Scripture: Zechariah 3:1-10 (NKJV)
1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?”
3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel.
4 Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.”
5 And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the Lord stood by.
6 Then the Angel of the Lord admonished Joshua, saying, 7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘If you will walk in My ways, and if you will keep My command, then you shall also judge My house, and likewise have charge of My courts; I will give you places to walk among these who stand here.
8 ‘Hear, O Joshua, the high priest, you and your companions who sit before you, for they are a wondrous sign; For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH.
9 For behold, the stone that I have laid before Joshua: Upon the stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave its inscription,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘And I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
10 In that day,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘Everyone will invite his neighbor under his vine and under his fig tree.'”
“For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin,” (Eccl. 7:20) not even a high priest like Joshua. To make matters worse, there stood the Accuser, Satan. Satan was there “to oppose” Joshua, who was dressed in the filth of his sins. So what does Joshua do for himself? Or better, what can Joshua do for himself? He is filthy with sin and can’t change his status as a sinner. But God can!
God removes Joshua’s sins and clothes him “with rich robes.” Joshua can do nothing. God does everything. “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.” Joshua simply receives what God gives.
Now that Joshua has been forgiven, a burden is placed upon him. He was told by God to “walk in My ways” and “keep My command.” But how? God’s answer is found earlier in Zechariah, “Return to Me” (Zech. 1:3). Turning to God with a repentant heart keeps one walking in the ways of the Lord.
The Christian life is not found in blazing one’s own path of righteousness. The Christian life is found only in looking to God for mercy and having Him create a clean heart within you. Your forgiveness comes as a result of God’s “Servant the BRANCH.” He removes your iniquity and gives you life, His life. He gives you His own Body and His own Blood to strengthen and preserve you in the true faith.
O Lord God, Who hast left unto us in a wonderful Sacrament a memorial of Thy Passion, grant, we beseech Thee, that we may use this Sacrament of Thy Body and Blood that the fruits of redemption may continually be manifest in us. Amen.