Perhaps some of you remember the 1966 World Cup Final. Bobby Moore lifting the trophy for England. You might remember just before that moment. Moore realizes he’s about to meet the Queen, wearing her immaculate white gloves. And he realizes, probably for the first time that day, his hands are dirty. Do you remember him, walking up the steps of Wembley, wiping his hands on his football shirt? Then he wiped them on the velvet draping before shaking hands with the Queen.
If he wasn’t meeting the Queen he wouldn’t have given two hoots about his hands. Who cares, he’s just won the world cup. But in the presence of purity, that’s when his uncleanness mattered.
The King of kings comes to you and offers Himself. Not just a hand of friendship – both hands nailed to a cross. Not just to bestow a trophy, but to embrace you and bring you into the life and love of God! And maybe you never really thought about it before. But when you see His outstretched hands, you realize, “My hands are unclean.” Normally you don’t think about it, but when the King of Love moves towards you, you realize, “I’m not clean. My heart is not pure. I live in a broken world with a broken heart and a broken life.” If you don’t feel like that, you don’t really get who Jesus is. He’s the King! And He’s pure. And if you don’t realize that your hands are unclean, you don’t know yourself, and you don’t know Jesus. But if you know Jesus, let me tell you – He wants to embrace you.
Bobby Moore’s efforts to clean himself up didn’t really work. He just smeared the mud around a bit. You know what saved the day? Not Bobby Moore wiping his hands, but the Queen thrusting out her hand. That was the really significant gesture. The Queen didn’t flinch from Bobby Moore’s dirty hands and Jesus doesn’t flinch from you. The Queen got her gloves dirty and welcomed Bobby Moore. And a billion times more importantly, Jesus got Himself dirty to embrace you. He opened His arms wide on the cross and He took your sin and shame. That’s what this King is like. He’s the King who the dirty run to. Because through His death He gives us cleansing, forgiveness and a stunning welcome into the very life of God.