Saturday, August 20, 2016

The High Priest, the Branch, & the Wardrobe

(by Pastor Joe)
The Word for today: Zechariah 3 & 4
mark this: Zechariah 3:1-10
Finally a vision that I can understand!
So far, we've had all kinds of visions that may not be too familiar to most modern people: myrtle trees, measuring rods & multicolored horses. Up next, it gets even better: olive trees and lamp stands, flying scrolls and chariots, and my personal favorite- some lady hanging out inside a basket.
But now with the vision found in the first part of Zechariah chapter 3, we are given one that is much more familiar to us in the 21st century--a legal proceeding! (Remember, between Matlock & Columbo reruns, between Judge Judy & her dozens of knockoffs, Law & Order and its dozens of spin offs, and every other real or fictitious legal-based show, we've got the whole court thing down!)
In this vision we have some familiar courtroom roles, but even more, we see ourselves.
the DEFENDANT- Joshua, the High Priest of Israel
An historical figure, yet representative of the priest, Israel, and ultimately you & I.
We too will have to stand before the King of Kings and we sure as anything better have the right Mediator or else! (see 1 Timothy 2:5)
The best in the business for accusation, far more successful than the famed Dewey, Cheatum & Howe. The Adversary continues to wage war on the saints through any means necessary. (1)
the JUDGE- the Angel of the LORD
the ACCUSATION- unworthy & unclean!
As much as I hate to admit it, Satan has got us here. Because of our sin, we are unworthy and unclean before God. There is no doubting that- and even in the vision, the Lord never denies any of the accusations from our adversary. We are all saved like "a burning stick snatched from the fire." (2)
the EVIDENCE- Joshua's filthy clothes
Again, there is no denying the horrible state of Joshua's robes. The word translated as filthy here is also used in the Old Testament for all sorts of unpleasant things such as vomit (3) and excrement (4).
Let's be honest with ourselves too. Let's agree with the Scripture and recognize that there really are "none who are righteous," that all of us indeed "fall short of God's glory" (5) and that our hearts are "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. (6)"
So far, it's not looking so good for us. Considering the holiness of God, the accusations of the adversary, and the filthy conditions of ourselves, it looks to be an easy decision: "GUILTY on all charges!"
But wait, I forgot to factor in one thing. But Zechariah didn't. Look to the end of this vision to see the only way out. Look at God's promises to:
1. Bring My Servant, the Branch. (v. 8)
Jesus is that Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53) and that Righteous Branch from the line of David. (Jeremiah 25:25)
2. Remove the sin of this land in a single day. (v.9)
Only by His death can our debt be paid and our sins forgiven. (John 19:30)
Because of Jesus Christ, I can be cleansed.
Because of Jesus Christ, all my robes of filth are exchanged for His righteousness.
Because of Jesus Christ, I can be declared "NOT GUILTY"
That's my story and I am sticking to it!
(1) see Job 1, Luke 22:31, 2 Corinthians 2:11 & 11:14, Revelation 12:9
(2) Zechariah 3:2
(3) Isaiah 28:8
(4) Isaiah 36:12
(5) Romans 3
(6) Jeremiah 17:9

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