During Holy Week, we were reminded of just how much good news there is in the gospel. There is so much for each of us and all of us to appreciate and apply. In fact, each section of that blog article might be worth another look for each of us in some way. The good news of Jesus is like a diamond that sparkles in the light from different angles. Here is one angle to remember:
Jesus shed His blood to cleans us from the stain of sin (1 John 1:9). This is a mystery, especially to our modern ears. But, blood that signifies life in connection with God is necessary for such this inside and out cleansing (Leviticus 16:30, 17:11), since sin leads to death (Romans 6:23). Scripture connects cleansing and healing (Matthew 8:3) as well as Christ’s wounds with healing (Isaiah 53:5). All this to say, to feel stained, unclean, demeaned is painful! This can be because of our own sin, but it is often because of the sins of others against us. It is a tremendous grace that Christ does not cleanse sins lightly, but he does so with His own wounding and bleeding. He touches us in His own woundedness like no one else can with healing. Surely, this Wounded Healer means it when He says, “You are clean!” Let His nail-pierced hands cleanse where no one else can reach.
Jeff Vanderstelt in Gospel Fluency provocatively says that we are all “unbelievers” in the sense that practically we might not experience and live out all that we might profess to believe. In a sense, we Christians are still learning and growing to believe the very gospel we began this journey of following Jesus with (Romans 16:24-26; 2 Corinthians 9:12-14; Galatians 2:14; Colossians 1:21-23). Similarly, Seamands & Funk in Healing for Damaged Emotions say that there are inner parts of us that still need to be evangelized by the good news of Jesus—parts of us that have not yet fully embraced Christ in one way or another.
Take a moment with that image. Picture you are hidden in a dark corner of your own heart. You hear the sandaled and love-scarred feet of Jesus walking about and gently calling, “Loved one, you don’t have to fear. Please, come out and meet with me.”
You believe Jesus is both Christ and Lord and that He died and was raised for the forgiveness of sins. In fact, those words are just about direct quotes from the Bible itself (Matthew 26:28; Acts 2:36). And yet, what if Jesus saw this dark corner? What is Jesus saw me hiding here in these shadows? What would He say? What would He do? What would be the look on His holy face?
Do you see the issue here? It is not mainly that Jesus has released you from the guilt of your sins. You believe and receive that. The issue is that if Jesus saw and really looked upon you—all of you—the good, bad, and the ugly or worse, He would not want you. He would reject you. He would trash you the way that yourself and others have trashed you.
Is that how Jesus reacts to shadowy demons, dark corners, the sick, the dirty?
Or, does Jesus respond compassionately and redemptively?
He loves by saying,
“I am more than willing to meet you here; be clean.”
“Let me see that wound more closely. Just a touch and it will be healed. Will you let me?”
“Let’s bring light in here. Let’s see all this for what it is, and see how love will make a difference.” “Let me clear out the injustice—the “us” and “them”—that is hanging you up here.”
“These dark voices and shifting shadows don’t rule. I do. They flee at my command.”
(Matthew 4:23; Mark 5; Luke 5:12-14, 19:45-46; Acts 15:8-9; John 4:1-42; 1John 1:7)
One thing I really want you to notice is that this is the good news of Jesus for the afflictions and sins that affect us. This is not mainly about how we have sinned. It is how the effects of sin hurt and stain us. Creation has fallen in sin, so we are sick and afflicted. People are fallen in sin, so they hurt us and defile us through no fault of our own.
Jesus does not just come to release us from all the ways we have sinned and fallen short.
Jesus comes to free us from all the ways we have been sinned against.
“You are clean!” Let His nail-pierced hands cleanse where no one else can reach.
A final word from Seamands & Funk, Healing for Damaged Emotions (p.62):
“Our Wounded Healer understands. He knows what it is to be struck on the head, to be slapped in the face. He is touched with the feelings, the feelings that arise in you from the hurt. He feels the problems that touch you. He wants to heal. He wants to know that He is not angry with you about your feelings. He understands.”
Open up about this in honest prayer with the Lord. Open up about this with a trusted friend. Open up about this with a wise Christian counselor and/or pastor. Christ will meet you, let the light in, heal you, and cleanse you. He knows. He cares. He is able.