22 January 2022
Lessons from the operating room
You were taught … to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; … and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4: 22–23
The mysterious world of the operating room is daunting to students, but the basic rule is to maintain sterility. As a special concession I was once allowed to watch a well respected plastic surgeon at work. As he demonstrated the lesion, all ready for excision, he stepped back and brushed my arm. I will
never forget his, ‘Did you touch me?’ I just nodded, wishing I was somewhere else, as he told the scrub nurse, ‘I’ve been desterilised.’
When Jesus Christ came to earth, he was completely blameless, pure and ‘sterile’, so able to bring healing to our sick, contaminated world. I like to think of his presence here as a kind of back-to-front operating room. Whatever he touched became clean. When he chose to die for the sins of the world, he ‘desterilised’ himself, for the first time experiencing what it was to be dirty. His agony and humiliation is beyond imagination. For the first time, he was not allowed near his Father, kept away from those he loved because defiled by our sins. Yet God the Father was able, by his awesome power, to restore his son to ‘sterility’. Now, through Jesus, we can all be clothed with ‘sterile drapes’, the garments of salvation. (Isaiah 61: 10) These are essential before we can confidently approach God.
On entering the operating room in our natural state we are unsterile and are barred from the surgical field until thoroughly washed and gowned. Just so, we cannot approach God on the basis of our own merits. Only his grace can make and keep us clean.
Read: Revelation 7: 9–17.