Sunday, September 27, 2015: Zechariah 1-3; Luke 11
Then he showed me the high priest Joshua standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this man a brand plucked from the fire?” 3 Now Joshua was dressed with filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 4 The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” And to him he said, “See, I have taken your guilt away from you, and I will clothe you with festal apparel.” 5 And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with the apparel; and the angel of the Lord was standing by.
The prophet Zechariah has much to say about the deep and abiding love that God has for his people. The writing consists of eight visions, and in this fourth vision we are given a portrait of restoration, here personified in the person of Joshua. Joshua is restored to favor and even given new clothes to symbolize this cleansing (much like the tradition of giving new baptismal clothing). God confirms that this vision symbolized what is to come for Israel, even suggesting a Messiah (vs. 8-9). You will note that the restoration moves beyond the individual and promises a time of peace and prosperity “in that day, each of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and fig tree.” (vs. 10)
The restorative work of God in Christ is that which renews our lives and clothes us in righteousness. Paul called it the ‘new man’ and the ‘old man.’ Christ makes a difference in our lives – it is as simple as that. With the hymnist, we too can sing, ‘I once was….but now I’m….’
What is your story of restoration?