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Daily Reading: 11th February 2015

John 11.55

55  Now the Jewish feast of Passover was near, and many from the countryside went up to Jerusalem, so that they might purify themselves.

Since the time for the Passover was near we know that it was spring time, sometime between mid-March to mid-April. John tells us that there were many from the countryside who had gone to Jerusalem, and they had done so quite early. The reason for this was so that they might purify themselves.

It took some time for the rites of purification to take place, possibly up to seven days, and it would include times of praying. Also it would involve various washing and various kinds of abstinence. This would probably have included abstaining from alcohol.

There are no specific instructions in the Law regarding the rites of purification for the Passover. However, there were various things that made a person unclean, such as touching a corpse or tomb; various kinds of bodily fluids being discharged; contagious skin diseases.

The purification period for touching a dead person was seven days, therefore, many of those who came from the countryside would arrive in Jerusalem early so as to give themselves plenty of time to complete the acts of purification that were necessary for their cleansing.

Purification is essential for all of us, yet none of us can make ourselves clean. It is only Jesus who can purify us, and this He has done through the shedding of His blood on the cross of Calvary: You have come to Jesus, the One who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which graciously forgives instead of crying out for vengeance as the blood of Abel did – Hebrews 12.24 (NLT). Also: God the Father chose you long ago, and the Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed Jesus Christ and are cleansed by His blood – 1 Peter 1.2 (NLT).

There is the constant need for us to live a life that is worthy of the calling with which God has called us. Yet, since we all fail to do this, we all need to constantly turn to Jesus and ask for His forgiveness and cleansing, which He guarantees: If we should confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous so that He may forgive us our sins and might cleanse us from all unrighteousness  – 1 John 1.9.

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