July 2021 : A Change Of Clothes – Zechariah 3
There is a wonderful picture of the gospel in a place where you might not expect it; The book of Zechariah. Zechariah is one of the minor prophets. The late John Blanchard referred to the minor prophets as the 'clean pages' of the Bible. He said that when you look down the side of a Christian's Bible, that section often looks very under-read! However in chapter 3 of Zechariah, the prophet has a vision of Joshua the High priest standing before the 'angel of the Lord'. But there is someone else there too, the old enemy Satan. Satan is standing there with the sole purpose of accusing Joshua (v 1). He accuses him because he is standing in the presence of the lord with 'filthy garments'.
This is a problem. Our holy God cannot tolerate sin he must punish it. Thankfully the angel of the Lord tells Satan to keep his mouth shut. In verse 2 he says, 'The Lord rebuke you O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” Then the angel of the Lord tells those around him to remove his filthy garments and tells him 'behold I have removed your iniquity away from you and I will clothe you with pure vestments.' You see Joshua was the high priest and the high priest was supposed to go into the presence of God in the temple, representing the people and make a sacrifice for sins. Before going in he had to have clean garments, to be prepared to go into the holy of holies. So for Joshua to have filthy garments was a disaster! Fortunately our God is merciful and provides the way to be made clean.
Isn't this a wonderful picture of the gospel? We in a sense like Joshua cannot stand before the Lord because of our sin. We need to be made clean. Jesus does that he takes our iniquity upon himself, all of our sin. When we turn to him for salvation we receive his righteousness. Our guilt and sin is taken away because he paid for it on the cross. In exchange we receive his righteousness. In 2 Corinthians 6 we read,
'For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.' - v 21