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Bible Commentaries

Sermon Bible Commentary

Zechariah 12

Verse 1

Zechariah 12:1

I. The Creator of the heavens and earth and the spirit of man has an Israel. The idea of Israel is fellowship with God, and power with God gained in and by that fellowship. Man is haunted by a something issuing from heaven and earth that will not let him rest. A living world is round him, material, but full of spiritual suggestion, inviting him to seek God, and waking him up again when he grows dull and hard. It seems a necessity to man, when beaten and pressed down by these forces, to which he yet knows himself superior, to cry for help to the Maker of all. One so deeply conscious of the need of help cannot but seek help from the God whom He has found. And this asking, so inevitable, cannot be a futile thing. If asking be a necessity with the spirit that has communion with God, there must be room and need for it on the side of God. God's Israel consists of those who seek Him, and by seeking have power with Him.

II. God has a word for His Israel. Neither the heavens, nor the earth, nor the spirit of a man take the place of a word. They are each a revelation. But they are fuller of questions than of answers. The heart of man needs a word. It is only in words that there is definiteness. One of the grand distinguishing peculiarities of man is that he employs words. By these he reaches the fulness of his being. He makes all shadowy and vague things firm and abiding by words. And shall not God meet him on this highest platform? A word of God is a necessity to the human soul. There cannot be an Israel without a word. God has a word to Israel which makes fellowship close and confiding. The word refreshes the weary soul. It directs and cheers. It has a human tone, while it is Divine. The word gives man the necessary clue to the interpretation of the universe and himself.

III. God's word to Israel is a burden. (1) It is a burden by reason of the weight of its ideas. (2) It is a burden of momentousness and obligation. (3) It is a burden which is easier to bear in whole than in part. (4) It is a burden which removes every other load.

J. Leckie, Sermons Preached at Ibrox, p. 21.

Reference: Zechariah 12:8 . T. B. Baker, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. iii., p. 187.

Verses 9-14

Zechariah 12:9-14

(Zechariah 13:1-6 )

I. Here is, first, a remarkable national repentance remarkable on account of its supposed exciting cause. It presents, indeed, a direct inversion of the state of things generally depicted in the Old Testament Scriptures; for while, generally, we are shown a people subdued to repentance under the pressure of misery and suffering, and then raised, as the result, to heights of prosperity, our seer gives us the spectacle of a people whose repentance is produced by prosperity, who, being delivered from their straits and hardships, and brought forth into a large place, are thereby awakened to a sense of fault, and laid low in the dust of contrition. Sorrow and disaster, whether by inducing a humbler temper and self-estimate, or by giving an impression of wrath and punishment, or by desolating the external scene and driving the heart in upon itself, is often the means of rousing men to a recognition and conviction of their sins. Is it not, however, a finer thing, and the sign of a finer nature, when good fortune provokes earnest thoughts with regard to duty and our imperfect discharge of it; when, the more life smiles for us and brings up of pleasantness and beautiful possession, the more we yearn to be deserving? And such was the nobler disposition which Zechariah dreamt of being manifested in his countrymen.

II. Observe, secondly, our prophet's vision of the results of the repentance which he pictures. He beheld it prevailing to expiate the transgressions that had been committed prevailing to secure absolution and forgiveness. "In that day" that day of general and profound mourning "there shall be a fountain opened," etc. You will remember Cowper's once oft-sung hymn, "There is a fountain filled with blood." Cowper's hymn war professedly based upon this passage; it was from this passage that he got his idea of the guilt-cleansing fountain of Christ's blood; yet, instead of a fountain filled with the blood of an atoning victim, what the Jewish writer had evidently in his mind was a fountain filled with the tears of the people's genuine and deep contrition. He saw Heaven's pardon granted at once to repentance, without need of any slaughtered victim to assist in procuring it. "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin" by quickening to repentance.

III. Our prophet beheld, further, issuing from that day of great mourning, a diffused spirit of consecration to the worship and service of Jehovah. Before that spirit idolatry quietly disappeared, like winter before the growing breath of spring, or mists before the climbing sun, with all inclination towards it, all hankering after it the names of the idols remembered no more.

IV. The prophet seems to trace the gradually completed purification of the country to the spirit cherished and reigning in its homes. It is to the family we must always look for the saving of society; from thence comes its regeneration, or its corruption and decay.

S. A. Tipple, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxiii., p. 237.

Verse 10

Zechariah 12:10

I. In this passage Christ is not speaking of His actual crucifiers, but only of their children or descendants. But these children or descendants are described as the parties who pierced the Saviour; and not only so, but it is evident from the form of the expression that they should consider themselves as chargeable with so atrocious a crime. This personal appropriation of the guilt of crucifying Christ is required of us just as much as it will be of the reinstated Jews. It is virtually to deny that we have the same corrupt nature to take for granted that we should have shunned with abhorrence all participation in their crime. The right course is to take the guilt upon ourselves, to consider the Jews as simply our representatives, to regard the Redeemer as One whom we ourselves betrayed and crucified and pierced.

II. Notice the close connection between receiving "the spirit of grace and supplications" and the looking on Him whom we ourselves have pierced. If there were once wrought in men a hearty desire to pray, if men were but made to feel that they have alienated themselves from God by their iniquities, they would set themselves to seek forgiveness, and would be ready to close delightedly with the proffers of the Gospel, admitting the suitableness of its arrangements and admiring their graces. Moved by the spirit of supplication, they would feel that unless there be a Cross at whose feet to fall in vain will they cry, "God be merciful to me a sinner."

III. Sooner or later, we must look on Him whom we have pierced, and it is wholly dependent on our looking on Him in this our day of probation whether it shall be with terror or with joy that we look on Him in the day of retribution.

H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 1,583.

References: Zechariah 12:10 . Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. x., No. 575 vol. xxiii., No. 1362; Ibid., My Sermon Notes: Ecclesiastes to Malachi, pp. 380-2.Zechariah 12:12-14 . Ibid., p. 384.Zechariah 12:0 W. Lindsay Alexander Homiletic Magazine, vol. x., p. 224.Zechariah 12:0 , Zechariah 13:0 Expositor, 3rd series, vol. iv., p. 335.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Zechariah 12". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/sbc/zechariah-12.html.