“Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel. Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, ‘Take away the filthy garments from him.’ And to him He said, ‘See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.’ And I said, ‘Let them put a clean turban on his head.’ So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the LORD stood by.” ~ Zechariah 3:3-5
Joshua, the high priest for God’s chosen people, stood in the presence of God the Father and God the Son, “clothed with filthy garments”.
“But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” ~ Isaiah 64:6
In this vision shown to Zechariah, we are given a picture of how we look before God, on our own merit, in our own righteousness “like filthy rags”, “clothed with filthy garments”.
Thankfully, when we come humbly before God “clothed with filthy garments”, He doesn’t throw us out from His presence or expect us to clean ourselves up. When we come to belief in Jesus, He accepts us as we are, and then HE cleans us up.
Isn’t it wonderful to see this picture of how Jesus “cleans us up”? He ordered the filthy garments removed. He ordered the clean turban and clothes to be put upon Joshua. He told Joshua that He had removed his iniquity from him.
Though Jesus had not yet come as Messiah and Saviour, He still supervised the cleansing of Joshua. And when He died on the cross, He paid the price for Joshua’s sins. For everyone’s sins. For every single person who has ever lived or who will ever live. The price, the penalty of death, has been paid. All we have to do is receive this amazing gift given to us. Our debt was paid in full. Do we accept that payment, or do we refuse it and pay it on our own? Oh dear ones, accept the free gift, by God’s grace (unearned, undeserved mercy and love and forgiveness) through faith in Jesus!
The turban that Zechariah urged them to put on Joshua’s head was designed especially for the high priest, with a golden plate engraved with the words, “HOLINESS TO THE LORD”. He was set apart for God, and as the high priest, on the people’s behalf before God.
Jesus is our high priest, on our behalf before God, and we are clothed in His “HOLINESS TO THE LORD”.
Jesus took away our sins when He died for us on the cross. When we come to Him, by grace through faith, He forgives us and takes away our filthy garments. And then He dresses us in “rich robes” of His righteousness. We are then clean, acceptable, and sanctified, set apart for God.
“Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, and let Your saints shout for joy.” ~ Psalm 132:9
” ‘He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before my Father and before His angels.’ ” ~ Revelation 3:5
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:21
“and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;” ~ Philippians 3:9
“not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,” ~ Titus 3:5
“who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness– by whose stripes you were healed.” ~ 1 Peter 2:24
Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Death had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow
~ from the hymn “Jesus Paid It All” by Elvina Hall and John T. Grape