I watched one of those news specials years ago that was running an episode about salmonella contamination. It followed a woman with a package of chicken from the grocery store to her home. After she got the package into the freezer they revealed with ultraviolet light where there was trace amounts of chicken juice in her kitchen. The place lit up like Disney World at Christmas time. Chicken juice on the counter, on the faucets, on the light switch, on the freezer door handle. There was even chicken juice on her daughter’s face. Eww.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten more germaphobic, and chicken juice tops my list of disgusting contaminants, even though its potential salmonella is technically not a germ. When I handle chicken in my kitchen I have the chicken in one hand and a gallon of bleach in the other. Every germaphobe knows that a simple swipe of the counter with the dish-cloth only spreads the juice around – it takes bleach to wipe it out.
So there I was at my kitchen sink while preparing dinner, trying to figure exactly what I had touched with chicken-juicy hands when it hit me. You can’t see it. It contaminates everything it touches. You can’t casually take a swipe at it and forget it. It’s gross. It’ll kill you if you don’t deal with it correctly. Only two things can handle it – fire or bleach. It's sin.
The Bible mentions bleach actually. Mark writes “His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them.” describing Jesus during his transfiguration. (Mark 9:3) But the verse that sticks out to me when I think of bleach is this one, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb”. (Revelation 7:14) And these, “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.” (Revelation 19:11-14)
Now I don’t pretend to know one blessed thing about the book of Revelation beyond what I can read on the surface, (you’ll have to click over to Pastor Armstrong’s fine teaching on Revelation for more than that!) but did you ever wonder why Jesus’ robe is stained with blood but the armies of heaven wore fine linen, white and clean? Bleach. Holy bleach. Blood of Christ bleach. The only true stain remover. And the only way Jesus could get us clean was to contaminate Himself. He waded through that nasty chicken juice so we could be clean and holy, spotless and white. Bleached before a holy God.
And that fire I mentioned earlier? Well, “If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15) Fire purifies as well, but sometimes the damage is done before the fat hits the pan. I don’t mean that to minimize the tragedy, but the choice is truly that simple. Bleach or fire.
Next time you get that chicken out to thaw on your counter (we all do it…don’t pretend you don’t!) thank Jesus for His holy work that makes us too, whiter than anything in this world could bleach us. Never thought you’d be grateful for chicken juice, now did you?