The Storyline of Christmas (Advent 2021, Week 4)
By J. Aaron White
Advent is a special time as we, the body of Christ, contemplate the Incarnation and eagerly await the second coming of our Lord. During our Sunday services, we will read excerpts from Scripture and light the corresponding Advent candles. In addition to this, we will send a weekly blog that unpacks the concept from Sunday's reading a little further. We pray that these blogs serve you in your personal devotions, family worship, etc. as you see God's sovereign power at work in the storyline of Christmas!
Reading – Zechariah 3:1-5
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD was standing by.
The storyline of Christmas has shown us that God promised to send a snake-crushing Passover Lamb who would also be a gracious and merciful king. He adopts sinners into his family and allows them to feast at his table. Near the end of the Old Testament record, the prophet Zechariah is given a stunning vision, one that builds our anticipation of the arrival of the promised Redeemer. Zechariah shows us that, like Joshua, the Savior will remove our sin and clothe us with his righteous robes. And like Joshua, we are not saved by earning his grace; it is received as a gift.
The promise of a snake-crushing Redeemer echoes in this passage as the Lord silences Satan, the accuser. The Savior that we long for will break the fangs of the serpent and save his people from the charges leveled against them. In his Christmas classic, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Charles Wesley wrote the following:
Come, desire of nations, come, fix in us thy humble home; rise, the woman’s conquering seed, bruise in us the serpent’s head…Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface, stamp thine image in its place: Second Adam from above, reinstate us in thy love. Let us thee, though lost, regain, thee, the Life, the inner man: Oh, to all thyself impart, formed in each believing heart.
We light this candle with hope and joy, knowing that the Redeemer will come and clothe his people in his righteousness.