“And again another Scripture says, ‘They shall look on Him whom they pierced.’ ” John 19:37
As the apostle John recorded the events of the crucifixion, the Holy Spirit inspired him to record this partial quote of a verse from the book of Zechariah to confirm how the Messiah “died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” (1 Cor. 15:3b) This quote is found in Zechariah 12:10.
The complete verse reads: “And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born.” The partial quote of this verse offers another proof of the Old Testament prophesies concerning the Messiah’s death. The full context of this verse and those that follow (Zech. 12: 11-13:1) provides a great opportunity for the faithful to see completely the LORD’s foreshadowed plan of salvation in the death of Jesus Christ. Let’s consider first the Hebrew understanding of an only son, a first born. In the Hebrew culture, the preservation and perpetuation of the family were greatly valued. Through the son would come the seed of future generations. The first-born son was the one designated to lead the family and would receive a double portion among the inheritance. To lose a first born son who was also an only son, would be devastating and elicit bitter lamentation as noted by Zechariah. Now let’s contemplate this spirit of grace and supplication. The Spirit that is to be poured out as mentioned in verse ten is not the indwelling Holy Spirit as some would contend, but rather the work of the Spirit convicting them of their sins. Jesus had mentioned this function of the Holy Spirit as recorded in John 16:8, “And He, when He comes (the Holy Spirit), will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment;” In the context of Zechariah’s utterances, the people would mourn not simply because this one had been pierced, but because they would realize whom had been pierced. Remember it is the Lord who is speaking saying, “they will look upon Me whom they have pierced; and will mourn for Him” The beginning of the fulfillment of this prophecy started with the preaching of the gospel of the glory of Jesus Christ on the day of Pentecost via the mouth of Peter. Who moved Peter to preach the message? Was it not the Holy Spirit? Yes! What did Peter do? He quoted Old Testament scriptures which the Spirit had previously moved men to record thus confirming for the house of David (those in leadership) and the people of Jerusalem, to look and see, according to prophecy, whom they had pierced-the Messiah, the Son of God! Consequently, the Scripture says, the people were pierced to the heart (in mourning) by the conviction of the Holy Spirit! Zechariah 12:11 then states the mourning will be “like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo”, a reference to the death of king Josiah whose death was lamented for many years in Israel. (2 Chron. 35:25) The mourning of his death serves as a foreshadow of the mourning to come for the Son of God, Jesus. Zechariah 12:12-13 speaks of the spread of this great mourning “to the land”, to individual families, and finally into all the families that remain. The point offered here in this prophetic picture is that all who come to recognize Jesus as Messiah also recognize their actions (sins) led to Him being pierced, producing personal mourning and desired repentance for their part in His death. The prophecy spoke by Zechariah concerning Christ’s piercing and the associated mourning by the inhabitants of (spiritual) Jerusalem has continued to be fulfilled for approximately 2000 years now. The good news is God has offered a solution that goes along with this recognition of our culpability for the piercing of the Christ. It’s spoken of in Zech 13:1, “In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity.” Fountains are filled with water and this is a Messianic reference to a fountain opened. The New Testament teaches clearly, via the mouth of Peter, that immersion into Christ takes place in water, with the result for the one acting in faith, the forgiveness of sins and the reception of the indwelling Holy Spirit. In Zechariah’s words, we have the foreshadowed plan of salvation-faith, repentence, confession of the Son of God pierced for us, and forgiveness. Amen.