Sir William Curtis, member of the British Parliament, spoke about the basic skills of a good education. Involved reading, writing and arithmetic. The 3 R’s! St. Augustine, in his book CONFESSIONS, written in 401AD, wrote, ‘For those 1st lessons, reading, writing and arithmetic…’. The 3 R’s go way back.
Reading the prophet Zechariah, you discover that the 3 R’s have inflated to 6! But this is good inflation! Zechariah chapter 3 with those 6 R’s. In verse 1, Joshua the High Priest is standing before the angel of the Lord. His priestly vestments are putrid and filthy. The original Hebrew says that they are covered with human excrement. Yuck! The angel orders the removal of those foul clothes and then to put clean ones on. Re-clothed! The 1st R!
The 2nd is a harsh rebuke to Satan who stands around, as with hands on his hips, ready to ‘rag’ on us, accuse us of whatever comes across his rotten mind. Satan accuses… but the Lord rebukes him to his face. Rebuked. The 2nd R!
Then the angel of the Lord reassures Joshua that if he carefully obeys the Lord, he’ll have significant work to do along with access to God’s holy presence. True of us as we follow Jesus. For the curtain in the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom, at the time of His crucifixion. We now have direct access to God Almighty! Reassured…invited into God’s house. The 3rd R!
Now the Lord reveals the Messiah to us, called ‘the Branch’. The One cut off from the tree who has emerged a branch as on an olive tree. Jesus is the Promised One. The Branch who will complete God’s work of salvation through the line of King David. Revealed. The 4th R!
Zechariah now sees something marvelous that God’s people have yearned for since the Fall of Adam and Eve–the removal of sin, and that happening in one day. One day! Wonder when that was? Could it have been the day of Jesus’ crucifixion? You can depend upon it! On that very day, Jesus paid the price to forgive our sins–all of them: past, present and future. What a day that was…with results going on and on into eternity! Removed. The 5th R!
Finally, the promise comes of a future hospitality when we invite our neighbors and families to sit with us under our fig trees, eating bread and drinking wine. The promise of restored abundance, sharing all this in a secure home, in a peaceful country because the Lord has once again blessed us. Restored. The 6th R!
Aren’t these the very best? All predicted hundreds of years before Christ, through the Old Testament prophet Zechariah. All fulfilled by Jesus. Our response? Maybe that’s the 7th R?! Response… of praise and thanksgiving to our wonderful God! Why not praise and thank Him right now?
Prayer: Dear God, you give us so much in your Son Jesus. Thank you for all your gifts in Him. Amen.