Behold, the Man (2)
Behold, the Man!
Responsive Reading: Hebrews 4.14-5.10
Hymn:# 62 – Crown Him with Many Crowns
Text: Zechariah 6.9-15 – “Behold the Man whose name is the Branch!”
Introduction: May 6, 1937, radio commentator, Herbert Morrison sat at the naval airbase in Lakehurst, New Jersey waiting for the arrival of the largest airship to have ever flown in that day, the Zeppelin Hindenburg. 1000 spectators gathered with Morrison to see the mighty ship, the symbol of the advancement of man’s ingenuity, indeed a display of humanity steering his own way, free and independent, with the absence of God. As the ship, 12 hours late, finally came into view, Herbert Morrison began his comments on radio, “Toward us, like a great feather…is the Hindenburg. The members of the crew are looking down on the field ahead of them getting their glimpses of the mooring mast…” Suddenly, 300 feet above the landing area, the Hindenburg burst into flames. In exactly 32 seconds, the ship was destroyed killing 13 passengers and 22 crewmembers. Resonating with the impact of the disaster are Morrison’s words in his breathless account, “Oh the humanity!”
In those 32 seconds, what was supposed to be the symbol of German grandeur and human advancement became the expression of the fragility of human life. The plague that killed million, the cancer patient losing the hard fought battle, the teenager in the prime of life who looses his life in a car accident, all reveal that we are not the towering pillars of strength we sometimes believe we are. Death is the ultimate revelation to the reality of sin. God said, “You shall surely die!” Because of the reality of death, every man knows the penalty of sin. He is keenly aware of death continual presence from the earliest ages. The Lord asks these two questions in Zechariah 1.5 – “Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever?” The obvious answer is they died.
No man can ultimately ignore death. The tragedy is, although he knows himself to be weak and frail, man can provide no reason, no answer and no remedy. But God answers it not only by defining its cause – sin, but by offering the cure. It is God’s answer, the cure to the cry, “Oh the humanity,” that I want to direct your attention to this morning; but the answer is not in the form of an impersonal it, but the personal who. The answer is the Man Christ Jesus. I want to speak to you so that this morning you may “Behold the Man whose name is the Branch!”
The Prophecy of Zechariah is one of Encouragement. The Lord Remembers is the meaning of Zechariah’s name and it succinctly proclaims the purpose of the prophecy. Zechariah perfectly traces the growth of the Kingdom of God from obscurity to glory. Let me be clear. When I say the Kingdom of God, I am referring to that which is the spiritual Kingdom of God, not ethnic Israel, but spiritual Israel, the Church of Christ – that body of believers against whom not even the gates of hell shall prevail!
The Prophecy is made up of eight Night visions, an intermission concerning True Devotion and Affection to God and Two Burdens. I tell you this because the structure of the prophecy lends
From our text, I want to first examine the Symbolic Coronation and then observe the two offices of the priesthood and the kingship and finally, examine how this symbolic event prophecies the coming of the Man Christ Jesus.
I. The Symbolic Coronation
A. The command of God to coronate Joshua the High Priest was a quite peculiar act to the people of God. Joshua is the High Priest being crowned as King. What was so peculiar about this? God had distinctly separated the functions of the priesthood and the monarchy.
1. Priest – Came from the tribe of Levi and specifically, the family of Aaron.
2. King – Came from the tribe of Judah and specifically, the family of David.
3. The two were never to be intermingled. In other words, the priest was to be priest and the king was to be king. “You shall appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall attend to their priesthood; but the outsider who comes near shall be put to death.” 2 Chronicles 26.4-5, 16-21
B. After witnessing such an event, surely there would have been questions, what does this mean? How is this possible? What is the significance of this act? The Lord graciously provides the explanation. As He has done through all 8 visions He does again here. We find it by the declaration “He shall.” This scene is often referred to as an addendum to the 8 Night Visions. I would rather view it as a strong conclusion to the message of this prophecy of Zechariah.
Our text reveals Four Realities of the Messiah, the Man Christ Jesus: Who He is, where He is from, What He does and What the Result of what He does is.
I. Who He Is
“Then speak to him, saying, thus says the Lord of hosts, saying: ‘Behold the Man whose name is Branch!’”
A. Behold the Man – Why does the Lord say it this way? I think we can find the answer in why it is Joshua that is crowned king and not Zerubbabel being anointed High Priest. The King is representative of God to the people. When Israel told Samuel they wanted a king, what did God tell Samuel? “They have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.” The High Priest was a mediator. The mediator was one who was the intercessor, the reconciler between God and man. In order for him to be a mediator he would of necessity have to be human. The problem was there was no mediator who was able to go to God – except this Man.
1 Timothy 2.5 – “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.”
1. The attention is not being drawn to Joshua, but to the Messiah.
2. It is significant that the Lord says, “The Man.” Man is frail, weak and without strength because of sin. Sin has fixed its hold on him and death is its reward. Hebrews 5
B. The Man’s name is Branch or sprout. His origin is like any other man. There are no geniuses born anything other than babies. This is typical of God’s ways. He begins with nothing and brings it to maturity. He comes in something small and in weakness. What begins as small and insignificant grows by the Spirit of God. Nothing in the work of God starts out with great significance and strength. “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts.”
C. It has always been remarkable to me what Luke says in Luke 2.52, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Nothing that God is involved in starts out fully mature, so don’t despise the day of small things. God gives the increase.
II. Where He is From
“From His place He shall branch out.”
- From His place – His place was from among men. He came as every human does, as a baby. Born to a woman, He was needful of everything from her, nourishment, comfort and assurance. He grew learning as He went. Christ experienced everything of a human life, including temptation, suffering and death. He saw evil and experienced evil. It is fascinating to see the sheer humanness of Christ.
- Matthew 9.35-36; Luke 19.41-44 and John 11.32-35 Oh, the humanity that is displayed in the Man Jesus. Indeed, He is fully God. “He was appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person.” The same writer who declared this about the Lord Jesus also declared that “we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
Conclusion: Every man lives his life in fragility. Our frailty comes to an ultimate end in death. All men are appointed to die and then be judged. The Man Christ Jesus died on the cross declaring “It is finished.” He was buried. Three days later He rose again and now sits at the right hand of the Father with all things under His feet. There is an answer and God says that you can know it. “You shall know that the Lord has sent Me to you. And this shall come to pass if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.” What shall come to pass? The Lord Jesus will come as Messiah. No. Obviously, the Jews did not obey and the Lord still came, but what shall come to pass is you knowing that the Lord has sent “Me to you,” if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God. If you believe on Him and His finished work, He has done it all. “For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’” Trust Him now.