Sunday, November 2, 2014


David and Daniel have been learning some English opposite words like



This morning as we were watching the Children’s version of the Jesus film, I was especially struck by two scenes. When the sinful woman arrives, uninvited, at Simon’s house, and as her repentant tears fall freely onto Jesus’ feet, she dries them with her loose hair and kisses them. The religious leaders are aghast at this very unexpected and disgraceful act. How could Jesus allow that kind of woman to do such a thing?

When the beaten man lies helpless in the road and the religious leaders walk clear around him and continue on their way. Unbothered. Then a Samaritan stops, bandages the broken man’s wounds, and mercifully takes him to a safe place where he can recover.

Jesus and the Samaritan allowed themselves to get dirty. To enter into another’s sin/brokenness/pain. The religious leaders were too clean in their own eyes to defile themselves by contact with a sinful woman or with a beaten and bloody man who might already be dead.

Am I willing to get dirty or do I think I’m too clean?

Jesus was compassionate toward those who recognized their need for Him—the lepers, the beggars, the crippled, the dirty “sinners;” and he spoke harshly to the religious leaders about their “cleanness.”

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” (Matthew 23:27-28)

As I was walking by the mosque across the street from us today, I remembered when our family first took a tour there with Charly’s PhD professor soon after we moved to Lanzhou 3 ½ years ago. I reflected on what God taught me about Clean Hands and a Pure Heart.

We can clean our hands, but only Jesus can clean our hearts.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

As I entered our apartment building, the trash man was shoveling a huge pile of trash from our trash chute into his large wheelbarrow. And I thought about what a dirty job he has. A dirty job to make others’ lives more clean.

Like Jesus. Who willingly took all of our dirty sin on Himself as He hung on the cross. Broken and beaten at the hands of sinful men. Pleading with His Father to forgive them, for they knew not what they were doing. He became dirty with our sin so that we might be made clean in His righteousness.

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