Zechariah 12:10-14 (ESV)
And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. The land shall mourn, each family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the Shimeites by itself, and their wives by themselves; and all the families that are left, each by itself, and their wives by themselves.
Although Zechariah spoke these words, they were the words of the Lord. Yet how could this be? How could God say, “They look on me, on him whom they have pierced?” Could God be wounded? Even more puzzling, could God be “pierced” – which indicated a killing? In other words, could God die?
Jesus Christ fulfilled this prophecy. Not only was he fully God, he was also fully man. Moreover, as the prophecy predicted, Jesus was the “only child” and “firstborn” Son of the Father (John 3:16). He died and, on the cross, he was pierced: “One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water” (John 19:34).
The prophecy, however, said more. It said that those who pierced him would mourn because God would pour out on them “a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy.” In other words, the Spirit would open their eyes to see what they had done and how grievous their sin had been. This mourning would be widespread yet intimate – “the land shall mourn, each family by itself.”
In part, this prophecy was fulfilled at Pentecost. Peter said to his listeners, “You crucified and killed [Jesus] by the hands of lawless men” (Acts 2:23). Then, upon hearing the gospel, they were “cut to the heart” and 3,000 were saved that day (Acts 2:37-41). Today, this prophecy is still being fulfilled. As the Spirit fills us with grace, we mourn over Christ’s death because we know that “he was wounded for our transgressions” (Isaiah 53:5). In our sorrow, however, we also rejoice because his death “brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
- By The Park Forum
Lord, we confess that our sin pierced Jesus. Thus, we mourn and ask you to pour out your Spirit of grace and mercy. In humility, we rejoice that your lovingkindness never fails – while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). In Christ’s Name, Amen.