A 40 Day Journey to Becoming Like the One We Follow
Day 19: Holiness (John 17:17-19)
Do you have special plates that only get used on the rarest of occasions, maybe once or twice a year? Yeah, we do, too. There are just some moments when you want to use the special plates. They’re fancier, shinier, more decorative, and more easily broken. They are set aside in a cabinet to remain undisturbed until the next special occasion.
Or maybe you’ve had to get a very specialized tool for a project. It amazes me how many tools are out there that are made for one specific task. There’s an entire Subreddit devoted to Specialized Tools. It’s both crazy and genius what people come up with.
To be holy is to be set apart, or categorically different/other. God is holy, for there is no one or nothing like him. Jesus is holy because there was not and never will be anyone like him – the perfect Son of God, full of grace and truth.
The Jews had two categories for people and things – holy/sacred and common/profane. The Sabbath was a holy/sacred day. Monday was common. A priest was holy. A baker was common. The Temple was holy. A blacksmith shop was common. And that which was holy could easily be corrupted by something common or “unclean.” You can read all about that in Leviticus.
There was a process by which things could be made clean again, but almost never do you read about someone or something unclean being made holy by that which is holy. A white cloth may be stained, but a white cloth cannot remove stains from something else without becoming stained itself. Right?
But then Jesus comes along. He touches a man with leprosy and makes him whole and clean again. He is touched by a woman with a bleeding issue and heals her infirmity. He takes a dead girl by the hand and brings her to life.
Jesus is holy, but his holiness is not corrupted. His holiness spills out over all that is common/profane/unclean and makes everything it touches holy once again. That includes people. His disciples were a bunch of rough and tumble guys – fishermen, fighters, tax collectors, and more. These most common of dudes become completely uncommon, dare I say holy, by being with Jesus. His final prayer for them is that they may be sanctified (made holy/sacred) by God’s word.
Paul calls us “saints” – holy ones – and that is what we are if we have been washed in Jesus’ blood, made clean by the waters of baptism, and raised to a new, holy, sanctified life.
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