JUDGE AND JUSTIFIER
God of great love, open my mind and soften my heart. Help me to breathe deeply of your Spirit.
Read ZECHARIAH 3
Clean Garments for the High Priest
3 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan[a] standing at his right side to accuse him. 2 The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”
3 Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 4 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 fine garments on you.”
5 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.
6 The angel of the Lord gave this charge to Joshua: 7 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in obedience to me and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.
8 “‘Listen, High Priest Joshua, you and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. 9 See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes[b] on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.
10 “‘In that day each of you will invite your neighbor to sit under your vine and fig tree,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘In his hands [God] gently bears us, / rescues us from all our foes.’1
According to legend, Satan taunted the Protestant reformer Martin Luther about his sins one night as he sat writing at his desk in Wartburg Castle. Luther drove the enemy away by throwing an ink pot at his head! It’s a wonderful story with no historical authentication, but certainly illustrates an indisputable fact – Satan hates God’s people and seeks to discourage us with a sense of our unworthiness. That’s what high priest Joshua, a prominent leader of the Jews returning from exile,2 discovers in Zechariah’s fourth vision…
Joshua stands in the dock before the angel of the Lord, his judge. In various Old Testament passages this angel is a theophany, an appearance of God in physical form.3 Many Bible scholars believe he is the pre-incarnate Christ. Joshua’s filthy clothes represent the people’s sins, his own included. Satan’s accusations are intended to render him inoperative under a burden of guilt, but the angel of the Lord replaces Joshua’s rags with clean garments, symbolizing the Lord’s forgiveness, and charges him to lead henceforth a life of righteousness. ‘See, I have taken away your sin’, says the angel (v 4), having previously rebuked the Accuser (undoubtedly to the latter’s surprise!). The Judge becomes the Justifier!
Dear Christian, how many times has Satan cast your sins before you and sanctimoniously whispered how unworthy you are, reminding you of past transgressions until you were overwhelmed with shame? True, all are sinners at birth4 and children of wrath,5 but through faith in Christ you are ‘ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven.’1 You are clothed with Christ’s (the angel of the Lord’s) righteousness.6 His blood cleanses from all sin.7 Let the Accuser be silent in the presence of your Judge and Justifier!
‘Praise [God] for his grace and favor … slow to chide, and swift to bless’!1 Thank God afresh today for your glorious salvation in Jesus Christ!
Dear Lord Jesus, I thank you for your sacrificial death, that I might be free from my sins. You died that I might live. Hallelujah, what a Savior!
1 HF Lyte, ‘Praise, my soul’, 1834 2 Ezra 5:1,2; Hag 1:1 3 Eg Gen 21:17,18; Exod 3:2–6; Judg 2:1–4 4 Ps 51:5 5 Eph 2:3, AV 6 Rom 13:14 7 1 John 1:7