By Henry Mahan
Zechariah 12:10; 13:1
Charles Spurgeon (minister to London for 38 years) wrote, 'In this scripture, first of all, there is a prophecy concerning the Jewish people; and I am happy that it confirms our hearts in the belief of the good which the Lord shall do to Israel. We know of a surety, because the Lord has said it, that the Jews will be restored to their own land and that they shall inherit the country which the Lord has given to their fathers by a covenant forever.
But, better still, they shall be converted to the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ and shall see in him that Messiah for whom their fathers looked with joyful expectation, that Redeemer of whom the prophets spoke, but who was despised and rejected by his own. Happy day, when not only the Gentiles but the Jews will be found worshipping the Lord Jesus Christ, our great Redeemer and High Priest. We have the promise, and we expect the fulfillment when the due season arrives. Israel shall own her King!'
I intend to use the text as it speaks to us, true spiritual Israel (Gal. 3: 7, 29); and it does speak to us on a very vital issue-- repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:20-21). One cannot have faith without repentance nor repentance without faith; yet most repentance and true mourning over sin comes from first seeing Christ Jesus in his holiness, his power, and his sacrifice. Was this not true of Isaiah? (Isa. 6:1-5) and of Job? (Job 42:4-6).
It is difficult to say which is first, repentance or faith; but one writer said, 'More repentance is produced by faith than faith by repentance.' The more we see of Christ, the more we see of ourselves; and this sight produces true worship, true repentance, true faith, and true salvation (John 6:40). He is worthy of the adoration and worship of those who have never sinned (as the angels). When we make him only the saviour from sin and praise him only because he saves us from sin, we do not properly understand his Lordship. He is Lord of heaven and earth! When Isaiah saw his glory, he spoke of him (John 12:41). Let's look at five divisions in these two verses of scripture.
1. 'I will pour out upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication.' (12:10)
As I stated in the introduction, this prophecy first not only refers to the nation of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but also to the seed of Abraham by faith. 'He is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; he is a Jew which is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart and spirit' (Rom. 2:28-29). The promise of grace and salvation was to Abraham and his seed, which is Christ and all who are in Christ by Divine purpose and God-given faith (Gal. 3:16). In Christ the Father has chosen and blessed a people of every tribe, nation, and tongue (Eph. 1:3-6; Rev. 7:9). All 'true Israel' shall be saved (Rom. 11:26). All that the Father has given to Christ shall be called, justified, and glorified (John 6:37-39; Rom. 8:29-30). He will indeed pour out the Spirit of grace, regeneration, supplication, and mercy (sure mercies) on the House of David and the inhabitants of the 'heavenly Jerusalem' (Heb. 12:22-23; Gal. 4:26).
2. 'And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced.' (12:10)
Our Lord said in Isa. 45:22, 'Look upon me; look unto me, all the ends of the earth! Look unto me and be saved! Look unto me for I am God!'
I suppose when we say, 'Look to Christ,' or 'Look upon Christ,' this puzzles a lot of people. One will say, 'If Christ were in Jerusalem, I would sell out and go look upon and listen to him.' Another might say, 'If Christ were here today, I would sit at his feet and look upon him.' Oh, my friends, like Nicodemus, we are bound to the flesh. 'How can I be born again, shall I enter my mother's womb?' Our saving connection with Christ has nothing to do with our natural eyes, ears, and hands, but with the mind and heart. It is to hear him in the mind, look to him in the will, love and believe him in the heart.
One does not need a college degree to look! You may not be able to read, but you can look; you may be destitute of virtue, but you can look; you may have no merit, but you can look.
Looking only requires my personal interest and attention.
Another can pray for me, but no one can look for me. I must look to him myself. I look not to his disciples, his church, nor his law; 1 am exhorted to look to him (Jer. 29:13). Salvation is in him (1 John 5:10-12).
3. 'Whom they have pierced.' (12:10)
Who sent our Lord to the tree? What held him on the cross? It was not the nails, nor human weakness, nor the soldiers.
''Twas you, my sins, my cruel sins,
his chief tormentors were;
each of my crimes became a nail,
and unbelief the spear.' (Isaac Watts)
He knew no sin, not merely that he had no sin. He was acquainted with grief, but not with sin.
He was made sin for us and treated by the Father as if he were sin itself. 'Nail him to the tree, for sin must be punished; and he is numbered with the transgressors!' So when the charge is brought, 'Who crucified Christ?' I reply, 'It pleased the Father to pierce him for my sins' (Isa. 53:4-6).
4. 'And they shall mourn.' (12:10)
True mourning for sin has a distinct and constant reference to the Lord Jesus. If I hate sin because I am exposed, I have not repented; I merely regret that I have been found out. If I hate sin because of judgment and hell, I have not repented; I merely regret that God is just. But if I see sin as a hateful offense against my Lord, and I see my sin as crucifying him, then I mourn with a truly broken and repentant heart (Psalm 51:3-4).
True mourning is a great bitterness, as one mourns the death of his firstborn. Someone said,
'Lord, let me weep for naught but sin
and after none but thee;
then I would--oh, that I might
a constant weeper be.'
A broken heart over sin is a work of the Spirit of God and will be healed (Psalm 51:17; 34:18).
5. 'In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.' (13:1)
Could this be the verse which inspired William Cowper to write that great and blessed hymn?
'There is a fountain filled with blood
drawn from Immanuel's veins;
and sinners plunged beneath that flood
lose all their guilty stains.
Dear dying Lamb, thy precious blood
shall never lose its power
'til all the ransomed church of God
be saved to sin no more.'
The phrase 'in that day' can refer to several times.
That fountain was opened when God purposed to save us.
That fountain was opened to all Old Testament believers.
That fountain was opened when our Lord died.
That fountain was opened when we believed.
Thank God, that fountain will still be open in the great day of our Lord; for we have been saved, by his grace are being saved, and our salvation is nearer than when we believed; and the whole of the redemptive work is because he loved us and gave himself for us (Rev. 5: 9-10).