2022 Mourning Our Sin (Zechariah 12:10-13:1)April 15, 2022 | Brandon Cooper
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If you’re gonna go ahead and grab your Bibles, you can open up to Zachariah chapter 12 will begin in verse 10 Zechariah 12 Verse 10. As you’re turning there, a few of us, some weeks back watched the movie Sabina together here. Sabina is the story of Sabina von brand who was a Romanian Jew converted to Christianity at an early point in her life, this is all happening right around World War Two, though. And so in the climactic scene in this movie, Sabina confronts what may well be her family’s murderers, an SS guard who was there at the concentration camp where her family was all killed, she alone survived. And it’s interesting because this guard knows that he’s about to meet her. And he is defiant. boastful, even and so you’re listening to him spew his venom and hatred, knowing she’s about to come out, and you’re really expecting her to stab him. Frankly, that would be about the right response at that moment. But as she comes up to him, and he’s got a little bit of fear in his eyes, as she approaches him, she throws her arms around him, embraces him, kisses him on the cheek, and then prepares a meal for him. She explains to him that the heart of the gospel is forgiveness. And goes on to say, after all, this is how God has treated us. He welcomes us, embraces us feeds us, despite the fact that we murdered his son. And this guard breaks down at this moment, he had been defined a moment earlier. And now he’s sobbing. repeating over and over again, what have I done what have I done now this is not the pattern we expect in our humaneness. We want the order to be different. We want people to have to feel bad first. And then you know, make some concrete changes. And then we’ll accept them. We’ll welcome them back will embrace them will forgive them. But the order that we see in this scene is precisely the order that we see in the Gospel as well. And the order in our passage this evening as well these three movements of forgiveness, and then grief and then change. So let’s start at the beginning with Grace Zechariah chapter 12. I’m just gonna read verse 10, to start us out here, and I will pour out on the throne of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only child and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. Zachariah is here speaking of a future Day, a day of revival for Israel. It’s true. But like most prophecies in the Old Testament, we see multiple fulfillments. We expect this to be a single moment of fulfillment. And yet it turns out it kind of gets fulfilled in stages at different points along the time spectrum. The best way I can explain this is when we go on summer vacation, we often come across a famous peak in the Adirondack Mountains Algonquin. Viewed from one side, it’s just this impressive peak, the second tallest in New York and then you drive around to the side a little bit and you discover that it’s actually a range. That is four peaks all in one. And that’s kind of how prophecy often works, these multiple fulfillments.
And so that’s what we have here. This looks like that final day, we’re talking about the day of the Lord. We’re talking about the end of time, and yet we know in fact, Kyle already read the passage for us earlier this evening. This passage also finds fulfillment in what is now for us the past when Jesus comes. What we see in this, at the very least is a pattern for revival, individual revival, congregational revival, national revival, as other passages would make clear. How does revival begin? It begins with God. Of course it does, because has the whole of a Christian life. It is all of grace. Right? There are no conditions for our approaching God. God does not give us grace as a response to what we have done. First, he initiates and that’s what we have here. God will pour out a spirit of grace and suffocation on his people, specifically the house of David that’s the Royal House. These are the kings of Israel and then the inhabitants of the most important city, Jerusalem. So this is shorthand certainly for the nation as a whole be a little bit like somebody today speaking of the White House, and DC of big changes are happening their guests What those big changes affect the rest of us. Also, that’s what’s being said. But God’s gonna pour this spirit out. Now, that spirit here is a disposition. It’s an approach to life. It’s what we mean when we say that somebody has a gentle soul, or she has a kind spirit. That’s the sort of spirit we’re talking about. So what would it mean to have a spirit of grace than would be to have a mind disposed to consider the grace of God? To think about the favor that he has shown us? What would happen? If we were to think about that? Well, God’s goodness to us inevitably produces in us a sense of our unworthiness. Just how badly we’ve treated God. And so that turns quickly to intriguing God begging him for mercy and compassion. Hence, the spirit of supplication that follows the spirit of grace supplication here not meaning intercession, this isn’t our praying for our daily bread or something like that, although that’s fine with these our pleas for mercy. This is the cry of the sinner saying save me lest I perish. We know this is true because of what follows. Where it says that we will look and more and weep. Because of what we have done to God we have pierced him. So how exactly have we pierced God? Well, certainly metaphorically, we’ve pierced him in our rebellion. And rejection, we use language like this, even today, we say that somebody cut us with their words. So it’s got that sense, absolutely. But there is this shocking statement, I hope you caught this, as you were reading, it says, They will look on me and mourn for Him. They will look on Me whom they have pierced and mourn for him. As for a firstborn is for an only son. That is a really interesting change in person, from first person to third person. So what exactly is happening this, this, him that we’re talking about must be so united to God, so that to pierce him would be to pierce God. And yet, at the same time, someone who’s distinct so that we could switch from the first person to the third person like that there’s only one person in all of history, who fits that bill. That would be the second member of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, who is Himself God, and yet is distinct from God, the Father. This is this is interesting, by the way, because this is written about 500 years before Christ. And yet it can have no other reference. If you’re here tonight. By the way, you’re a skeptic about this. How do we know the Bible is true? Like, here’s one of the reasons we know the Bible is true. Because five centuries before Christ, we have a description of what has to be Christ and no one else, because no one else fits the bill.
