“Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, ‘Take away the filthy garments from him.’ And to him He said, ‘See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.’”
We cannot be certain of the attire of the King of Israel or that of a common housewife, but we do have a detailed description of the clothing worn by the high priest. Scripture goes into great lengths to describe the artistically woven garments he would wear whenever serving around the Temple. It must have been quite a shock to Zechariah when he saw a vision of Joshua the high priest clothed in filthy garments. I am sure the words of the prophet Isaiah came to mind,
Isaiah 64:6 “But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags…”
The dirty clothes on Joshua were a picture of his sin. They revealed that even his best attempts at righteousness fell short of the perfection, required to access the presence of God. It was at this moment that Zechariah witnessed one of the most glorious events in all of Scripture. First, Jesus silenced the accusing tongue of Satan, then He replaced Joshua’s filthy garments with robes of righteousness, and finally He declared that this was done as a sign.
All of us have fallen short of the standard required to enter heaven, or to have fellowship with God. One sin was enough to remove Adam and Eve from the garden, and we are guilty of too many to count. The glorious truth of the cross is that we can have our sins replaced with His righteousness, and be clothed with garments that give us access to the throne room of heaven.
No matter how big, small, or often, we have sinned, the only solution for having it removed is Christ. He alone can replace our filthy garments with His robes of righteousness.