Thursday, January 15, Zechariah 3:1-10
Zechariah was a prophet who lived and spoke to Israel during the time when Israel was returning from exile in Persia. They were rebuilding the city and the temple and trying to get back on track with a right relationship with God. The high priest of the people was named Joshua. This was not an easy time for the people, so Zechariah received a series of visions that were designed to encourage the king, the high priest, and the people to keep on the right path and not give up.
The passage for today was chosen because it ties into our main passage for the week (Matthew 3:1-17) in two ways. First, Joshua had filthy clothes and the Lord replaced them with nice, clean, party clothes. That is a symbol of what happens at baptism. The people who came to see John the Baptist were coming to repent of their sins, to be washed clean, and to get on the right track with God.
The second reason is because the Lord gave the people a vision of one who would come and bring peace to the earth. This was the Messiah, the branch, the new vine. This is a definite prophecy of the Messiah and this is why Jesus came.
Remember, the nation of Israel was supposed to be like a vineyard planted in the earth to bring the sweet fruit of God’s blessing to the world. The problem is that their fruit was never really sweet, so God had to continually prune the vine. When Jesus came, he was the new vine that would be the real deal.
We are branches of that vine and we are called each day to be cleaned (pruned) so that we can bear the fruit of God’s blessing to all people. That is the process of our daily baptism. We die to ourselves, we are washed and filled with the Spirit, and we overflow God’s love to everyone.
May you be like the priest, Joshua, and be clothed with God’s party clothes today. May you be washed and filled with God’s Spirit and bring the sweet fruit of God’s love to everyone you meet today.