Archive for March 29th, 2009

Look upon Him Whom they have pierced…& so will I

Zechariah 12 begins with praise for God’s creative power, reminding us that He is in control and completely able to accomplish what He predicts. 
And for those who believe in the mass conversion of Jews just prior to the physical return of Jesus to this earth, Zechariah 12 is their passage, along with Romans 11:26
But before we cover that, let me just go to the verse that strikes me most, verse 8. King David was renowned for his fighting ability, courage, and success. God promises that the weakest saint will be as mighty as David – and the leaders can only be compared in might to God! Even in our weakness in Christ, we are mightier than that mighty king of Israel, David!
Now, back to the Jews…Part of this great outpouring of strength and might to defend God’s people will be an outpouring of the Spirit – but also it will be of grace and supplication. God will move among Israel and bring saving grace and repentant prayer.
As Jerusalem is supernaturally defended and the Spirit is poured out on the nation, they will turn to Jesus, the pierced One. 
  • His head was pierced with thorns, 
  • His hands and feet were pierced with nails, 
  • and a spear pierced His side.
They will look: They will turn away from their trust in the foolish, worthless shepherd and turn their focus on the Good Shepherd. When we see Jesus crucified – understanding why He went to the cross and what He accomplished there – we are drawn to Him in humble repentance (John 12:32). So am I.
Whom they pierced. They will realize that they did it, and that they bear responsibility – not sole responsibility, but responsibility nonetheless – for the crucifixion of their Savior. So do I.
They will mourn: The Jewish people will turn to Jesus in repentance, mourning their past rejection of Him. The mourning will be deep, as if for an only son, the firstborn. Firstborn was synonymous with the most beloved. So will I.
Spurgeon is by constant companion and by far my favorite preacher. He was the Billy Graham of the 1800’s. He takes time to point out this nugget:
They will look . . . they will mourn: Here we see the pattern for coming to Jesus and true repentance. First we look to Jesus, then we mourn for our sins. Looking to Jesus must come first.
“A great mistake is very common among all classes of men – it is currently believed that we are first of all to mourn for our sins, and then to look by faith to our Lord Jesus Christ. Most persons who have any concern about their souls, but are not as yet enlightened by the Spirit of God, think that there is a degree of tenderness of conscience, and of hatred of sin, which they are to obtain somehow or other, and then they will be permitted and authorized to look to Jesus Christ. Now you will perceive that this is not according to the Scripture, for, according to the text before us. Men first look upon Him whom they have pierced, and then, but not till then, they mourn for their sin.”

“It is a beautiful remark of an old divine, that eyes are made for two things at least; first, to look with, and next, to weep with. The eye which looks to the pierced One is the eye which weeps for Him.” 
They will look upon Me: Comparing Zechariah 12:10 with Zechariah 12:1 and 12:3 (Thus says the LORD . . . says the LORD) makes it clear that the Me they look upon is the LORD God – Yahweh – Himself. This is astounding and wonderful evidence th
at Jesus the pierced One is God, and that Yahweh is the Triune God.
O Pierced One, thank You for taking the penalty my sin deserved and bearing them in Your body on the tree. That is the greatest act of love. It isn’t so much the cross or the crucifixion or even what Mel Gibson portrayed in The Passion, but it is the pain of taking on the sins of the whole world into that sinless, pure, and perfect bosom and doing it all for me. My life cannot be radical enough for You, it can never compare to the radical extent You went to for me. Thank You so much.

I pray that the families in the Bright Zone will get to discover Your outrageous love, and if it be Your good will, that St. Philip’s will get to be a part of that discovery! We pray that You will own this initiative of living Beyond Ourselves and bless all the families that live within the Ida Bright Elementary attendance zone. Especially the Babbilis, Birds, Brinkmans, Lundes, Harrisons, Harringtons, Mazrie-Goltehebrah, Goforths and Wintons. Thank You for Your sacred love, Amen!
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Look upon Him Whom they have pierced…& so will I

Zechariah 12 begins with praise for God’s creative power, reminding us that He is in control and completely able to accomplish what He predicts. 
And for those who believe in the mass conversion of Jews just prior to the physical return of Jesus to this earth, Zechariah 12 is their passage, along with Romans 11:26
But before we cover that, let me just go to the verse that strikes me most, verse 8. King David was renowned for his fighting ability, courage, and success. God promises that the weakest saint will be as mighty as David – and the leaders can only be compared in might to God! Even in our weakness in Christ, we are mightier than that mighty king of Israel, David!
Now, back to the Jews…Part of this great outpouring of strength and might to defend God’s people will be an outpouring of the Spirit – but also it will be of grace and supplication. God will move among Israel and bring saving grace and repentant prayer.
As Jerusalem is supernaturally defended and the Spirit is poured out on the nation, they will turn to Jesus, the pierced One. 
  • His head was pierced with thorns, 
  • His hands and feet were pierced with nails, 
  • and a spear pierced His side.
They will look: They will turn away from their trust in the foolish, worthless shepherd and turn their focus on the Good Shepherd. When we see Jesus crucified – understanding why He went to the cross and what He accomplished there – we are drawn to Him in humble repentance (John 12:32). So am I.
Whom they pierced. They will realize that they did it, and that they bear responsibility – not sole responsibility, but responsibility nonetheless – for the crucifixion of their Savior. So do I.
They will mourn: The Jewish people will turn to Jesus in repentance, mourning their past rejection of Him. The mourning will be deep, as if for an only son, the firstborn. Firstborn was synonymous with the most beloved. So will I.
Spurgeon is by constant companion and by far my favorite preacher. He was the Billy Graham of the 1800’s. He takes time to point out this nugget:
They will look . . . they will mourn: Here we see the pattern for coming to Jesus and true repentance. First we look to Jesus, then we mourn for our sins. Looking to Jesus must come first.
“A great mistake is very common among all classes of men – it is currently believed that we are first of all to mourn for our sins, and then to look by faith to our Lord Jesus Christ. Most persons who have any concern about their souls, but are not as yet enlightened by the Spirit of God, think that there is a degree of tenderness of conscience, and of hatred of sin, which they are to obtain somehow or other, and then they will be permitted and authorized to look to Jesus Christ. Now you will perceive that this is not according to the Scripture, for, according to the text before us. Men first look upon Him whom they have pierced, and then, but not till then, they mourn for their sin.”

