Clean Up — 27 May 2020 Devotional

Zechariah 3:1–10; Matthew 9:1–8; Revelation 22:7–17

Most parents have to tell their children to clean their rooms. There are those rare exceptional (weird) children who clean up their rooms on their own. There are also those parents who have conditioned their children to behave in a manner contrary to their nature, and the children are very clean. There there is the last group of parents, who don’t bother (for various reasons).

Part of the Christian walk is a life that resembles Christ more and more. There are highs and lows. There are backslidings. There is a lot of hard work, and then there are miraculous leaps forward.

Joshua the high priest (not to be confused with Joshua, Moses’ successor) stood before God with dirty clothes. They were reflective of the “dirty” condition of the Israelites. Now the dirty need to be contrasted with the holy part. The Israelites were called to be holy because they were the people God called by name, and God was Holy.

The Israelites always seemed to struggle with this. Whether it was Moses, or the time of Judges, even during Samuel’s life, the latter part of Solomon’s reign, and all the kings that followed Solomon. The Israelites often left God and pursue other gods and other ways that were not God’s. They were not holy. They were not clean. They were dirty.

Note that neither Joshua nor Zechariah did anything. In fact, even Satan didn’t have (so it seems) even the opportunity to accuse Joshua. God just commanded…and it was so.

In Hebrew, often when Satan is presented in English, we should know that “the” accuser is the more literal meaning. This is particularly interesting when we come to the story of the paralytic, the accusers are the scribes.

While the scribes didn’t say anything, Jesus still knows their hearts well enough to know their accusation. Jesus declares the man clean. Just like that. Oh, and just in case they didn’t get it the first time (they didn’t), he cleansed the man’s clothes (being the body).

Yet, the reality is that we, and our clothes, still get dirty. Perhaps there is one person that you “know” is a saint (and they might be). That person, however, probably would see their own stains that you cannot. “Bless those who wash their robes(!)”

We’re going to get dirty in this life. Usually through our own faults, but undeniably there are times when people will chuck the muck at you to make sure you look dirty. Why that might be is irrelevant to this message. What is relevant is that our clothes are not us. Through the power of Jesus Christ, and our submission to his authority and our submission to the work of the Holy Spirit, we are made clean!

※ Prayer ※

Merciful Father, you have declared us clean through the sacrifice of your Son. Lord Jesus, we thank you for your work on Earth and the words that you have given us. Holy Spirit, allow us to see our stains clearly. Help us to understand your conviction of us while knowing that you do not condemn us, but call us to a (w)holy deeper life. Amen.

※ Questions ※

1) Are you an accuser? If someone with “dirty” clothes comes to a small group, a gathering, or even (gasp) church, what do you do?

2) Ask someone who you deeply admire (or, again, think of as a saint), and ask them if they still see their spiritual stains?

3) How are you working through the stains in your life? Do you have an accountability partner (or better, 2 or 3)?

Published by

Pastor Ian

Ian is an ordained Elder in The Church of the Nazarene, and is currently serving as the Online Campus Pastor at Generations Community Church in Marysville, WA, USA.