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Light and Truth: The Old Testament: Chapter 81 - Looking to the Pierced One

By Horatius Bonar


      "They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born." -- Zechariah 12:10

      LET us take up this passage under the following heads, which will bring out all its parts: (1.) the pierced one; (2.) the piercers; (3.) the lookers; (4.) the mourners.

      I. The pierced one. Messiah,--the seed of the woman; the man with the bruised heel; he is the pierced one. It is He, Himself, who speaks. He was pierced by the nails and by the spear; by the nails to effect his death, by the spear to prove it; both of these, the exhibitions of man's hatred, before and after death. It is as the pierced one that we see him in the twenty-second Psalm and in the fifty-third of Isaiah; as such on the cross; as such in heaven, the Lamb slain. Divine yet human; human yet divine; both of these perfectly; human, that he might be pierced; divine, that his piercing might be efficacious. By his stripes we are healed.

      II. The piercers. These in the first place are the Jews and the Romans, at the cross; Jew and Gentile uniting in this act, the Jew the planner and counsellor, the Gentile the executioner. It was the united hatred of Jew and Gentile that did the deed. The crowd surrounding the cross, they are consenting and partaking,--and all to whom the proclamation of this piercing comes, who do not come out from the crowd and protest against the deed by believing in the pierced one. In this way it is that all the world is guilty of the deed.

      III. The lookers. In one sense the first piercers were lookers. They looked and pierced; they pierced and looked. But that looking wrought no change; they looked and hated only the more. Jew and Gentile then looked, but they remained the same. The lookers in our text are not those who surrounded the cross, but those who came afterwards, not looking at the actual cross, but listening to the story of the pierced one. How idly they talk who say, Had we seen the cross we should have been melted down! At Pentecost we find these lookers; in many places, and times, and ages we find them; we find them still. In the latter day our text is to be more fully verified to Jew and Gentile, "Behold he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him," i.e., look upon him. The whole world shall be lookers then,--"every eye." In our day we may say that it is by the ear we look; it is the record that brings the cross before the eye, and presents to us the pierced one. We preach the story of the cross and say, Look!

      IV. The mourners. The actual piercers at the cross did not mourn; they railed and wagged their heads; the sight of the pierced one then produced only hatred and mockery. A man might see the cross and remain hardhearted. The cross and the crucifix in themselves can do nothing for a soul. Yet the pierced one is the object to which God turns our eye. It is of him that the Holy Spirit makes use in breaking the hard heart and binding up the broken one. He does not work save in connection with the cross of Christ. He uses the cross for producing godly sorrow. Mark,

      1. The sorrow here referred to is very deep. It is like mourning for an only son; it is like the bitterness of soul for a first-born. It is not the sorrow of a moment or an hour, but prolonged; not surface-sorrow, but deep; not sentimentalism, but genuine grief,--the grief of the whole man.

      2. It is sorrow produced by the Holy Spirit. His hand is in it, else we might look a thousand times over at the cross and remain unmoved. It is not the sorrow produced by pictures, or statues, or the sight of Sinai or Jerusalem, or harrowing descriptions, or sad poetry, or plaintive music, like the "Miserere" of Rome, or by the darkness of a gloomy chamber,--these are artificial and mechanical ways of calling up apparent religious feeling; but it is only the sorrow of the world which worketh death, not godly sorrow working repentance unto life, nor is it even so deep as that of Judas when he said, "I have sinned." It is man-made conviction, if it be conviction at all, not the sorrow of the Holy Ghost.

      3. It is sorrow flowing from looking at the pierced one. We do not first mourn and then look; we look and mourn. Not the one without the other; and not the mourning before the looking. Many, in their self-righteousness, would first mourn, and then carry their mourning to God as a recommendation. But there is no sorrow genuine save that which flows directly from looking at the pierced one. What do we see in this pierced one that produces such a result?

      (1.) We see infinite love. This melts the heart and draws tears from the eyes. It is love that is bleeding on that cross.

      (2.) We see our own rejection of that love. We have long been rejecters, despisers of it. Our years of rejection come up before us and fill us with bitterness. What, so long despise such love!

      (3.) We see suffering. It is suffering beyond all suffering of man. It is the suffering of love. The sufferer is love itself. He suffers because he loves. He loves and suffers!

      (4.) We see that suffering caused by ourselves. We not only rejected the love, but we nailed the loving sufferer to the tree. This is sin; this is our sin. We are the murderers. We hated, mocked, nailed, slew. Oh,

      What sin is ours;
            and what must sin be!
      Yet hear his voice,
      "Look unto me,
            and be ye saved!"

