When was the last time you got really dirty (like the water in the shower was a different colour?)
I once went for a run and somehow accidentally I managed to stumble across a course that had been prepared for a tough mudder run (where people deliberately run through mud – crazy). It was along a beach and to make things a bit more complicated, the tide was further in than I had hoped and it was also getting dark. Falling knee deep into mud was less fun than it sounds (and thankfully I managed to get home and cleaned up before my Dad saw anything other than a pair of muddy trainers on his clean carpet!)
That was really a case where my reasonably clean legs and feet were totally messed up by something on the outside. That was the sort of thing that the Pharisees and religious leaders were concerned about. They didn’t want to be polluted by things on the outside. So they devised complex rituals to ensure that people were clean and avoided anything that might make them unclean. The trouble is, often the “unclean” people were those who needed others to help them the most. But also, washing might get the mud and seaweed off, but it doesn’t touch the things that are inside us that also make us dirty – and those things are really far more serious.
Jesus points out that it is what comes out of us – the words we say, the things that we think and the things we do that really make us unclean. A bit of mud isn’t going to hurt anyone, but words can be very destructive. We need more than a bath to clean us up – we need someone to go on our behalf and pay for the things we’ve done. In short, we need Jesus to make us clean.
Lord God, thank you that you have provided us with a solution in Jesus. Help us to remain clean, to keep our hearts pure and worship you with all our being. Amen.
As you wash today (hopefully at least once), remember that Jesus has made you fully clean, once and for all.