Reading in Zechariah this morning. A lot of prophetic imagery to work through. Some I think I get, some I’m not so sure about. Probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to spend some extended time in the book with some good “helps” at my side. But as I wade through it this morning, in chapter three I find some familiar terminology. And as I hover over it, I can’t help but think of the difference a day makes.
The vision in chapter three is that of a dirty priest. His name is Joshua and he is seen “clothed with filthy garments.” I’m guessing that it’s symbolic of the rough state of the priesthood contributing to Judah’s exile to Babylon. Those who had been called to be holy before God, allowed themselves to be defiled among men. Those who were to atone for the people instead joined the people in their spiritual infidelity and their sexual immorality. Their garments are filthy. They’re stained. Stained with sin, iniquity, and transgression.
And in this vision, next to Joshua, there is Satan, “standing at his right hand to accuse him.” Of course he is, where else would the accuser of the brothers be but before those who were to be God’s best pointing out how corrupted they were.
But heaven will have none of it and Satan is rebuked.
And then a command is given concerning Joshua, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And a word is spoken to Joshua, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you and I will clothe you with the pure vestments.” Has a familiar ring to it, doesn’t it?
And the prophecy reveals that Joshua and his “friends” are but a foreshadowing, a sign or symbol, of a greater work that God will do.
Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch. For behold, on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven eyes, I will engrave its inscription, declares the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day. (Zechariah 3:8-9 ESV)
The LORD”s servant, the Branch arrives. Described as “a single stone with seven eyes.” And through Him, God will remove the iniquity of the land in a single day. O, the difference a day makes!
Jeremiah refers to Him as “the righteous Branch” (Jer. 23:5, 33:15). Isaiah sees Him as a “young plant” and ” a root out of dry ground” having “no form or majesty that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him” (Isa. 53:2). And that this Branch is the Lamb of God is confirmed in His eyes . . . “
And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. (Revelation 5:6 ESV)
And through the Branch, upon the Stone, because of the Lamb, God justly and fully and eternally removes the iniquity of the land in a single day. What a day!
As much as we celebrate the day of His birth, it is the day of His death that makes all the difference. To be born a Savior would have been meaningless had He not submitted to the Father’s will and died as the once for all sacrifice. To be exalted by angels would have been but a superficial production if He had not humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. While His birth might have become the pivotal point for our calendars, it is His death that has impacted the eternal destiny of men and women throughout the ages. O, the difference a day makes!
To Him be all praise!
All because of wondrous grace! All for His everlasting glory!