Monday, February 21, 2011

February 21- Bundles of Depravity

February 21, 2011

Scripture Readings:
Leviticus 11:1-12:8; Mark 5:21-43;
Psalm 38:1-22; Proverbs 10:8-9

A baby is God's opinion that life should go on. 
~Carl Sandburg

Leviticus 11:1-12:8

When I first moved to St. Louis back in the 1980's I found a church with a wonderful pastor named David Winecoff.  David was young, intelligent and outspoken.  I learned a lot from him in just a short amount of time.  One lesson in particular sticks out in my mind.  As the father of five young children, David used to remind the congregation that we are born sinners.  Never one to sugar-coat an idea, David would call his own babies "little bundles of depravity."  Wow.  This was so opposite of how I had grown up thinking of  "innocent" babies.  I never forgot that image or the message behind it.

Today the laws of Moses switch from focusing on the priests to focusing on the people.  We will get dietary laws and laws for mothers who have just had children.  In each case, we will see that David Winecoff had it right.  God sets these rules to remind us that we are each "little bundles of depravity."

You may remember that in Genesis 9:3 God changes the dietary rules on earth to allow humans to eat animals.  This was part of the process of insuring that man's days would be limited to approximately 120 years, unlike the long lives of human beings prior to the Flood.  Now we have God intervening in the dietary lives of the Israelites again for the express purpose of extending and preserving them as a people group.  The animal foods are divided into clean and unclean with the unclean being forbidden to the Jews.  This was for health benefits as the unclean animals are, for the most part, unclean feeders.  These animals would have been more prone to have low level parasites in their system which could cause parasitic diseases among the community.

It is interesting to note that the clean animals had split hooves and chewed the cud.  These animals were vegetable eaters and did not consume other animals.  Symbolically, this points to the sinless life of Christ.  In addition, some commentators believe that the split hoof of the clean creatures represent the set apart life of the nation of Israel and the life of Christ.  His holiness is apart from the world.  Finally, the word "meditate" in the Old Testament psalms, where it states that the godly will meditate on the Law day and night, is the same word used for "chewing the cud."  Just as these animals keep chewing the same food over and over, believers should "chew on" God's Word again and again.

These laws focus on the the external character of sin.  Sin is a result of coming in contact with something unclean.  These dietary laws were designed to keep the nation of Israel set apart from other nations on earth, healthy, and prepared to be the people group that would bring the Messiah to earth.

Next, God gives laws that reflect the internal character of sin within mankind.  Normally when you think of a woman giving birth you think of a nurturing woman and an innocent baby.  Today's reading reflects that God sees the birth of a child as an opportunity to recognize that not only is the mother a sinner in need of a savior, but the child she is bringing into the world is also in need of cleansing from sin.  The first period of uncleaness was for the baby.  The second period of uncleaness was for the mother.  Remember that Mary, the mother of Jesus, only participated in the second period of uncleaness at Christ's birth.  She brought two turtle-doves for her sin.  No offering was made for Jesus.

It is clear that David Winecoff had it right!  The ancient Laws of Moses confirm that God believes we are each born "little bundles of depravity." God is always painting a picture that shows that humans are in need of a Savior.  God intends to solve this problem!

Do you believe that man is fundamentally good?  How do you see the sinfulness of man, even in babies?

Mark 5:21-43

Jesus is in the business of healing.  Today we see two different incidents where Jesus heals.  As our reading begins, a local Jewish synagogue leader comes to Jesus because his daughter is dying.  Jesus follows Jarius to his house along with a huge crowd of people.  Within that crowd is another woman who needs healing.  The Bible tells us that she has been bleeding internally for twelve years!  Having just read the Old Testament Law, we now know that she would have been considered unclean for this long.  Knowing this, she does not approach Christ directly.  Instead, with tremendous faith, she merely touches his robe. 

Jesus feels his healing power go out of his body into someone.  I believe Jesus knew who had been healed, but he wants her to be recognized for her faith.  He wants to show that he comes to clean those who are unclean.  With compassion, Jesus tells the confessing woman that her faith has healed her.  Do you feel unclean and unworthy to go to Christ directly with your sins?  Learn from this dear woman that Jesus can also heal you and make you clean.  He will say to you, "Go in peace.  Your faith has healed you."

Next, messengers arrive to tell Jarius to forget it.  His daughter has died.  Jesus proceeds anyway.  Outside of the house, Jesus tells the crowd that the girl is merely asleep.  They laugh derisively.  Jesus goes in the house and tells the 12 year old girl to "get up." The girl is brought back to life.  Jesus then tells the parents not to tell anyone and to give her something to eat.  This incident is recorded because Jesus allowed Peter, James, and John to witness the miracle.

Do you sometimes feel "dead" in your soul?  Do you need Christ to bring you back to life?  He is the man of miracles.  He can bring the young and the old back to life. This miracle is a picture of a spiritual reality. Only through faith in Christ are we who are dead in our trespasses and sin brought to life through Christ. Our spirits are quickened and born again, and our trust in Jesus the Savior causes us to go from little bundles of depravity in the eyes of God to righteous new babes in the faith, pure through Christ's work on the cross, not our own efforts to be good.

Psalm 38:1-22

This psalm reminds me to grieve over my sin.  It reminds me that without Christ, I remain unclean.

Proverbs 10:8-9

vs. babbling fools fall flat on their faces.  People with integrity have a firm footing, but people on crooked paths will slip and fall.

Lord, keep me away from the crooked paths.  Let me stand on Christ the Solid Rock.

What did you get out of today's reading?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

P.S.  Twenty years ago today, I brought a beautiful "little bundle of depravity" into this world.  Today is my daughter Sarah's birthday!  I thank God for her today and every day!  I love you, Sarah!

Sarah, my daughter


  1. Happy Birthday to your lovely daughter! :) And thank you, as always, for your explanations of our readings.

  2. Wow, I never realized that about Mary only offering a sacrifice for herself and not for Jesus. Very cool. And I appreciate the reminder that Christ brings us back to life, eternal life but also each day. Thanks for the reminder, Kathy. And Happy Birthday to Sarah!! (OUR GIRLS ARE ALL 20 NOW!!)

  3. Linda,

    I can't believe the girls are twenty years old. Was looking at pics of the year we went to Chicago for Sarah's 11th birthday. They looked so young!

    I really enjoyed learning that Mary did not do a sacrifice for Jesus. So many subtle reminders of His perfection and deity. Amazing.

    He certainly causes me to feel "alive" spiritually each day!

    Thanks for checking in!

  4. Unlike what our secular colleges teach (that we are born a blank slate) I do believe we are fundamentally bad just as Psalms 51:5 says. My son loves to recite this verse.

    In Mark 5, I admire the woman's great faith. She believed so much she didn't even need to pray. Wow! I just love visualizing this scene. How wonderful to touch Jesus' garment.

  5. Yes. The fall in the Garden has changed everything for mankind. No one comes into this world perfect. You never have to teach a small child how to lie. It comes naturally.

    Yes. After so much suffering, her healing is inspiring.