My Unworthy Soul
I have been so loving this study through Leviticus. I read through the passages regarding the rules and laws for unclean persons this week. Yikes. Rules for if someone was a leper, rules for after you have a baby, rules for bodily discharges (including spitting while considered unclean...!). Specifically, though, while reading through the bodily discharges chapter (Leviticus 15), I was reminded of the woman in the Gospels who had the issue of blood (Matthew 9, Mark 5, Luke 8). As I read through the requirements for cleansing after having a simple menstrual cycle, I was just overwhelmed by the very thought that this woman endured this unclean state for 12 YEARS! Starting in verse 25 of Leviticus 15, we read that if a woman had a discharge of blood besides her regular menstrual cycle, she was considered "unclean" for the duration of that discharge. Her bed was considered unclean, anything she sat on was considered "unclean", and anyone who touched the things she had either sat on or laid on was considered "unclean" also. There were requirements for cleansing if you touched any of that woman's things. Additionally, if the woman's discharge ceased, she would then have to wait 7 days, then, on the eighth day, she would take a sacrifice to the temple and the priest would make atonement for her before the Lord; then, she would be considered "clean". Can you imagine having to take a sacrifice to be cleansed after having your menstrual cycle? Or any hormonal-related discharge as our bodies sometimes do those strange things?! And, to have to then declare that before the priest and have him atone for that?! Yikes. Consider, then, this dear woman in the Gospels who had the issue of blood for 12 years. She could not go and be atoned for her discharge; it kept happening. No one person, doctor, priest, anyone could heal her of this disease she had. She was, therefore, woefully considered unclean.... and everyone knew it.
So, it makes sense, then, that in the press of the crowds around Jesus, that the woman would not want to come up to him in the midst of everyone and ask him to heal her. She was unclean, and therefore, rejected and despised by others because of this state. I imagine she probably hid her face as she moved through the crowds, trying to get to Jesus. (I mean, wouldn't you?!) Here's what is amazing to me though. This woman realized what so many people fail to realize: no amount of good works, no self-aggrandizement or self-righteousness; no amount of wealth or prestige could account for her being justified from her uncleanness. She had nothing to bring to Jesus except her faith. And, faith alone (and the powerful mercy, grace, and love of Jesus) could heal this woman. She simply reached out and touched his garment. She did not even touch him (for fear of making him unclean!) Yet, Jesus, knowing all things, felt his power rush from him in response to this humble touch of faith. And, Jesus (though he already knew what had happened) asked who touched him. Why? Because he wanted the woman to declare the truth of what had just happened to her. She, who had been so dreadfully, blatantly, woefully unclean was NOW CLEAN! Not by anything she or anyone else could do, but only because of what Jesus alone could do for her.
So it is with us. We are dreadfully, blatantly, woefully unclean before our Lord; yet, when we come to him in humble faith, he heals us.
Do you have this faith? Do you regularly remember how woefully unclean you were before Jesus healed you? C. H. Spurgeon spoke in a sermon on this to the great crowds gathered in his church: "what multitudes of professed worshippers of God there are in many places! They seem to throng [and press in] to the Savior, but of all, how few do really touch him so as to derive healing virtue from him. This humble, simple touch of faith is something above and beyond all the pressure of professed zeal and ardor. This touch Christ recognizes at once..."
How simple (yet strong and humble) is your faith? Are you too busy trying to get Jesus to notice your hard work, good deeds, money, appearance, acts of service and worship that you are totally forgetting your worthlessness without him?
I immediately thought of the beautiful hymn, "Beneath the Cross of Jesus" (see link below). In this text, the writer talks about how unworthy we are to come to Jesus, yet beneath his cross, our unworthy souls are won. What a beautiful picture of the sacrifice of our Savior. Reading though the laws and requirements God gave his people has given me a greater recognition of my sin before and unworthiness before God- and, at the same time has made me so incredibly grateful and awed by the willing love of God and Jesus to atone for all my sin! I would challenge you to take some time to read through Leviticus 15 and then the passages in the Gospels about this dear woman. Ask God to reveal to you ways you have been prideful in your position before God. Ask him to restore a humble, simple faith before him- recognizing your unworthiness without him. Worship him in thankfulness and awe. And, in that recognition of your unworthiness, may you be willing to gratefully declare the truth of how Jesus has made you clean!
I leave you all to do some "homework" now! :) (And to make breakfast for my clamoring, hungry, goofy kiddos!)
Link to, "Beneath the Cross of Jesus": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbaHBmxckC8