by Tad Lindley
Have you ever had the honey bucket splash on you when you were dumping it? Did you ever have a clean pour and then at the very last moment a drop of honey bucket came and hit you right on the lip?
A brand new suit of clothes
Imagine that you had a brand new set of clothes made from bright white fabric. In your mind, dress yourself in those bright white clothes. Now grab a full honey bucket and carry it out the door and down the steps. It’s slippery out, and you start to go down, but you regain your balance. Unfortunately some of the honeybucket sloshes over the rim and onto your brand new bright white clothing. Let me ask you this: Will the honey bucket make the clean clothes dirty, or will the clean clothes make the unclean honey bucket contents clean?
The power of dirt
There is a principle that dirty things make clean things dirty. When something clean comes into contact with something unclean, the dirt always wins. You will never drive a freshly washed truck through a mud puddle and see the mud puddle turn into crystal clear drinking water. What you will end up with is muddy water and a muddy truck. When you drop a slice of fresh steaming bread slathered with butter onto the unclean floor, guess what, the bread comes up with all kinds of dirt stuck in the butter and the floor stays dirty. The same applies to sickness. If a nurse uses the same needle on 2 patients, one with HIV and one perfectly healthy, the fact that the needle has the blood of a healthy person on it will not heal the infected person, but the infected blood, instead will make the healthy person sick.
The Old Testament is full of commandments concerning clean and unclean things. For instance, if you were to touch a person who had a sore oozing pus, you would be required to wash your clothes and be purified and be considered unclean until evening (Leviticus 15:11). If you touched a body or a human bone or a grave, you would be unclean for a week (Numbers 19:16). People with leprosy, a contagious skin disease, were considered the most unclean of the unclean in Bible days. To touch such a person would be tantamount to sharing needles with a hepatitis patient. The risk of infection was tremendous. Therefore, lepers were outcasts. They lived by begging and had no physical contact with anyone except for other lepers. Absolutely nobody in their right mind would touch a leper, because unclean things always contaminate clean things.
Here comes the leper
When Jesus was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him, and behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, “Lord if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” (Matthew 8:1-2) As you envision this you need to see the leper on his approach to Jesus calling out, “Unclean, unclean.” And you should realize that as he approached Jesus, the “clean” people would have parted at his approach. Then when the leper reached a location close enough to Jesus to speak to him, but not close enough to infect him, he told Jesus, “If you will it, you can make me clean.”
He actually touched him!
Then to the complete shock and disgust of all those present, Jesus put forth his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be thou clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. (Matthew 8:3) As Jesus reached forth his hand, there would have been an audible gasp as hundreds of people witnessed in horror, the clean man Jesus, touching the most unclean thing on the planet, a leper. They assumed that the unclean would blemish the clean. That this sickness would go out from the leper’s body into Jesus’ body. What they did not realize is that Jesus is God. That when God touched the unclean, he does not get dirty. What the great multitude witnessed was in fact the clean power of God flowing into that stinking ragged body of the leper. The clean casting out the unclean, and that man was restored from his leprous condition!
Who else would Jesus touch?
The power in this for me is the fact that Jesus is not disgusted by the unclean. Sure, sin disgusts him, but unclean people do not disgust him. We might think that we have sunk too low for God to want to touch our life. Look at us, we have committed abortion, some of us have already drunk, gambled, or smoked away our children’s PFDs, others look good on the outside but live in a world of bitterness, unable to forgive. Still others have secret sin, living one way in Anchorage and another way at home. Some are predators, others are struggling with pornography. I could go on and on about all the things that we do that are gross to God, and yet he still loves us. He is still willing to touch us, when compared to his cleanness, we are all filthy. All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags… (Isaiah 64:6)
The mighty power of God is this, that he came and dwelt among the honey bucket of humanity and the sinfulness of this world. He allowed himself to be humiliated, spit upon, whipped to shred, and nailed up naked. He did this so that as many as would come to him might be saved. So if you find yourself deeply stained with sin, unclean from the mistakes of your past, spiritually untouchable, why don’t you do what this leper did? Read it again, he came to Jesus and worshipped him, and he asked Jesus to take the uncleanness from him. And Jesus touched him!
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.