for The Apostle Paul: Touched by God

The language of physical touch demonstrated by Jesus and His followers did not end with a physical healing. The physical miracle was to validate Jesus’ claims and convince people to respond to His love—to establish an eternal spiritual relationship with God. This is evidenced by what Peter said after the crippled man was healed. He urged his listeners, “Repent . . . and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything” (Acts 3:18-21).

Peter was calling them to respond to the love of God. The touch of God—which brought healing to the blind, caused crippled men to walk, and delivered Nicholas from drug addiction—is always for the purpose of helping people make the God connection.

It has always been true that some people are skeptical when others claim to be “touched by God.” But the greatest skeptics become the greatest believers when they personally experience God’s touch. Saul of Tarsus is perhaps the best example. He was a first-century zealot intent on stamping out what he considered to be a heretical sect (Christianity) that claimed Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah.

Saul was on his way to the town of Damascus with legal papers to arrest and return to Jerusalem anyone who was teaching this heresy. But as he neared Damascus, a bright light from heaven flashed around him. The dazed zealot fell to the ground. The book of Acts describes what happened next in Acts 9:4-9:

[He] heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus.

For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

Saul had been touched by God. Three days later God sent a man named Ananias to the house where Saul was staying. Significantly, Ananias placed his hands on Saul. Then he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Something like scales immediately fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. Saul got up, was baptized, and got something to eat (Acts 9:17-19).

He spent several days with the believers in Damascus and soon began to preach that Jesus is the Son of God. All who heard him were astonished not only at his message but also at the complete change he had undergone (see Acts 9:20-22).

Saul was never the same. He would soon become known as the apostle Paul as he spent the rest of his life seeking to tell Jews and Gentiles about Jesus. He would be beaten, imprisoned, and often threatened by death, but nothing dampened the spirit of this man who had been touched by God.

Since the first century, thousands of men and women have been touched by God. They, in turn, have touched others as representatives of Christ. They work in hospitals, giving baths and wiping fevered brows. They are in rescue missions, kneeling beside the homeless with an arm draped around the shoulder of a needy person. They serve as “greeters” in their churches to smile, extend a hand, and give an affirming pat on the back as people enter the house of worship. They are channels of God’s love, speaking fluently the love language of physical touch.

For Further Reading:

God Speaks Your Love Language

by Gary Chapman

Feel God’s love more personally. Do you realize that the God of the universe speaks your love language, and your expressions of love for...

book cover for God Speaks Your Love Language