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Monday, June 17th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Zechariah 13

Sermon Bible CommentarySermon Bible Commentary

Verse 1

Zechariah 13:1

I. Into this world, where the fountains were all sin and uncleanness, Messiah came. And for a while He was a fountain sealed. Within His own bosom He carried the purity of heaven, the calm consciousness of His own divinity, a great deep of gentleness and love and compassion. But that was not enough. It was not enough that He should be a holy visitor, by His surpassing sanctity pronouncing a tacit verdict on the surrounding iniquity; an angelic tourist through the realms of earth, leaving them more wretched and lonely than before. He had come not so much a visitor as a victim, not so much to sojourn as to save. Found in fashion as a man, God the Son became the kinsman of sinners, and engaged in His own Person to achieve an ample atonement for the sins of the world. It was on Calvary that the fountain sealed of incarnate love became the fountain opened of redeeming merit.

II. The fountain is open still. Fresh and efficacious and free as on the day when His mighty sacrifice was offered, the merit of Immanuel still continues. The truth concerning Jesus, published in the Bible, is the fountain opened to the world. The man who believes that truth has his sins washed away. When the muddy Arve joins the limpid Rhone, after a while the bright waters grow troubled, and at last they flow together a turbid stream. But it is not so with this fountain. However many the sins, however much the defilement which it washes away, it springs pure and pellucid as ever, and the reason is that this fountain resembles the sea. Though a limited outlet, it is a boundless tide. In Persia, says a legend, there was a fountain, and if any impurity were cast into it there was sure to be a storm the selfsame day. But here is the very converse. Over the sinner's head are lowering the dark thunderclouds of wrath Divine; but, emboldened by God's own invitation, the sinner casts his sins into the fountain opened, and the sky is clear. God's anger is turned away, and with a pleasant countenance He beholds the believing and returning transgressor.

J. Hamilton, Works, vol. vi., p. 194.

References: Zechariah 13:1 . Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xvii., No. 971; B. Isaac, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. ix., p. 37; J. N. Norton, Golden Truths, p. 355.

Verses 1-6

Zechariah 13:1-6

I. In the words "for sin and for uncleanness" there is apparently an allusion in the former to the water used in the purification of the Levites at their consecration, and in the latter to the water for the purifying of the congregation of Israel, prepared from mixing the ashes of the red heifer slain as a sacrifice with water. As water applied to the person removes bodily defilement, it becomes a fitting emblem of that which removes from the inner man moral defilement. Here the reference is to the cleansing energy which He who pours on men the spirit of grace and supplication bestows on all who truly repent, and which comes to men through the sacrificial death of Christ, whose "blood cleanseth from all sin."

II. The fountain opened, its cleansing waters are free to all to the inhabitants of Jerusalem as well as the house of David. The grace of salvation is free to all without respect of persons.

III. True repentance will show itself on the part of those who are subjects of it, in the relinquishment of all former objects of evil attachment, and the entering upon a new life of godliness and holy service. So should it be with the covenant people after the great mourning and the attendant cleansing. As the sins to which Israel was most prone, and which brought on the nation the Divine judgments, were idolatry and false prophecy, so the restoration of the people to a new life of godliness and righteousness is depicted by the extermination of idols and false prophets from the land.

IV. It is for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem that this fountain is said to be opened. They seem to err grievously, however, who infer from this that the prophecy refers to the final conversion of the Jewish people. The prophets are wont to describe the new dispensation in language borrowed from the conditions and usages of the old; and we interpret them aright when keeping this in view; we understand their descriptions not as representations of simple historical facts, but as serving as the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, and as finding their fulfilment in crises and conditions of the kingdom of heaven on earth. They go upon the presumption that the Israel of God was never to be abolished, that its continuity was never to be interrupted, that though the outward national Israel might be cast off because of their rejection of the Good Shepherd, the true Israel, the reality of which the other was but the symbol, the Israel that was really Israel, should continue for ever.

W. Lindsay Alexander, Zechariah's Visions and Warnings, p. 271; see also Homiletic Magazine, vol. x., p. 353.

Reference: R. C. Anderson, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxxii., p. 53.

Verses 7-9

Zechariah 13:7-9

I. The Person here represented as smitten by the sword of Divine justice is none other than the Messiah, the Christ. No other being but He is at once man and the fellow of Jehovah, the Lord of hosts; and He alone is the Shepherd whom God promised to set over His people Israel to feed them as a flock. Both these our Lord asserted for Himself (John 10:14 ; Matthew 26:63-64 , Matthew 27:43 ).

II. The stroke inflicted on Him. This was the deadly stroke of Divine justice. As there is but one Being to whom the description of the prophet can refer, so there is but one event to which the command here given can be understood as pointing the slaying of Him who as the Good Shepherd laid down His life for the sheep. His death was perpetrated by the "wicked hands" of men, but they were in this only the instruments by which God fulfilled His own purpose and counsel. He was a willing victim; He laid down His life of Himself, but He at the same time recognised the hand of God in the infliction, and held it as a fulfilment of the prediction here recorded.

III. The consequence to the flock of this smiting of the Shepherd. It was twofold. The sheep were to be scattered, but God was to turn back His hand over the humble and meek ones of the flock. The former of these our Lord applied to the dispersion of His disciples as consequent on His crucifixion; the other consequence was realised when the Lord, having been raised from the dead, showed Himself to individuals and to groups of them, and especially when, having, according to His promise given before His death, gone before them into Galilee, He met them there as a body to the number of about five hundred, and there showed Himself unto them alive from the dead, and received their worship as Lord of all.

IV. Though preserved and rescued the little flock would not escape all trouble and suffering. God would bring them through the fire, and refine and purify them in the furnace of affliction, and the result of this discipline would be their recovery from all apostasy, and their final establishment in the Divine favour, and their full union to Jehovah as His people.

W. Lindsay Alexander, Zechariah's Visions and Warnings, p. 286; see also Homiletic Magazine, vol. xi., p. 161.

References: Zechariah 13:9 . Homiletic Magazine, vol. x., p. 8; J. Irons, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. ix., p. 61.Zechariah 14:1-11 . W. L. Alexander, Homiletic Magazine, vol. xi., p. 357. Zechariah 14:5 . J. Keble, Sermons from Advent to Christmas Eve, p. 14.Zechariah 14:6 , Zechariah 14:7 . B. Gregory, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xviii., p. 49; W. M. Taylor, Old Testament Outlines, p. 287.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Zechariah 13". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/sbc/zechariah-13.html.
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