Advent 9 - Wash Behind Your Ears!

DAY 9 - Wash Behind Your Ears!
John 13:3-11 

Did your parents ever tell you, “Wash behind your ears!” Dirt mysteriously works its way into every nook and cranny of the human body. Kids are understandably ignorant of this. Some would-be Pigpens don’t mind all that much. To top it all off, kids must learn how to thoroughly wash.

Maturity brings awareness. We learn as adults the importance of cleaning our bodies. We look in the mirror to assess ourselves and see what needs changed. Next we wash up - take a shower and scrub our face. We’re purifying our bodies.

In like manner, God intends us to be spiritually clean. God wants to makes us holy. God wants our attitudes, desires, and habits to be free of the self-centeredness that poisons our relationship with God and one another. Our inner selves need bathed just as much as our bodies.

John the Baptist offered baptism, a physical washing symbolizing the turn from sin and readiness for God. Jesus himself received and endorsed baptism as mandatory for all his followers. For us, baptism shows outside what the Holy Spirit does inside: he washes away our sins. Only Jesus can wash away our sins. That’s why John says, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Jesus washes away the guilt of past sin. Over time, he even washes away sin’s power, so that we want sin less and actually sin less.

But we fall down and get dirty again, even after baptism. Christians still sin! I know, you’re shocked. We need to clean up. We need our attitudes, desires, and habits purified.

We don’t need to be baptized again. Unlike the Lord’s Supper, baptism is “one and one.” We just need a little scrubbing up. In John 13, Jesus teaches his disciples that he and he alone can spiritually purify us. He also reminds us that we pick up some dirt along the way and need it washed off again. In other words, we need to keep looking in the mirror. Self-examination under the eye of Jesus should be a daily habit. We then repent - turn from, turn to - as the Lord reveals smudges and stains we’ve missed. We can be clean, we can be changed, we can be better with God’s help. That’s good news!

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “no desire” and 10 being “max desire,” how intense is you desire to be holy (spiritually pure)?

Merciful God, you sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation. Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. AMEN.

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