“Long ago God spoke many times in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, He has spoken to us through His Son.” Hebrews 1:1-2
It’s always so fun to read two books in one day and see what they have in common with one another and what kinds of links we can find that sew the two of them seamlessly together into one large book – the Bible.
Today I was not disappointed in my search for a link. It came in the first verse of the first chapter of the second book! I couldn’t have missed it if I had tried. Long ago God spoke through prophets, but now, in this new era, He has spoken through Jesus – the Word of God.
The first thing I need to point out to you is that this verse is a pivotal point for my message today. God uses Jesus to convey messages to us; yes in His words, but also in His actions. Jesus is our example of the New Covenant.
So, first things first, my verse from Haggai. (Spoken, I would like to add, through a prophet’s mouth.)
“‘If one of you is carrying some meat from a holy sacrifice in his robes and his robe happens to brush against some bread or stew, wine or olive oil, or any other kind of food, will it also become holy?’ The priests replied, ‘No.’ Then Haggai asked, ‘If someone becomes ceremonially unclean by touching a dead person and then touches any of these foods, will the food be defiled?’ And the priests answered, ‘Yes.'” Haggai 2:12-13
Through this verse we can learn a lot about the transference of holiness. Let’s start with the meat and the foods. The meat is from a holy sacrifice, making it holy, or clean. The foods however, are not anything special, they’re not from a sacrifice or anything like that so they are neutral on the holiness scale. They are neither holy nor profane, clean or unclean. If the robe holding the holy meat touches the food, no transference is made. Still with me? I hope so!
A dead person’s body is considered an unclean thing, anyone who touches it then becomes unclean as well. There is a transference of uncleanness from the body to the person who touched the body. So if that person then touches the neutral food, the food becomes unclean as well. There IS transference in this case.
So in summary, back then, transference only worked from the bottom up not the other way around. The things that were holy didn’t make the neutral or unclean things holy when they touched. It was the things that were unclean that made the neutral and holy things unclean when they touched.
Now. Let’s look to Jesus and how things changed when He came on the scene shall we?
From the very beginning of the Bible leprosy was something that when you got it, your life changed forever. It was a skin eating disease like none other. Someone with leprosy was basically public enemy number one! They were required to wear a special colored coat so that they could be identified from a distance so that people wouldn’t accidentally bump into them. If they were walking anywhere they were required to shout, “Unclean”, as they went so that everyone would know to stay away from them. They were no longer allowed to have ANY physical contact with their family members and were required to live outside the community so that they would keep their disease to themselves. Basically they were treated like a contagious scum of the earth.
Well, in the very beginning of Matthew chapter eight we find a desperate leper at the feet of Jesus:
“Lord,” the man said, “if You are willing, You can heal me and make me clean.” Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” He said, “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared.
Now my friends, how is this situation different from our first verse from Haggai? The two are like night and day! In the best way!!!
Jesus is clean. According to the old laws and traditions (and modern science’s view on germs) to touch a man with leprosy was to contaminate yourself with the disease. And yet what was the FIRST thing that Jesus did to that man who hadn’t been touched by another human hand since he had contracted the disease? Jesus reached out and touched the unclean, making him clean! Jesus’ holiness was transferred to the unclean man!
I know for many of you this might be a concept that isn’t new to you. But take this opportunity to look at it from a new perspective with me. Jesus is clean. Period. And nothing that He touches can change that. And that’s pretty awesome! But take it a step further, Jesus is in you. His healing power is in YOU. His holiness is in YOU. His righteousness is in YOU. His love is in YOU. His grace is in YOU. Is there someone in your life that you treat like public enemy number one? Or maybe not quite that extreme, but maybe you avoid them like the plague (or leprosy)? Maybe it’s time to reach out and touch them today. Perhaps you’ll transfer a little bit of holiness their way… or vice versa. 😉