Be Clean

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Judges 7-8; Luke 5:1-16

12 Jesus was in one of the towns where there was also a man covered with a skin disease. When he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged, “Lord, if you want, you can make me clean.”

13 Jesus reached out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do want to. Be clean.” Instantly, the skin disease left him. 14 Jesus ordered him not to tell anyone. “Instead,” Jesus said, “go and show yourself to the priest and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses instructed. This will be a testimony to them.” 15 News of him spread even more and huge crowds gathered to listen and to be healed from their illnesses. 16 But Jesus would withdraw to deserted places for prayer. (Luke 5:12-16, Common English Bible)

I can’t begin to tell you why, but I don’t like to get my hands dirty. I don’t mean that in a metaphoric way at all. I, quite literally, do not like to get my hands dirty.

I know I am not alone. Over the past twenty or so years, I have worked quite a few UM ARMY (United Methodist Action Reach-out Ministry by Youth) camps. One of the more popular places around camp was the showers. There quite possibly is nothing that feels better than a nice shower following a good, hard-working day out in the hot sun of East Texas. You come in soaked in sweat and that is only half of the story. Most of the time you are covered with dirt from being down digging in the dirt or covered with paint.

One year I worked a camp in Daingerfield Texas. The first day was really hot. She didn’t have much to say when she came in from her job site. She went in, got her stuff for the showers and left with her work team for the local high school where we showered and otherwise cleaned up. Some 30 or 45 minutes later, she returned. As she walked through our main activity room she said, “Ahhh, I feel like a girl again.”

Such is what we think about when we think of being unclean. Our hands, our feet, or our whole body is dirty and we need to apply a layer of soap and water to get clean.

In the Biblical era, that was not what being unclean meant. Skin diseases, like leprosy, were very common and very contagious. Because of them being contagious, the infected person was an outcast from society and was, by law, when they saw a person coming, was to shout, “Unclean! Unclean!” so the person approaching would know they needed to avoid contact with these folks. I imagine it didn’t do much for one’s ego at all.

Jesus comes along and as he walks through town, this man who has a skin disease said to Jesus, “If you want you can make me clean again.” In studying I have come to an understand there is a difference between being made clean and being healed. Many things, not just an illness, could make a person unclean. Until the priests were able to declare the infected person clean they couldn’t rejoin society.

Jesus, as he almost always did, touched him and made him clean once again. Jesus gave the man back his life. When we take the things that rob us of life as we pray, there is a good chance God will take that away too.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


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