Zechariah 12:10 (ESV)
“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”
Through Zechariah, God promises grace and mercy to Israel. But first, he says, you’re going to weep and wail. This passage is like a telescope, because the main focus is not the closer incarnation but rather the more distant second coming of Christ. However, Christ’s first coming is still in the blurry foreground. In essence, he says, “Christ will come, but you will pierce him. But then much later, you will mourn over that, and I will pour out my grace and mercy upon you.”
When Christ returns to establish his Kingdom on this earth, the people of Israel will see Christ, “him whom they have pierced,” and will mourn. They will weep bitterly, “as one weeps over a firstborn.” What is all this crying about?
They will see their sin; they will see how they rejected him. When we see our sin in light of what Christ has done and yet how we have rejected him, we should rightly mourn. But it’s at that moment that God clears away the weeds of selfish ambition and hatred and tills the soil of our hearts for the seed of the gospel and waters it with grace and mercy. Hope in God grows where mourning once flourished.
Mourning is a fertile growing bed for hope.
COME, THOU LONG EXPECTED JESUS
by Charles Wesley
Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.