One of the perks of my job is sharing Bible stories, songs, and prayers with the children of Antioch Little Ducklings Preschool. Each week, we sing, review previous lessons, and learn a new story from God’s Word.  In addition, we learn memory verses, Psalm 23, and the Lord’s Prayer. After our prayer, it’s a special blessing to get hugs from all those precious 3- and 4-year olds.

My visits turn comical on occasion as children ask their questions and respond to mine with total honesty. While reviewing a story a little while back, one of their humorous answers highlighted a spiritual truth that we can all learn from.

We were reviewing the story of how a grateful woman anointed Jesus’ feet. Luke tells us she wetted them with her tears, wiped them with her hair, and poured perfume on them showing appreciation to her Lord. The self-righteous Pharisees criticized Jesus for allowing such extravagance and for permitting a sinful woman to display what they saw as scandalous devotion. Jesus rebuked the proud men and commended the woman’s humble dedication before assuring her that her sins were forgiven.

While we didn’t dig deeply into the theology of this passage in preschool, we did highlight the need to honor and thank Jesus for loving, helping, and saving us. Too often the absence of spontaneous gratitude demonstrates our underappreciation of all he’s done for us.

As we remembered this story together, I asked the children what this woman poured on Jesus’ feet. As sincerely as she knew how, one little girl responded, “Hand sanitizer.” Needless to say, it was all I and the teachers could do to hold it together as we were reminded of how germaphobia has saturated our society.

As I reflected on this answer later, however, I realized that this does help us to understand and appreciate Jesus’ gift to us. When he willingly died on the cross on Good Friday, He poured out his precious blood that became not the perfect cleanser for our hands or feet, but for our souls.

Our hearts are seriously and permanently soiled by our sin germs of selfishness, pride, greed, and lust that cling to our souls more tightly than dirt sticks under our fingernails. These infectious agents corrupt all that we do, sicken our souls, and prevent us from enjoying full spiritual health. We may try to scrub them away with good deeds, penance, or monetary sacrifice, but all of these are ineffective to remove sin’s germs and free us from their pervasive influence.

What we need is the sanitizer of Jesus’ blood. That and that alone can strip away the years of buildup that have accumulated in our souls and it can deaden all the harmful effects lingering sin causes. In this day of great concern regarding physical cleanliness, let’s not neglect the even greater need of spiritual purity and ask God to scrub us clean with Jesus’ purifying blood.

As we prepare to remember the death of Jesus on Good Friday, I pray that we might contemplate the infinite price he paid to cleanse and forgive us. May we realize and remember the great lengths he went to to strip our hearts and lives of the corrosive and lethal influences of disobedience and sin. And like that humble woman, may we be so moved by his sacrificial love and death for us that we will freely give our all to him in total consecration. When we begin to grasp the depth of his love for us, our grateful hearts will automatically respond in worship. Thanking him, George

George Bowers Sr. is the senior pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren and has authored 13 books including his latest, "Valley Verses Volume V", which is available at Four Star Printing and Shenandoah Stuff. He can be reached through www.georgebowersministries.com or at gabowers@shentel.net.

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