In Leviticus, one of the main themes was the idea of clean vs unclean. Leviticus 11-15 used to overwhelm me with all of the lists of clean and unclean animals, illnesses, and discharges. For the most part, in this context, being clean or unclean directly related to holiness, and it was often something that was determined by priests. To be unclean meant that you had no access to God. No one could approach God in an unclean state. God is and was holy, so anything that came into His presence also needed to be holy.
In the Old Testament, if you were considered unclean, not only were you separated from God, but you were also separated from other people. You had to live “outside the camp” so you would not defile it. People couldn’t come near you, or they would also become unclean. Touching something unclean made you unclean.
“The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, “Unclean, unclean.” He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp.” – Leviticus 13:45-46
Someone who was unclean was completely isolated under the curse that came with the fall of man.
But Jesus reversed the curse.
Those who were unclean could not go into the presence of God, so God came to them. Before Jesus, anyone who touched someone unclean became defiled. When Jesus showed up on the scene, for the first time, someone could touch the unclean and it was the righteousness that was passed on.
When the woman who had the issue of blood touched even the hem of His garment, she was immediately cleansed. Can you imagine the thoughts that would have gone through the Pharisees’ minds? They knew the scriptures and knew that those who touched someone who was unclean would become unclean.
Yet Jesus touched those who were demon-possessed, those who had seizures, those who were paralyzed, those who were leprous, and even those who were dead. He repeatedly touched people who would have defiled Him according to the Leviticus laws—and instead, He made them clean. The dead became alive, the sick became well, and the unclean became clean because of His holiness.
What a picture of the cross! Jesus washed us from our iniquity and cleansed us from all of our sins. He made us white as snow. We are clean now because of His finished work.
In the Old Testament, God’s people were stuck at the bottom of Mt. Sinai because they couldn’t come close to Him. But now, because we have Jesus’ righteousness, scripture tells us that believers can come boldly before the throne of God.
“Let us, therefore, come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16