“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.” (Zechariah 12:10)
When the shepherds looked into the manger on that first Christmas, they saw the salvation of God. Salvation is in a Person and that One is Jesus Christ. He had come for the express purpose of sacrificing His life to atone for sins. The cradle and the cross are ever connected. The means by which the Lamb of God would redeem us at Calvary was foreordained, but the sin of rejecting the Messiah was the free choice of sinful Israel.
We witness both Divine sovereignty and human responsibility in Acts 2:22-23, “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death….” The Roman government ordered Christ’s execution and their legionnaires nailed Him to the tree, but it was the hatred of the Jews that demanded it. That is why the prophet Zechariah speaks of Jesus as the One whom “the inhabitants of Jerusalem…pierced.” Theologically, the reality is that since Christ suffered for the sins of us all, each of us may as well have been on Skull Hill with hammer and nails in our hands.
Throughout the Old Testament from Genesis to Malachi, we have the sad saga of man rejecting his Maker. Israel would be the chosen people—in a covenant relationship with God—yet, would repeatedly spurn Him. Over and again, we find them experiencing the consequences of their unfaithfulness. The prophets—and Zechariah was one of the last—would find their message rejected and the men themselves would often suffer at the hands of their countrymen. So, God at last sent His Son. That is the record of the New Testament. What did the Jews do? John puts it this way, “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.” (1:11) From the time of His birth, where He found the inn closed to His arrival, until the condemnation by the Sanhedrin, Israel had no room for Jesus. Following His resurrection, the Apostles went to the Jews first—and some heeded the call to repentance—but, most did not. They still don’t, and the chastisement they have gone through has been severe. The worst is yet to come. Zechariah 12 predicts the unparalleled suffering of Israel that is yet to be.
Today we find Jerusalem encircled by enemies. The noose is tightening. Satan’s minions in the Gentile kingdoms are bent on the genocide of the Jews. One day the Antichrist will come to the seat of world power and unleash horror on Israel. Yet, when all hope seems gone, the Blessed Hope will appear in the clouds! This same Jesus will come and Israel will mourn for the One they pierced. They will recognize Him by the nail-prints in His hands. So, all Israel will be saved (Rom.11:26). His look will be a look of forgiveness for the repentant and a look of fury to the rebellious. What determines His look hereafter is whether or not we look in faith to Him here. Bow to Him today!