When I was about seven or eight an uncle of mine came to visit. He is the sort of uncle who teaches you rhymes that have slightly naughty endings so you can recite them at inopportune moments. I loved playing football and somehow persuaded my uncle to come into the back garden and kick a football around with me on the lawn.
My uncle told me that good footballers never come off the pitch clean, and indeed the muddier you are, the better you are. I decided that I would be awesome.
I can’t remember exactly what my mother said when her mud-caked came happily back into the house but I don’t think she was impressed with how awesome I was at football. There was mud everywhere. I was covered head to toe and my clothes were filthy. I was sent upstairs to have a bath, my clothes went straight in the washing machine and this may be my imagination as I recall the event but it wouldn’t have surprised me if I heard a mischievous chuckle from my uncle as I went upstairs.
In the bath I was washed clean until I almost sparkled. My mud-stained clothes were washed with one of those ‘whiter than white’ washing powders. By the time the process was finished all of the mud was gone. Not a trace remained.
Our rebellion against God / falling short of his standards / sin is like mud and stains that need to be washed away by a thorough scrubbing process. We can’t do that ourselves, but Jesus’ death is like a washing process that makes us cleaner than we have ever been – whiter than white.
There’s a passage in Revelation 7 where in John’s vision he saw a multitude in white robes in heaven. He asked who they are and was told, “They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Lamb’s blood is not a natural detergent (don’t try it, you’ll ruin your clothes and get a visit from the RSPCA). The image is telling us that we are made clean by Jesus’ death (Jesus is ‘the Lamb who was slain’ in the metaphors of Revelation).
Next time, restoration
Be blessed, be a blessing