This was today’s Our Daily Bread reading.
Jesus’ most memorable story, The Prodigal Son, ends with a banquet scene, featuring as its hero a good-for-nothing who has soiled the family reputation. Those judged undesirable by everyone else—like the prodigal son—are infinitely desirable to God. When one of them turns to God, a party breaks out (Luke 15:22-24).
In the Old Testament, levitical laws guarded against contagion. Among the things that would contaminate a person were contact with certain animals, carcasses, or the sick. But Jesus reversed the process. Rather than becoming contaminated by what was unclean, He made the unclean whole.
I sense in Jesus a fulfillment, not an abolition, of the Old Testament laws. God had hallowed creation by separating the sacred from the profane, the clean from the unclean. Jesus did not cancel out this hallowing principle; rather He changed its source.
Because of God’s great grace, we can be agents of His holiness, for He now dwells within us. We can seek, as Jesus did, for ways to be a source of holiness. The sick and the maimed are not hot spots of contamination but potential reservoirs of God’s mercy. We are called to extend that mercy, to be conveyers of grace, not avoiders of contagion. Like Jesus, we can help make the “unclean” clean. — Philip Yancey
The part that speaks to me most is that Jesus did not abolish the laws of the old Testament, but he fulfilled them.