John makes this point, of course, in case we missed it, he says, and again, Kyle read this for us earlier. We’re talking about Jesus here, that’s Zacharias talking about, we read this and John 19. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’s side of the spear bringing a sudden flow of blood and water, these things happens that the scripture would be fulfilled, they will look on the one they have pierced, literally pierced, nails in the hands and feet, the spear in the side. Five centuries before the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, we have explicit prophecy that can have no other reference. But now seeing that this is about Jesus helps us understand a bit more how this works to what exactly Zachariah is saying how this whole Grace thing works. Because Why was Jesus pierced? We know from the New Testament, He was pierced for our sins. This is the great substitution that happens on the cross. Jesus takes our place. And we are then welcomed in his place. Paul says it like this God made Him who had no sin, to be sin for us so that in him, we might become the righteousness of God. If that switch doesn’t take place, that substitution doesn’t happen. We can’t stand in God’s presence. And how could we be filthy with our sin and yet waltz into the temple? And so it’s as though we exchanged robes. We take off hours, filthy with the muck and mire of sin and receive Christ’s spotless robe in its place before we go to meet the king, the king of kings. Now you look at that. You gaze not just physically but spiritually at Christ crucified in our place? What response do we feel? Hopefully it’s a little bit something like the SS guard who murdered sabinas family, such undeserved forgiveness and welcome. She should drive us to tears, seeing Grace really looking at it produces a spirit of repentance in us. Can we see this from the beginning from the foot of the cross? Here’s Luke 2348. Talking about witnesses to the cross of Christ says when all the people who had gathered to witness this site, saw what took place, saw how Jesus dies, they beat their breasts and went away. There is mourning, or when Peter preaches grace, after the church is founded in Acts chapter two, he preaches you crucified God’s Messiah, it says the people were cut to the heart and ask them what must we do to be saved? And Peter’s answer is the same answer that we would give today. Repent and be baptized, believe in Jesus and what He has done for us and join the company of his followers. Would you see Zacharias point we will not repent? Until we look at how good God has been to us in Christ, and seeing His love and His forgiveness. We just may be cut to the heart. Of course, even our repentance is a gift of God. As I said, this is all of grace, we will not turn until he turns us. Jeremiah says as much. Jeremiah 31, verse 18, it says, This turn me you read it, the NIV it says, restore me but I promise you the word is Turn, turn me and I will turn return because You are the Lord my God. Again, an act of grace. You know, this works. I got a little kids. So this one makes a lot of sense to me. Occasionally, my kids will wander in the wrong direction. And I being the sort of dad that I am, we’ll just grab their heads, because they’re about this level and just turn them physically and then they start walking this way. And that is what the Lord does for us spiritually. No, no, no, no, no myself go this way. Instead, look, if you’re here tonight. And that hasn’t happened. That turn hasn’t happened yet. You haven’t repented? Ask God even now. We see here he is willing to pour out his Spirit of grace and supplication on us. In fact, your prayer if you were to say, Okay, Lord, turn me in this way, proves that He’s poured that out on you already.
