The Transfer of Impurity
So my church has us reading through the Bible in 2020 and we’re using the ReadScripture app, and incorporated into the Bible reading plan are videos created by The Bible Project. I was watching one of these videos this morning and in it the narrator talks about how Leviticus lays out procedures for becoming ritually pure, so the people can be in the presence of God without dying in close proximity to His power. In that part of the Old Testament people are warned not to touch lepers, and bleeding women, and dead people, and other ritually impure things because touching something impure will cause the impurity to transfer to the one who is doing the touching.
But, then we get to the story of Isaiah and the burning coal in Isaiah chapter 6. In this story Isaiah has a vision of God and the seraphim. In his vision, Isaiah is sure he will die in the presence of God because of his impurity.
He says, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips . . .”
Then one of the seraphim flies to Isaiah and touches this pure hot burning coal to Isaiah, to his lips. And just the opposite happens. Instead of the impurity of Isaiah transferring to the coal, the purity from the coal transfers to Isaiah.
And the seraphim says, “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin is atoned for.”
We also see this reversed transfer of impurity in Ezekiel chapter 47 when water issues from God’s holy temple and gives life and goodness to every impure thing it touches.
The Meaning of Reversed Transfer
We don’t really understand what the reversed transfer means until Jesus arrives on the scene. Then we see that the coal and the water from the temple, point to the Messiah. Because when Jesus walked the earth, much to the consternation of the Pharisees of his day, Jesus touched the impure and the unclean. And when he did, impurity didn’t transfer to Jesus, but rather, Jesus’ purity life and goodness transferred to the leper, and the bleeding woman, and the dead, like the holy coal from Isaiah’s vision. And like the water flowing from God’s temple in Ezekiel’s vision.
Our Part in Jesus’ Story
At one point in the video the narrator says,
“Jesus claimed that he was the human embodiment of God’s own holiness. And that he and his followers were now God’s temple. So that through them, God’s holy presence would go out into the world and bring life and healing and hope. So this is why Jesus described his followers as having streams of living water flowing out of them.”
That part of the video struck me because that’s the part where you and I come into the story. You and I are to be filled with the Holy Spirit and then Jesus desires for us to go out into the world and bring life and healing and hope.
Jesus desires for you and me to go out into the world,
And love like Jesus.
Coming in January of 2020:
Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus)
Love Like Jesus begins with the story of how after a life of regular church attendance and Bible study, Bennett was challenged by a pastor to study Jesus. That led to an obsessive seven year deep dive. After pouring over Jesus’ every interaction with another human being, he realized he was doing a much better job of studying Jesus’ words than he was following Jesus’ words and example. The honest and fearless revelations of Bennett’s own moral failures affirm he wrote this book for himself as much as for others.
Love Like Jesus examines a variety of stories, examples, and research, including:
- Specific examples of how Jesus communicated God’s love to others.
- How Jesus demonstrated all five of Gary Chapman’s love languages (and how you can too).
- The story of how Billy Graham extended Christ’s extraordinary love and grace toward a man who misrepresented Jesus to millions.
- How to respond to critics the way Jesus did.
- How to love unlovable people the way Jesus did.
- How to survive a life of loving like Jesus (or how not to become a Christian doormat).
- How Jesus didn’t love everyone the same (and why you shouldn’t either).
- How Jesus guarded his heart by taking care of himself–he even napped–and why you should do the same.
- How Jesus loved his betrayer Judas, even to the very end.
With genuine unfiltered honesty, Love Like Jesus, shows you how to live a life according to God’s definition of success: A life of loving God well, and loving the people around you well too.
A life of loving like Jesus.
(Kindle, hardcover, and paperback are scheduled to come out in 2020.)