Washing is an integral part of worship. Most cultures recognise purification rituals of some kind. Even atheists take a bath and wash their Renault’s.
Washing is an admission of dirt, of some kind of uncleanness and expresses our desire to be free from it.
In Luke with have the account of a woman who had been viewing for twelve years. We also have the account of the twice year old girl who had died.
And there came a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue. And falling at Jesus’ feet, he implored him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying… And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. (Luke 8:41-43)
The twelve years reminds us of the 12 tribes of Israel. Like Israel, these accounts are also a reminder that all of our attempts to be made clean are in vain.
Job got this when he said,
“I am accounted wicked, Why then should I toil in vain? If I should wash myself with snow and cleanse my hands with lye, yet You would plunge me into the pit, And my own clothes would abhor me. (Job 9:30)
In the account of the two women we have uncleanness to deal with. The bleed and everything this woman touched for twelve years was a source of uncleanness. Death was also a source of uncleanness. It defiled you and everyone you touched…
…until Jesus came.
Jesus is the one human being in whom there was no uncleanness. This meant that instead of Jesus becoming defiled when touched by an unclean woman, or when He takes the hand of a dead girl, they become clean.
Unlike our idols who all need polishing and an annual bath, Jesus doesn’t need cleaning: He is clean. He doesn’t become defiled by your company: In His company you are made clean.
It’s easy to become faint-hearted when, having told we have been washed, we see all the wrinkles that still need to be ironed out. But this is our sanctification and God delights to do the ironing.
For He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why He is not ashamed to call them brothers (Hebrews 2:11)
Jesus does not cross the street when He sees you coming. He smiles. He is not embarrassed by us, but publicly joins with us and calls us brothers.
Do you have a friend like this? One who will not deny you or distance himself from you because of all the wrinkles (real or imagined)? Are you a friend to all those still-wrinkly-yet-walking-with-Christ brothers and sisters?
When Paul said that there was now nothing that could separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:39), what he meant to say was, there is now nothing that can separate us from love of God. Nothing.
Not because of the things we have done, but because Jesus had made us clean.
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