Summary: When you hear cross-contamination, it's not referring to something good. But today I'd like to turn that around. Normally we would do our best to avoid cross-contamination, but when it pertains to the cross of Christ, it's best to encourage cross-contamination.
CROSS-CONTAMINATION (part one)
By definition, cross-contamination is the process by which bacteria or other microorganisms are unintentionally transferred from one substance or object to another, with harmful effect. You might typically hear this in reference to transferring bacteria between raw and cooked food. This can also happen when someone with bacteria on their hands touches food and then someone else comes along and takes the piece of food touched by the contaminated person.
You can do your best to avoid cross-contamination by washing counters, correctly storing uncooked food and thorough hand-washing after touching uncooked food or after using the bathroom. Cross-contamination has come up often since the pandemic started. Preventative measures include frequent hand-washing, as well as not touching your face; especially after touching other surfaces like door knobs, handrails or other publically used items.
When you hear cross-contamination, it's not referring to something good. But today I'd like to turn that around. Normally we would do our best to avoid cross-contamination, but when it pertains to the cross of Christ, it's best to encourage cross-contamination. As typical cross-contamination is done unintentionally, we would intentionally cross-contaminate. As normal cross-contamination has harmful effects, spiritual cross-contamination has positive effects. What can we do to help cross-contaminate others?
1) Understand the problem.
The reason the CDC puts out material about the awareness of cross-contamination is because they realize the damaging effects of it. They know the spread of bacterial illnesses and diseases would come to a halt if certain measures were taken by the population at large. So they put out public service announcements, publish articles, print flyers, whatever will help to get the message out that this is serious and needs our attention.
Well, it works the same in the spiritual realm. The first thing we need to understand in order to be motivated to cross-contaminate is realizing that we are all contaminated by sin. The spiritual bacteria of sin has infected 100% of the population. No one is exempt from contracting this virus. Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned and fall short of God's glory. So, there needs to be a remedy for our contamination problem.
In the NIV, the only chapter the words contaminated or contamination are found is Lev. 13. This is where God gave instructions to the Isrealites for how to deal with contaminated articles. In chapter 14, he follows that up by addressing people with infectious diseases. You could say chapter 13 deals with contaminated things and chapter 14 deals with contaminated people.
It's kind of a lengthy passage so I won't go through it but there's an interesting correlation between the literal and spiritual remedy. If a person had an infectious disease they were quarantined outside the camp (obviously we know about that with covid-19). When Jesus suffered for our sins, he was crucified outside the city (camp).
After one week they were examined and if they were ok, they needed to go through a cleansing process in order to be ceremonially clean. Disease was a symbol of sin and it caused a person to be ceremonially unclean. Likewise, because of our sin we are unclean. We need to go through a cleansing process too.
When an Israelite was going through the process, they needed to perform a ritual. Two birds were used, one was killed and the other set free. Before the live bird was set free, scarlet thread, hyssop and the live bird were dipped into the blood of the dead bird and the person was sprinkled seven times. Then, the live bird was released into the open field.
Seven was a number synonymous with completion and perfection. Hence, Jesus' blood of perfection cleanses us; making us complete and whole. The use of hyssop was common for cleansing and purification ceremonies. In fact, David made a correlation with spiritual cleansing in Psalm 51:7, "Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow."
One of the words that is synonymous with contaminated is dirty. That's what we were in our sin-dirty. We were contaminated; we were banished outside the camp. But Jesus came and died; he became my contamination so I could be cleansed. Jesus is the bird that died and I am the bird that was set free.
After the diseased person went through this, he was allowed into the camp but had to stay outside his tent for seven days. On the eighth day, he needed to bring sacrificial lambs to the priest. Two lambs and one ewe lamb for the sin, guilt and burnt offerings. These lambs needed to be without defect; unblemished.
But the cute little one-year-old ewe lamb was the one reserved for the sin offering. And there you have the contrast-the most precious creature sacrificed for the most despicable act. That's Jesus. He is the most precious sacrificial lamb who gave his life for our ugly and repulsive sin-removing our guilt and setting us free. The lamb without blemish or defect became stained with sin so I could be washed clean and come out whiter than snow.