November 27, 2021
“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, with Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Angel of the Lord said to Satan..”
“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, with Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Angel of the Lord said to Satan: ‘The Lord rebuke you, Satan! May the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Isn’t this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?’ Now Joshua was dressed with filthy clothes as he stood before the Angel. As He spoke to those standing before Him, ‘Take off his filthy clothes!’ Then He said to him, ‘See, I have removed your guilt from you, and I will clothe you in splendid robes.’” Zechariah 3:1-4
Today’s chapter is so full of theological “gold” that it seems shameful to limit the exposition to one aspect. Still, we have our limits with these daily devotionals. I always recommend you dig further into a good commentary to help you “mine” all the gold there is.
There were three significant “Joshuas” in the Bible. First, there is Joshua, son of Nun, who led Israel into the Promised Land. There is, of course, “Yeshua” (a form of the name Joshua), known by most of the World as “Jesus,” the Messiah. And there is today’s “Joshua,” high priest and associate of Zerubbabel, and the uncrowned heir of David’s line. In essence, Jesus was a combination of the two “Joshuas.” He is our great High Priest who atones for our sin, and He is leading us to the New Jerusalem.
In today’s passage, Joshua, the high priest, is standing before the Angel of the Lord as if for judgment. At his right-hand stands Satan, the Accuser, the never-ceasing accuser of God’s people. We see this scene of Satan the Accuser, at least three other places in Scripture:
“Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.’ ‘Does Job fear God for nothing” Satan replied.” Job 1:6
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32
“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus the Messiah, the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the whole World.” 1 John 2:1-2
God’s great grace and mercy is that, even though Joshua was standing next to Satan the Accuser and was wearing filthy clothes (instead of the usual spotless garments of the priesthood), God rebuked Satan before he could speak. And, He gave Joshua new clothes. As the high priest, whose job was to atone for the sin of the community, new clothes for Joshua meant forgiveness for the community. Who could ask for more? Satan is silenced, and righteousness is extended by grace. Sounds like Jesus to me!