7th December – Zechariah 6:12-13
The prophet Zechariah had returned to Jerusalem after many years of exile. The city walls had been rebuilt, and work was about to start on restoring the temple, the dwelling place of the God of Israel here on Earth. God blessed him with a prophecy which spoke not only to the people of the time, but also pointed to the way God would deal with the sin in this world once and for all.
Joshua was the high priest at the time, and he was to be set as the ruler over Judah. He would unite the two thrones, one representing the kingdom, and the other the priesthood. The spiritual leader would also be the ruler of the nation bringing God’s authority to the crown.
But this prophecy also looks to the coming of the Messiah. The imagery in verse 12, “Here is the man whose name is the branch” reminds me of John 15: 5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Zechariah goes on to say “…and he will branch out from this place and build the temple of the Lord.” For Joshua that meant the dwelling of the God of Israel here on Earth; and for us today, we have the same promise. We, the people of God, are the living stones that have been built by the power of the Holy Spirit into the church. When we accept Jesus as King and High Priest in our lives, God dwells within us, and we in him. We become the dwelling place on earth, together built into the Church of Christ.
So this prophecy is not only about Joshua, it is about Jesus, and you and I are the branches that have been built into the temple, unified under the rule of our King and High Priest.
Lord Jesus, You are the true vine, and we are the branches. You are our High Priest and our King and we bow before your throne to praise and worship you. Remind us of the wonderful grace which rescued us from sin, and the power of your spirit that dwells within us, so that we see how important it is for us to reach out to our neighbour and witness to your saving power. As your branches, we long to bear you much fruit by sharing your love with those people we meet so that they would become living stones built into your temple. Lord, build your kingdom here.