Thursday, September 3, 2009

He Laid His Hands Upon Them & Healed Them

I was just reading through Leviticus this summer, after attending a Michael Card concert, in which he sang his way through the Bible but apologized for skipping Leviticus because he just hadn't found a way to sing about the Law. Of course the first thing I did was go home & write a song from Leviticus—two songs, in fact.

One of the interesting things about the Law is the idea of cleanness & uncleanness. We read this as a symbol of sin, which is fine, as long as you're not reading Leviticus too closely because a closer read leaves you indignant. How is it fair that someone born lame or blind cannot approach God? How is it fair that women are unclean after giving birth or during their menstruation every month? How is a natural state the equivalent of sin, & how can we be judged for that?

I imagine a crowd of people, trying to please the Lord, reaching up to Him, and He says, Sit down if you are wounded. Sit down if you are blind. Sit down if you're a woman, if you have buried the dead, if you have any defect at all. Sit down if you have touched anyone who's wounded, etc. Sit down if you've touched things touched by someone who's unclean.

The point isn't that you can try to be the one man left standing holy before the Lord, if you can just dodge all these bullets. The point is that you can't stand. The point is that none of us are clean. He spends a whole book of the Bible trying to convince us that our righteousness is like filthy rags. Because the point of the Law is to point us to a Savior.

Instead, though, people are pushed away. Lepers live outside the city, and they're forced to cry out, "UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!" if anyone approaches. Women became second-class citizens. And men hoped that their bodies would stay whole, even as they knew their hearts were dark.

Then came a man who, by healing the sick, made them CLEAN. And as He healed them, He told them, "Your sins are forgiven." I'd forgotten that being sick in that society would make you untouchable, would keep you from the synagogue, would make you the subject of judgmental whispers and dirty looks.

But Jesus did something else. When He healed people, He touched them. I had never realized what a violation of custom that would have been. He took the sins of the world upon Himself on the cross, but He was taking our sins upon Himself each time He healed people, too.

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