Crowning the priest – what’s that all about?

Having looked at the eight visions Zechariah received from God, we now move on to more practical instructions. Practical instructions that are still pretty weird and wonderful!

Take silver and gold from the exiles Heldai, Tobijah and Jedaiah, who have arrived from Babylon. Go the same day to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah. Take the silver and gold and make a crown, and set it on the head of the high priest, Joshua son of Jozadak. Tell him this is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the Lord. It is he who will build the temple of the Lord, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.’ The crown will be given to Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah and Hen son of Zephaniah as a memorial in the temple of the Lord. Those who are far away will come and help to build the temple of the Lord, and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. This will happen if you diligently obey the Lord your God. Zechariah 6:1o-15

Any questions? Yes, I have a few…

Why use silver and gold for this purpose when there’s a temple to be built? Surely this is a distraction, a misdirection of resources…

Why take silver and gold from these three men in particular? All we know about them is that they are exiles arrived from Babylon. Why take their wealth when they could be needed it to rebuild their own lives after their exile?

Why do all this in a private house with only four witnesses? Surely if this is a sign of some kind, it needs to be seen by all the people…

Why put this crown on the head of the priest and not the king? Surely it is the king Zerubbabel who deserves the crown…

When God talks about Joshua being the Branch and building the temple and sitting on the throne, clothed in majesty, surely this is Jesus God’s talking about here, not Joshua? Joshua is the Hebrew for Jesus, after all…

Why make a crown for Joshua and then take it away to be kept safely in the temple?

OK, well let’s strip all this back and see what we can learn from the answer to some of these questions…

God knows what He’s doing. It may not make sense to us in the short term, but God has the overview of the whole of history and it will all make perfect sense in the end.

Everything we have is God’s and of his own, do we give Him. Anything we have has been given to us to be used for God’s purposes and given up for God when He requires it. We need to hold loosely to all that we have.

Everyone has a role to play in God’s perfect plan for the world. Those who are returning from exile, coming back in from the cold, rebuilding their lives from the ruins – they can serve God and have a significant part to play too.

It is Joshua who needs to see the symbolism in this act. No one else. It’s directed at him. He needs to understand the importance of his role in the rebuilding of the temple and the significance of the priest-king who is to come.

This combining of priest and king will come to completion in the person of Jesus. He will be our priest and our king. I can’t say this any better than this song that has become a significant song in my family – we had it at our wedding and then at both my mum’s and my dad’s funerals. The words are deeply significant to me and explain the whole priest-king thing better than I ever could.

Give Him the glory, and honour His name
He reigns on high, enthroned in the heavens
Word of the Father, exalted for us

We have a hope that is steadfast and certain
Gone through the curtain and touching the throne
We have a Priest who is there interceding
Pouring His grace on our lives day by day

We come to Him, our Priest and Apostle
Clothed in His glory and bearing His name
Laying our lives with gladness before Him
Filled with His Spirit, we worship the King

O Holy One, our hearts do adore You
Thrilled with Your goodness, we give You our praise
Angels in light with worship surround Him
Jesus, our Saviour, forever the same  Wendy Churchill

Sit with these words today. They are truly mind-blowing! We forget. We take far too much for granted.

Maybe like Joshua, we need a nudge today to fully take in the significance of Jesus our priest-king.

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