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See Also:
   Preface
   Chapter 1 - The Old and New Creation
   Chapter 2 - The Link Between Being and Non-Being
   Chapter 3 - A Happy World
   Chapter 4 - The Sin, the Sinner, and the Sentence
   Chapter 5 - Man's Fig-Leaves
   Chapter 6 - Expulsion and Re-Entrance
   Chapter 7 - The Blood of Sprinkling and the Blood of Abel
   Chapter 8 - The Way of Cain
   Chapter 9 - The Man of Rest
   Chapter 10 - Going Out and Keeping Out
   Chapter 11 - The Shield and the Recompense
   Chapter 12 - Liberty and Service
   Chapter 13 - The Day of Despair
   Chapter 14 - The Blood of Deliverance
   Chapter 15 - How God Deals with Sin and the Sinner
   Chapter 16 - The Fire Quenched
   Chapter 17 - The Vision from the Rocks
   Chapter 18 - The Doom of the Double-Hearted
   Chapter 19 - Be Not Borderers
   Chapter 20 - The Outlines of a Saved Sinner's History
   Chapter 21 - Divine Longings Over the Foolish
   Chapter 22 - What a Believing Man Can Do
   Chapter 23 - Song of the Putting Off of the Armour
   Chapter 24 - The Kiss of the Backslider
   Chapter 25 - The Priestly Word of Peace
   Chapter 26 - Human Anodynes
   Chapter 27 - Spiritual and Carnal Weapons
   Chapter 28 - Divine Silence and Human Despair
   Chapter 29 - Jewish Unbelief and Gentile Blessing
   Chapter 30 - The Restoration of the Banished
   Chapter 31 - The Farewell Gift
   Chapter 32 - God's Dealing with Sin and the Sinner
   Chapter 33 - God Finding a Resting-Place
   Chapter 34 - The Moriah Group
   Chapter 35 - Diverse Kinds of Conscience
   Chapter 36 - The Soul Turning from Man to God
   Chapter 37 - Man's Dislike of a Present God
   Chapter 38 - True and False Consolation
   Chapter 39 - Gain and Loss for Eternity
   Chapter 40 - Man's Misconstruction of the Works of God
   Chapter 41 - The Two Cries and the Two Answers
   Chapter 42 - The Knowledge of God's Name
   Chapter 43 - Deliverance from Deep Waters
   Chapter 44 - The Excellency of the Divine Loving-Kindness
   Chapter 45 - The Sickness, the Healer, and the Healing
   Chapter 46 - The Consecration of Earth's Gold and Silver
   Chapter 47 - The Gifts of the Ascended One
   Chapter 48 - The Speaker, the Listener, the Peace
   Chapter 49 - The Believing Man's Confident Appeal
   Chapter 50 - The Love and the Deliverance
   Chapter 51 - The Sin and Folly of Being Unhappy
   Chapter 52 - The Book of Books
   Chapter 53 - The Secret of Deliverance from Evil
   Chapter 54 - The Voice of the Heavenly Bridegroom
   Chapter 55 - The Love that Passeth Knowledge
   Chapter 56 - The Vision of the Glory
   Chapter 57 - Man's Extremity and Satan's Opportunity
   Chapter 58 - The Day of Clear Vision to the Dim Eyes
   Chapter 59 - The Unfainting Creator and the Fainting Creature
   Chapter 60 - The Knowledge that Justifies
   Chapter 61 - The Heritage and its Title-Deeds
   Chapter 62 - The Meeting Between the Sinner and God
   Chapter 63 - God's Love and God's Way of Blessing
   Chapter 64 - Divine Jealousy for the Truth
   Chapter 65 - Divine Love and Human Rejection of it
   Chapter 66 - God's Desire to Bless the Sinner
   Chapter 67 - The Resting-Place Forgotten
   Chapter 68 - The Day that Will Right all Wrongs
   Chapter 69 - The Glory and the Love
   Chapter 70 - False Religion and its Doom
   Chapter 71 - No Breath No Life
   Chapter 72 - Every Christian a Teacher
   Chapter 73 - Work, Rest, and Recompence
   Chapter 74 - Human Heedlessness and Divine Remembrance
   Chapter 75 - Lies the Food of Man
   Chapter 76 - The Love and the Calling
   Chapter 77 - The Anger and the Goodness
   Chapter 78 - Darkness Pursuing the Sinner
   Chapter 79 - Jerusalem the Centre of the World's Peace
   Chapter 80 - Jerusalem and Her King
   Chapter 81 - Looking to the Pierced One
   Chapter 82 - The Holiness of Common Things
   Chapter 83 - Wearying Jehovah with our Words
   Chapter 84 - Dies Irae

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