“It is a beautiful remark of an old divine, that eyes are made for two things at least; first, to look with, and next, to weep with. The eye which looks to the pierced One is the eye which weeps for Him.” 
They will look upon Me: Comparing Zechariah 12:10 with Zechariah 12:1 and 12:3 (Thus says the LORD . . . says the LORD) makes it clear that the Me they look upon is the LORD God – Yahweh – Himself. This is astounding and wonderful evidence that Jesus the pierced One is God, and that Yahweh is the Triune God.
O Pierced One, thank You for taking the penalty my sin deserved and bearing them in Your body on the tree. That is the greatest act of love. It isn’t so much the cross or the crucifixion or even what Mel Gibson portrayed in The Passion, but it is the pain of taking on the sins of the whole world into that sinless, pure, and perfect bosom and doing it all for me. My life cannot be radical enough for You, it can never compare to the radical extent You went to for me. Thank You so much.

I pray that the families in the Bright Zone will get to discover Your outrageous love, and if it be Your good will, that St. Philip’s will get to be a part of that discovery! We pray that You will own this initiative of living Beyond Ourselves and bless all the families that live within the Ida Bright Elementary attendance zone. Especially the Babbilis, Birds, Brinkmans, Lundes, Harrisons, Harringtons, Mazrie-Goltehebrah, Goforths and Wintons. Thank You for Your sacred love, Amen!

The Price of a Dead Slave

Zechariah 11:1-3 is often understood to be yet another history lesson for us (though it was a future lesson when Zack spoke/wrote it!). 
Some would say it describes the events of 70 AD when Vespasian and Titus came down through Lebanon to destroy Israel and Judah and Jerusalem. These Romans destroyed Jerusalem after the Good Shepherd was crucified. 
(Josephus, who was Jew taken into Vespasian’s family, recorded the whole event in his book called Wars of the Jews commissioned by Vespasian himself.)
But the rest of Zechariah 11 seems to be an allegory (difficult as it may be) that speaks of God fulfilling His promise. In it God speaks to a person yet unnamed (4) and tells him to pasture the flock “marked for slaughter.” They are so marked by their own leaders, who think only of the profit they can gain by selling out their people (4-6).
But when the Good Shepherd comes to care for the flock, and “particularly for the oppressed of the flock,” He is rejected! Though He rids them of false shepherds and seeks to guide them with grace (favor) and unity (union), He is detested by His sheep!
The first thing He does is remove three shepherds. Perhaps “these three shepherds should not be seen as three individuals but as three classes of individuals, namely: the prophets, priests, and kings of Israel.” (Boice) 
The offices of prophet, priest, and king were taken away from Israel after the Roman conquest of Judea and have never been restored – because they are now fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
But the sheep detest these acts, as well as the very Shepherd Himself. For His care for them, the only pay they offer is “thirty pieces of silver.” 
Strikingly, this price is the amount set in Old Testament law as compensation to be paid for a dead slave (Exodus 21:32)! And the price of the Good Shepherd is thrown “into the house of the Lord to the potter” (13).
The Gospels present this passage as a prophecy about Jesus. 
  • He came, announcing Himself as the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-18). 
  • But the flock He came to pasture detested Him. 
  • The priests weighed out the price of a dead slave to Jesus’ betrayer (Matthew 26:14-16). 
  • And later, after Jesus’ death, the coins were brought back by a remorseful Judas and thrown into the temple. 
  • The chief priests picked up the coins and “decided to use the money to buy a potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners” (Matthew 27:1-10). 
  • Thus the words of Zechariah found fulfillment in Jesus, as did the similar prophecy of Jeremiah (32:6-9).
With the Good Shepherd slain, the staffs of grace and unity are broken. He is replaced by worthless shepherds (14-17).
And so this chapter ends with the death of the Good Shepherd. But His death is not the end, for evil has not and will not overcome!
Whew Lord Jesus! We do not want to treat Your provisions with such disdain. We rejoice with what You are doing, and what You are yet to do. Help us to join You and be a part of it, rather than criticize and crucify the vision before we even see what it is all about. We do not want to be guilty of doing the very thing the Jews were guilty of when they nailed You to the cross 2,000 years ago…rejecting the provision of Jehovah!

Father, bless the Beyond Ourselves effort as it seems to throb of the very heartbeat of Jesus, just by the mere fact that we are other-focused rather than self-focused. Guide St. Philip’s exactly how they are to reach out to everyone in the Bright Zone, and raise up at least 300 people to be a part of this outreach!

I especially pray for the Harringtons, Harrisons, Goforths, Babbilis, Wintons, Lundes, Brinkmans and Mazrie-Goltehebrah. Lord, may these families be directly contacted and impacted by the Beyond Ourselves campaign and brought into a closer relationship with You! Amen!