And as He entered a village, He was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us." Luke 17:12-13
When the Dalits of India talk about being "unclean," they don't mean they need to take a shower.
They mean their touch can make a respectable person dirty.
According to Hindu belief, in the beginning there was a single man who was separated into parts. From the man's mouth came the Brahmins, or the holy men. From the arms came the Ksatriyas, or the kings and warriors. From the man's thighs came the merchants, and from his feet came all common laborers.
Dalits were too low to have come from that first man.
According to the outlawed caste system, Dalits are unclean. They're so unclean they must drink from different wells, use different doors when they enter or leave a building, and never walk on pathways reserved for the upper classes.
According to a CNN report from a few weeks ago, a six-year-old Dalit girl walked on a road reserved for those of the upper caste. One of those men, filled with road rage, lectured the girl. He then pushed her into some burning embers.
As of this writing, the girl was still in critical condition.
As sad as that story is, you should know I'm not going to say that all Dalits are clean. I won't say it because they're not.
You heard that correctly. India's 250 million Dalits are unclean-just like Ken Klaus is unclean-just like you are unclean-just like the ten lepers in our text were unclean.
Every person in the world is unclean and is made unclean by the sinful nature they have and the wrong they do. God would have been well within His rights to ignore us, avoid us, and condemn us.
That is not what He chose to do.
Instead of allowing our sins to take us to hell, the Father sent His holy Son into this world. By divine directive Jesus was given a special job to do: He was to make the unclean, clean.
Did He succeed? Look into the empty tomb! Did He make us acceptable? John tells us (1 John 1: 7b) "the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin."
Through Christ's life, suffering, passion, death, and resurrection, all things necessary for our redemption and recycling have been done. Jesus, our Master has had mercy on us.
THE PRAYER: Dear Savior, for sacrificing Yourself so humanity's unclean might be rescued from who they are and the condemnation they deserve, You have our unending praise. In Your Name, I offer thanks. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries