Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

More Proof Of Jesus’ Absolute Goodness and Essential Purity

This article is intended to supplement the following responses,

by presenting additional evidence from the Synoptic Gospels that Jesus is absolutely holy, righteous, and good. As such, this will provide further confirmation that Jesus wasn’t denying his essential goodness when he asked the rich man why was he calling Christ good when only God is good (cf. Mark 10:17-18; Matthew 19:16-17; Luke 18:18-19).

The Hebrew Scriptures teach that touching (or being touched) by a leper (or someone with any infectious skin disease), a woman with a bleeding disorder, or a corpse defiles a person who shall then be unclean and cut off from God’s people for a period of time:

Or if a person touches any unclean thing, whether a carcass of an unclean beast or the carcass of unclean cattle or a carcass of unclean swarming things, though it is hidden from him and he is unclean, then he will be guilty. Or if he touches human uncleanness, of whatever sort his uncleanness may be with which he becomes unclean, and it is hidden from him, and then he comes to know it, he will be guilty… So it shall be when he becomes guilty in one of these, that he shall confess that in which he has sinned. He shall also bring his guilt offering to the Lord for his sin which he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement on his behalf for his sin.” Leviticus 5:2-3, 5-6

When anyone touches anything unclean, whether human uncleanness, or an unclean animal, or any unclean detestable thing, and eats of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings which belong to the Lord, that person shall be cut off from his people.” Leviticus 7:21

“As for the leper who has the infection, his clothes shall be torn, and the hair of his head shall be uncovered, and he shall cover his mustache and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ He shall remain unclean all the days during which he has the infection; he is unclean. He shall live alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.” Leviticus 13:45-46 – cf. Numbers 12:9-15; 2 Chronicles 26:16-21

“When a woman has a discharge of her blood for many days, though it is not the time of her menstruation, or if she has a discharge beyond her period, she will be unclean all the days of her unclean discharge, as she is during the days of her menstruation. Any bed she lies on during the days of her discharge will be like her bed during menstrual impurity; any furniture she sits on will be unclean as in her menstrual period. Everyone who touches them will be unclean; he must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will remain unclean until evening. When she is cured of her discharge, she is to count seven days, and after that she will be clean. On the eighth day she must take two turtledoves or two young pigeons and bring them to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting. The priest is to sacrifice one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her before the LORD because of her unclean discharge.” Leviticus 15:25-30

The one who touches the corpse of any person shall be unclean for seven days. That one shall purify himself from uncleanness with the water on the third day and on the seventh day, and then he will be clean; but if he does not purify himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not be clean. Anyone who touches a corpse, the body of a man who has died, and does not purify himself, defiles the tabernacle of the Lord; and that person shall be cut off from Israel. Because the water for impurity was not sprinkled on him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is still on him.” Numbers 19:11-13

Yet according to the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus touched a leper and made him clean:

“And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, ‘If You are willing, You can make me clean (katharisai).’ Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I am willing; be cleansed (katharistheti).’ Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed (ekatharisthe). And He sternly warned him and immediately sent him away, and He said to him, ‘See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing (katharismou) what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.’ But he went out and began to proclaim it freely and to spread the news around, to such an extent that Jesus could no longer publicly enter a city, but stayed out in unpopulated areas; and they were coming to Him from everywhere.” Mark 1:40-45

He was also touched by a woman who had suffered a bleeding disorder for twelve years, and who was subsequently healed because of it:

A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse—after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. For she thought, ‘If I just touch His garments, I will get well.’ Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched My garments?’ And His disciples said to Him, ‘You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, “Who touched Me?”’ And He looked around to see the woman who had done this. But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.’” Mark 5:25-34

He would even touch dead corpses and bring them back to life!

“When Jesus had crossed over again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around Him; and so He stayed by the seashore. One of the synagogue officials named Jairus came up, and on seeing Him, fell at His feet and implored Him earnestly, saying, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay Your hands on her, so that she will get well and live.’ And He went off with him; and a large crowd was following Him and pressing in on Him… While He was still speaking, they came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, ‘Your daughter has died; why trouble the Teacher anymore?’ But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official, ‘Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.’ And He allowed no one to accompany Him, except Peter and James and John the brother of James. They came to the house of the synagogue official; and He saw a commotion, and people loudly weeping and wailing. And entering in, He said to them, ‘Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep.’ They began laughing at Him. But putting them all out, He took along the child’s father and mother and His own companions, and entered the room where the child was. Taking the child by the hand, He said to her, ‘Talitha kum!’ (which translated means, ‘Little girl, I say to you, get up!’). Immediately the girl got up and began to walk, for she was twelve years old. And immediately they were completely astounded. And He gave them strict orders that no one should know about this, and He said that something should be given her to eat.” Mark 5:21-24, 35-43

This shows that Jesus was not only incapable of being defiled by touching such individuals, but also had the power to actually heal and cleanse them. Thus, whereas these people were unable to defile or transmit their uncleanliness to the sinless Son of God, Christ, on the other hand, had the divine ability to transmit his life-giving holiness and purity to them!

In fact, one of the main reasons why Jesus came into the world was so that he could save sinners by cleansing them (both spiritually and physically) through his sacrificial death on Calvary’s cross:

“And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification (katharismon) of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” Hebrews 1:3

Yet the only way for Christ not to become defiled by coming into physical contact with such persons is if he was morally incorruptible by nature, which in turn would have prevented him from becoming ceremonially unclean. However, for Jesus to be morally incorruptible he must be absolutely good. And yet in order for him to be absolutely good he must be God according to his own words.

So much for the assertion that Jesus was denying his essential and absolute goodness in the story of his encounter with the rich young ruler!

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