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February 21, Day #52 – No Laughing Matter

All of today’s readings focus on our complete need for personal and spiritual purity as a prerequisite condition to enter into and stand in God’s presence. Properly, we cannot truly comprehend the holiness of God, nor do we realize how unholy (i.e., sinful and impure) we are. God dwells in inapproachable light which hides Him from us as if it were a thick darkness to us. He is holy, “high and exalted” and lifted up (cf., Isaiah 6:1), but we are “ruined – a people of unclean lips” (cf., Isaiah 6:5). The point of our passages for today is that we are woefully ignorant of the great gulf and distance that exists between us and our Creator. By virtue of His transcendent holiness, God is wholly other than (i.e., different from) what we are. Apart from the special revelation of Scripture, it would be impossible for us to understand this truth. God is holy, pure, ineffable, and so transcendent as to be completely unknowable to mankind. Nevertheless, by His sovereign wisdom, love, mercy, and grace, God has ordained and set in motion an eternal plan that imminently unveils His transcendence to make Himself known to us and to impute to us His purity through His Son.

In Exodus, we have been reading about some of the means through which God’s plan becomes operational – specifically, the law, the tabernacle, the ark, the table, etc. In Exodus 27-28, we read about the altar of burnt offering, the tabernacle courtyard, oil for the lampstand, and the priestly garments. Each of these elements is an object lesson that pointed the Israelites and us to the Person and work of Jesus Christ – the One through Whom God makes Himself known to mankind. The special priestly attire was to give Aaron and his sons “dignity and honor” (vs 2). Because God is holy, we may not approach Him in an unworthy or undignified manner. God Himself has invested man with dignity that He never gave any other creature. Our dignity does not come from clothing, but clothing is a covering that “atones” for the high dignity we forfeited due to our sin in the fall. A mediator (i.e., a priest) between God and man must present himself in a dignified manner. Thus, clothing - which God is concerned about and He Himself first provided - is symbolic of how we are to approach our holy Creator. Shabby clothing on anyone reflects a shabby heart. We know this innately - which is why people in every culture “dress up” for special occasions. We cover our indignity with the dignity of dress, but if our hearts are not pure, our own dressed-up dignity is no more than “filthy rags” on a careless bum (cf., Isaiah 64:6).

Psalm 24, another Psalm of David, reminds us to recognize our Creator and the Owner of the earth. We would do well to remember that the world and its goods do not belong to us – everything belongs to God. We are merely stewards with the responsibility to care for His property. If we trust in Him (rather than in an idol or a false god), we may “stand in His holy place” and “receive His blessing” (verses 3-5). From this, we see that believing in Jesus Christ is both a gift and a privilege.

In Mark 5:21 - Mark 6:6, we see Jesus raising the little, 12-year-old dead daughter of Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue. As Jesus was going to his house, a crowd followed, and a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years “touched His cloak” in the expectant faith that she would be “free from her suffering” (verse 29). However, "under the care of many doctors," and after spending "all she had” to get treatment, she "grew worse instead of better” (verses 25-34). Healing “power had gone out from” Jesus (verse 30), so He wanted to express His compassion on her (cf., verse 34). Arriving later at Jairus’ house, Jesus said that the little girl was “asleep” for which He was ridiculed and laughed at. Nevertheless, He raised up the girl alive. Jesus acted with such authority and pure goodness that suffering people knew they could trust Him to help them. Clearly, the hypocritical teachers of the law and the other religious leaders from every party were completely ineffective and could not be trusted. Jesus was compassionate and fully trustworthy - sincere in His words and actions - so people were naturally drawn to Him and amazed by all He did. Mocking and laughing at the Son of God - Who brought people back from the dead - is no laughing matter.

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