One Outta TwoÉ
ÉainŐt bad, as the saying goes, or is it two outta three? Either way, things did not turn out as planned. A mark, or two, was missed. In our nation, success is a driving motivator, and many are judged on how well they achieve the goals they have set. A basketball player who shoots 50% from three-point range, thatŐs one outta two, is phenomenal. But who would want a druggist who only fills one outta two prescriptions with the proper medication? A salesman who seals the deal 67% of the time, thatŐs with two outta three clients, would garner quite a commission, but who would commission an artist who was one third of a color palette short, to fresco the ceiling of a cathedral? Unfortunately, when eternal destiny is concerned, too many believe that God will accept any measure of human goodness.
God, however, does not accept mediocrity, because mediocrity is bred from sin. During Old Testament times, God commissioned Zechariah as His prophet and sent him to the nation of Israel with a message. The leaders had been mediocre, at best, in shepherding GodŐs people. They used the people for financial gain, even believing their fortune was a blessing from God. Zechariah served as a model of the true Messiah, a compassionate Shepherd who would restore Israel and unite the people in the future. Along with his message of mercy, Zechariah delivered a message of doom, for the kings, priests and false prophets of Israel Đ thatŐs three outta three Đ all felt they were doing a great job. God saw them all - 100% - as totally inept. They looked at externals, but God looked at their hearts.
In his role, Zechariah carried two staffs. One staff was called Beauty and the other named Bonds. Beauty represented GodŐs grace and love at MessiahŐs first coming. If the nation would repent of sin, the Messiah would Bond them in unity. But the prophet broke Beauty in half, predicting IsraelŐs rejection of Messiah, and Zechariah abandoned his flock, a picture of God breaking the conditional Mosaic covenant and removing His protective grace. It was a sorrowful depiction, but it was not the end of the road for Israel or us.
Fortunately, for Christians, GodŐs plan was to set aside Israel for a time and bestow His beauty and unity upon us. It would not be a conditional covenant where Christians strive to keep the law. No, Christians would be fresh frescoes of the grace of God. He would not accept any mediocre keeping of the law on our part. Rather, He would impute the goodness of Christ to us in justification and impart righteousness by sanctification. He has torn down the old, dry fresco which excluded us from fellowship with God and replaced it with a better covenant Đ the New Covenant. As the Shepherd of our souls, He will never leave us nor forsake us, and we are now joined with Jewish believers as one body - in Christ. And still to come is our glorification and the restoration of Israel as a nation. Three outta three is perfect!
Mountain Time Moment
By his death he ended the whole system of Jewish law that excluded the Gentiles.
His purpose was to make peace between Jews and Gentiles
by creating in himself one new person from the two groups.
Ephesians 2:15 NLT
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