Friday, December 22, 2006

An Encouraging Picture

Today's Old Testament reading includes this wonderful picture, from the book of Zechariah:
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, "The Lord rebuke you, Satan! ..."

The angel said to those who were standing before him, "Take off his filthy clothes.

"Then he said to Joshua, "See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you."

Then I said, "Put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by.

Zechariah 3.1-2a,4-5
I don't know about you, but this makes me feel really good, because the cleansing of Joshua here is a picture of the cleansing we can look forward to if we belong to Jesus.

We all have sinned, and as Isaiah tells us, our own attempts to get cleaned up are nothing more than filthy rags (64.6). Satan accuses us, but the Lord rebukes him.

Now you may have heard that "Joshua" (in Hebrew) is very close to "Jesus". Which I have also heard. But this passage refers to Joshua's sin -- and our Lord Jesus never had any. So this isn't talking about him.

And although it refers to Joshua as a high priest, Peter tells us that we are a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2.9). So I think it's OK to feel encouraged by this passage.

Our dirty rags removed, rich garments and a clean turban put on in their place. Our sins forgiven, and our accuser shut down. And that's why the Savior's birth is good news for all the peoples of the world.

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