Advent Pure

The scene of Zechariah’s prophecy in chapter 3 is best described as a courtroom scene.

On trial is a man named Joshua. He is a son of exile, born in Babylon. He is the religious, cultic leader of the people returning to the Holy Land after the capitivity. He is their high priest. He is the son of Jehozadak, who is the son of Seraiah–the last high priest of Judea. Seraiah was killed by Nebuchadnezzar, after the fall of Jerusalem in 2 Kings 25.

Needless to say, Joshua’s inheritance is troubled. The sins of the past, the shame of the exile, the sins of Israel in this vision are filthy garments, draped over him.

And in this vision, we see a glimpse into the spiritual realm, where the Accuser stands at Joshua’s side, ready to condemn him. But Joshua does not stand alone. The Angel of YHWH is on his side. He stands between saying, “YHWH rebuke you, O Satan!”

And when He has rebuked the Accuser, He says these words to Joshua, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you.

This Joshua is liberated from condemnation by the Angel of YHWH. He’s clothed with pure vestments, a clean turban, given to him by this figure that speaks for God, Himself. Joshua is made righteous, apart from anything he has done or will do.

If you think this Angel of YHWH sounds a lot like Jesus, I think you’re on the right track.

The crazy thing about this vision is that we see the inverse play out in the life of Jesus (the Greek name for Joshua)–who is our High Priest. He is this Angel of YHWH, enfleshed. That’s the miracle of Christmas. Jesus is clothed with our humanity. He puts on our filthy garments. He endures the accusation. He takes our inheritance, our death, so that we may be clothed with His righteousness.

You are covered in the pure vestments of Jesus Christ.

Thanks be to God.

Amen.

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CHRIST CHURCH LUTHERAN

3901 E Indian School Rd.

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