“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 firstborn.” (Zechariah 12:10 NASB)
One of the climactic scenes in the book of Genesis was when Joseph, as Pharoah’s regent, revealed himself to his brothers. They had thought that he, Joseph, was an Egyptian prince. When they realized that this was the brother they had betrayed years earlier, selling him to the gentiles as a slave, they broke down into stunned, guilty and awestruck tears.Joseph, however proved to be gracious to his brothers .
A climax in the Gospel of John, occurred after the resurrection, when the apostle Thomas wouldn’t believe in the resurrection because he hadn’t seen Jesus.
“Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”(John 20:25 NASB)
But there followed another occasion where Jesus did appear to the disciples and Thomas happened to be there with them,
” Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” “(John 20 NASB)
The force of the realization that Jesus was indeed alive, and the shame of his unbelief, brought Thomas to his knees in worshipful adoration,”My Lord and My God!”. What would make a strictly monotheistic Jew worship a companion and friend as God? Nothing less than a resurrection from the dead!
Certainly a turning point in the book of Acts, came when the fiercest antagonist of the christian church, Saul of Tarsus, encountered the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus. He, Saul, a zealot of zealots had tried to destroy the nascent church, He had tortured and forced some believers to renounce Jesus. Saul,later said of himself in Acts 26:9 -
“So then, I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.”
How dare the Christians claim that the Messiah of Israel had died a criminals death, crucified! Hung upon a tree! “Curseth is everyone who hangs upon a tree!”, Jesus was obviously a man accursed of God! How could they dare say he was the Messiah?
But when he saw the risen Jesus- a lot of things clicked… for example, the passage in Isaiah,
…we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.(Isaiah 53:4-5)
That helpless and defeated man, hanging between heaven and earth, derelict of all friends, lovers, and even abandoned by God himself…That man wearing the very crown of the curse,(thorns)…He really was cursed of God, cursed indeed! But not for himself…but for us sinners! When Saul saw this, when he recognised who Jesus really is and what he had done against him, it slew him, morally and spiritually.
The climax of my own life; I was raised in the Catholic church, and used to wonder at the crucifix. What is this all about? Should I feel sorry for Him? Should I feel guilty about the cross? Is it an example to me of suffering? I know that this is an act of Love, but what is it supposed to mean to me and what could I do about it?
When I was 19 years old, I read the Bible for the first time. By reading the sermon on the mount I was gripped by the horrible conviction that I had broken the law of God and was liable for eternal punishment(Hell). Jesus teaches us that righteousness is not just a matter of external observance but of the heart.
For example, it is not enough that I have never killed anyone, or committed a specific act of adultery. The Law of God is spiritual, therefore the hatred I have in my heart makes me a murderer already in the sight of the Holy God. The lust I have in my heart is already a breaking of the seventh commandment.
I began to pray every night that I wouldn’t die and go to hell, ‘please Lord ,I don’t want to go to hell!’, I’d cry! I didn’t know what else to do about it, I knew I had broken God’s law and was liable to judgment. I had conviction of sin, but no faith to be saved.
My freshman year in University, I began to attend a non catholic church, an Assembly of God church. This was something I had never done before, I really didn’t know that there was a whole world of evangelicalism until then. The sermons and worship touched me and afterwards I ran up to the altar call to try to shake the feeling of guilt and dread that had gripped me. I prayed the sinners prayer and arose exactly as I was before (I still had no faith, only conviction). I must have answered 30 altar calls, but to no avail.
One evening I sat reading in my rented home, deeply in despair. I was attending the church, but knew I wasn’t saved, I had broken the law of God , and didn’t know what to do about it! I was so distracted that I didn’t comprehend passage of the Bible I was reading, I just read and reread the same passage in despondency. Then I did ‘hear’ in my heart the Holy Spirit say to me-“Look down at what you are reading and understand it!’-
The passage I was distractedly reading was 2 Corinthians 5:21-God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.- Instantly I was made to see that Jesus had died for my sins, and made himself my substitute in judgement, and faith to be saved came into my heart.
I looked upon the crucified one, whom I had pierced, I could see that he had died for my sins , and I did indeed mourn for Him…as I received the salvation he bought for me.
You can take what happened to Joseph and his brothers, to Thomas, and to Saul of Tarsus and to me and millions of others down through time, as the foretaste of the climax of human history, the recognition by Israel of her long despised and rejected Messiah ,Jesus.
All of the pressures being brought to bear on Israel, will lead to that end. Her rejection by the world community, the unrelenting hatred of the Arab/Muslim world, the fact that the Arabs have been put in a position of power by the placement of easy ,pure crude oil,the rise of antisemitism in Europe and elsewhere, all are calculated by Satan to destroy Israel, but they are being used by God to get her to the point of desperation in which she will call out to God for salvation.
Zechariah says that in the midst of this final end times seige, Israel will be given the spirit of grace and supplication, an anointing of Godly sorrow for sin and unbelief. They will have to experience a real day of Atonement, a deep soul-searching, and at tat point,
“They will look upon Me whom they have pierced…”
When did you pierce the LORD, Israel?
“They will mourn for Him as for an only son and they shall weep over him bitterly as one that weepeth for an only Son…”
The weeping will be both national and corporate, as well as individual. The mourning will involve every person, “In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem…every family by itself and their wives by themselves”, at the recognition of the enormity of the national sin against the heavenly antitype of Joseph.
That this is the One Isaiah and David predicted ,despised and rejected, and pierced for our sins,will be manifest to all of the nation. This risen Christ, who arrested the Pharisee , will arrest the Pharisee nation, in their national crisis.
And a fountain shall open to them for cleansing of sin, which shall also quench the spirit of false prophesy and usher in the long anticipated Day of the Lord. It is the same fountain the church has testified to in song-
There is a fountain filled with blood,drawn from Emmanuel’s veins and sinners plunged beneath the flood, lose all their guilty stains.
This is the climax of world history, the salvation of Israel, the vindication of the Messiah, the fulfillment of all promises. The resurrection of the world from the dead, look for it my friends, pray for it ! Prepare for it!