James Lewis Kraft was a Canadian-American entrepreneur and inventor back in the early 1920s. He was the first to patent processed cheese and was one of the founding brothers of the Kraft company. One day a friend of James Kraft asked him to go and visit an inmate in the notorious Alcatraz prison on the island in San Francisco Bay, California. So, one day he went to the prison and was brought along a corridor towards the visitors rooms. But before reaching the room he passed through a series of security measures and just before reaching the last door the security officer said to his escort ‘he’s clean, he can go on inside’. Kraft thought that was a strange thing to say and asked what he meant. The escort replied we have just passed through an x-ray machine, and we know you don’t have any weapons on you, so you are clean!
The first X-ray machine was developed by German scientist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen. An X-ray is a penetrating form of high-energy electromagnetic radiation. Most X-rays have a wavelength ranging from 10 picometers to 10 nanometers, corresponding to frequencies in the range 30 petahertz to 30 exahertz. The X-ray wavelengths are shorter than those of UV rays and typically longer than those of gamma rays. While Wilhelm was working in a lab in Germany in 1895, he was testing cathode rays to see whether the rays could pass through a glass. Röntgen found that the rays could penetrate many types of matter, such as human flesh. He soon took an X-ray photograph of his wife’s wedding ring and her bones. It became a major diagnostic tool in medicine because they allowed doctors to see inside the human body without the need of surgery. Surprisingly it was first used on a military battlefield in 1897, during the Balkan War, to find bullets and broken bones inside patients. At the beginning the risk from radiation was not fully understood. It is reported that a shoe shop in the USA used X-rays to let customers see the bones in their feet, as a gimmick to ensure a proper “fit” of the shoe. The practice ended in the 1950s when it was determined to be too risky for health reasons due to the radiation, and because the shoe clerks had no formal medical training in using X-ray technology. Today the most familiar use of x-rays is checking for fractures (broken bones), but x-rays are also used in other ways. For example, chest x-rays can spot pneumonia. Mammograms use x-rays to look for breast cancer. Though a primary use is still to see what people are carrying and is in use in airports, posh hotels, government buildings and shopping malls today. It can still tell you if you are clean. The bible tells the story of a man who had the disease of leprosy and he heard that the Lord Jesus was visiting his village. He went to find Jesus Christ and said to him “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” Another story says, and King David pleaded with God and said “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me”, Psalm 51 verse 10. Sin is disobedience to God and it is what makes you and me unclean. Just as the Lord Jesus had done for the leper and King David so he can do to all who ask for his cleansing, he can make you clean.