Morning Conversations with GodBible Study:
by William S. Stoddard Share page

“I will; be clean (Matthew 8:3)

Read: Matthew 8:1-3; Psalm 51: 1-10: Isaiah 59:2; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 2 Timothy 2:21.

What Is God Saying?

If we could transport ourselves back to the time and situation described in this portion of Matthew’s Gospel, we would come to view it as one of the most dramatic scenes in the Bible. 

Here a leper is encountering the compassionate Christ.  No one else would touch the leper’s case.  Certainly no one else would touch him.  Yet he came to the great Healing One with confidence.  He knew if he had come to an orthodox scribe or a rabbi he would have been repelled, even stoned away.  See how he makes his request:  “If You will, You can make me clean.  I am so tired of saying ‘Unclean, unclean’ everywhere I go.  I want to be clean.  You can do it if You will.”

Not a question of could You, just would You?

This should encourage anyone who feels he or she is incurable in body or too far gone spiritually for Jesus’ healing and cleansing touch. 

If you put yourself in the place of a First Century Jew, you could not imagine anything more astonishing than that Jesus should “put forth his hand and touch him.” 

The incident underscores the painful ostracism of leprosy and the amazing love of God. 

That’s how it is with Jesus Christ - the leper or the sinner is not a loathsome spectacle or a menace to the community. 

He is a human being in need of help. 

So we are encouraged to see how this applies to us and then how and why we should make it our prayer.

How Does This Apply to Us?

Sin is spiritual leprosy.  It affects a person in similar ways. Leprosy was the most dreaded disease of ancient times.  And people who say sin can’t be all that bad have swallowed the Devil’s lie.  “The wages of sin is death” and as with leprosy that death comes by inches.  Like leprosy it separates us from others, from our true selves, and of course, from God. That is the ultimate price of sin.  (Read Isaiah 59:2).

“All have sinned” We all need to be cleansed of sin – to be cleansed of all sin.  David’s repentance makes use of the word “clean” many times.

God wants our hearts to be clean. 

His intent for all creation is cleanness.

His will for us is cleanness. 

Before we ask for other blessings, we must pray as David did, ‘Wash me …. And cleanse me from my sin!” (Psalm 51).

Pray With Me

O God, what You give is clean!  Rain that falls from the recycling of nature … air that moves in, unladen with dust, from the tumbling expanse of the sea … stars that sparkle on a clean night “forever singing as they shine,  ‘The Hand that made us is divine.’”  Cleanness is what You give and cleanness is what You will have, “I will; be clean!”  Help me to know this day that Your will for me is cleanness.  By the invincible strength of Your will, I shall be clean.

Only as I have doubted Your plan for my life and chosen to follow the errant demands of my will have I known that contact with sin which soils and sickens.  Give me the grace of submission that I may pass through the gates of obedience into the pastures of joy and spiritual health.  I want to be rid of the stain and the misery of sin and I rejoice that, by Your will, I may know the freedom of the leper who in Your strength and by Your healing grace walked away from the loathsome thing.

O God of all cleanness, as You command it, so give it, that in the freedom of a life renewed and cleansed in obedience, my walk with You may be filled with joy and my work for You be true.

In Your own powerful and ever blessed name. Amen.

Moving On In The Life Of Prayer

God wants us to be clean.   “I will’ be clean”; that phrase spoken to a leper in the depth of his misery and rejection and despair, is the phrase that may be heard by every penitent sinner.  God is willing to make us whole and clean.  We need to recognize our need and place ourselves under the healing rays of His love, His mercy, and His truth.  As the sun reveals and heals, so God in truth and love shows us our need and provides the solution - “I will; be clean”.

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Used with permission. From the book: First Light: Morning Conversations with God.

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