A. Brother
©2010 Narrowgate Publishing

            “’I am going to bring My Servant, the Branch.  See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua!  There are seven eyes on that One Stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day’.
          ‘In that day each of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and fig tree,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”  --Zech. 3:8-10

            The Branch, who is the Lord Jesus Christ, came to take away the sins of the people called by God in a single day.  He did this on the cross.
            But Christ is also a large stone, a stumbling block, to those who would have their sins removed.  He is the all-seeing Stone, who knows whether each one who comes to Him has truly repented and left self behind. 
            Those who truly follow Jesus, becoming living stones in the new Temple of God, not built with human hands, will have new hearts.  And our new hearts will be full of love for others, as God’s heart is full of love for every person on earth.
            This new heart is clearly shown here.  Those whose sins have been forgiven immediately invite their neighbors over to sit under their vines and fig trees. 
            This teaching is so profound, but overlooked because it is so simple.

            When a man turns to Christ, He becomes a new person, full of love for others instead of hatred, distrust or bitterness.  He opens his heart and life up to others, and begins to show them hospitality, friendliness, and love.  He shares his home, and his land and his provision with them, giving out of kindness. 
            A simple test that many of us fail.
            We are to love as Christ loved, giving ourselves for others.  When we, deeply sinful and flawed people, have our sin taken away by the selfless act of Jesus on the cross, how can we not embrace all around us with that love?

            Christ was a stumbling block to the Jews because they looked for religious acts as their way to salvation.
            “Jesus looked directly at them and asked, ‘Then what is the meaning of that which is written:  “The stone which the builders rejected has become the Capstone?”
          ‘Everyone who falls on that Stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.’”  --Luke 20:17,18

          Jesus came to give simple faith and love, and that is all He requires.  He is the Stone that so many reject because they want religion.  He offers love for God and for our neighbors.
            Jesus says, “I came to take away your sins, and to give you love that will cause you to open your lives to one another.  I call you to come sit under My vine, and under My fig tree.  Do the same for your neighbor!”



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