“Everyone in the crowd reached out to touch him because power came forth from him and healed them all" (Luke 6:19).
When we see how much trouble Jesus had with his disciples, we might wonder why he didn't go it alone. They were slow to understand his mission, fought among themselves and, in the end, abandoned and betrayed him. Jesus could have delivered his message and worked miracles so much more efficiently and directly if he had not needed to stop to explain and persuade others.
But it seems clear that to transform the world Jesus had first to create a community to model the faith and purpose he was preaching. He surrounds himself with disciples who must themselves be transformed. From them, he selects the Twelve, ordinary men with obvious human weaknesses and faults. He welcomes the crowds who reach out to touch him. God's power to heal and forgive flows from Jesus in an ever-widening circle of graciousness and love, like leaven in dough, raising everyone to a new kind of life.
One of the great temptations of modern individualism is to pull away from other people, to find personal space and purpose free of the mess of human obligations. Jesus instead immerses himself in the human condition and in the plight of others, especially those most encumbered by suffering and sin. His mission was to save everyone, not just himself. So, as Jesus approached the cross, he was, by choice, carrying all of us through sin and death to new life.
We rejoice to have his example and encouragement in our own human journeys. We go to God with him and with one another. There is no other way to reach out to touch the source of grace and the path to eternity Jesus offers us.