But what comes next, let’s keep reading we moved from grace to Weeping may read verses 11 to 14. On that day, the weeping in Jerusalem will be as great as the weeping of hudud Ramon in the plain of Megiddo. The land will mourn each clan by itself, their wives by themselves, a clan of a house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives, the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of chimay, and their wives, and all the rest of the clans and their wives. Before we dig into the text, there’s a French proverb that says, years of repentance are necessary in order to blot out a sin in the eyes of people. But one tear of repentance suffices with God. No doubt, that’s because God can discern the heart we’re never quite sure. Are you really sorry? Are you just sorry that you got caught? But God can discern the heart he knows if our repentance is real or not, if this is a godly sorrow in our eyes, but what a great reminder to have in our minds as we look at this, these few verses here, because on that day, again, this is a day of revival that we’re talking about. Having looked on the one day pierced, they now mourn, bitterly. How bitterly do they mourn?
What’s as great as the weeping of hedonic Ramon, which is pretty intense weeping? How bad was it? Well, here’s the bad news. We have no idea. Absolutely no idea what this is talking about. I’ve read a bunch of commentaries and they all go.
That’s okay. But here are two guesses. These are the two you’ll read most often. A dad Ramon is the proper name of Bale, one of the gods in the region. Bale just means Lord. And so here’s the actual names little bit like the difference between saying God and Jesus. And so Don Ramon was the sort of God he was a harvest God, so he died every winter. And then he came back every spring, it kind of flows like that. And so every winter they would have these morning festivals because their God just died. So maybe that’s what we’re talking about, or it’s possible that had died. Ramon is the name of this town. own somewhere in the plains of Nadeau near where Josiah, the good king who brought about revival and Israel was killed by Pharaoh Neco leads to this time of national mourning. Okay, here’s the thing, it doesn’t really matter if it’s one of those two or neither one of those and something else. The important thing is they understood what Zachariah was saying. And we get the point still, it was intense morning, right? That’s what we need to take away here and intense national morning, it was a comprehensive morning too, because all of God’s people enter into this morning independently. It says each clan by itself, just a little bit interesting. That means we don’t have a social contagion here. It’s not like one clan started it. And then everybody else it was like one viral kind of thing. Like no, every clan by itself entered into this morning. And these are some key clans as well. We got David again, like the king of Israel, the the one they’re waiting to have returned the son of David, who will restore Israel. And then his grandson, Nathan. He’s not the most famous grandson of because he’s not the one who actually gets the crown. But he is the one whose line endures so that Zerubbabel the current kind of puppet king in Israel is from Nathan’s line. So you’ve got the royal house there. And then you’ve got Levi, that’s the priestly family and his grandson Shimei. So nice parallelism there. This is the priestly family. So you’ve got the ruling classes of Israel, weeping at this point. But it’s not just top down. It’s not just the people at the top, all the inhabitants all the clans, it says society itself has been transformed. We have genuine revival. But what precisely are they mourning? It’s not the death of God. Like her dad, Ramon, like he dies every year or something like that. Contrary Nietzsche God is very much alive still. No, what are they mourning, they’re mourning their sin. They’re mourning their treatment of a god. So gracious, and so kind to them. Like that SS guard, they finally get what they did. Again, not the order we expect because we’re human. We think people have to repent first feel bad, you know, and then we’ll forgive them but not so with God. Otherwise no one would ever come. Paul reminds us Romans five eight God demonstrates His love for us in this While we were still sinners, before repentance. Christ died for us. And that love then stirs something in us. We don’t state it. This isn’t cheap. Grace.
Agustin says it well. He says he shows himself worthy in that he confesses himself unworthy. The first thing we do to show that we have received this grace is to go. I did not deserve this. I confess my unworthiness. Make no mistake, if you have truly experienced God’s grace, you will grieve your sin and turn from it daily momently even in fact, the closer you get to God, the more keenly you feel it. It’s like the brighter the lights are, the more you see the blemishes. That’s what happens spiritually as well. There’s this progression, when we first turned to God, especially if you came from you know, a non religious background or some like that you confess outward behavior. And you see change and he’s an obvious sins that you need to confess its abuse, its sexual immorality, its drunkenness, and things like that. But as God conforms us to his image, we get more sensitive to sin, we begin to confess the inward sins as well. We see that even in our good deeds, their selfish motivations, where we used to confess sexual immorality, now we confess lost, or where we used to confess materialism, now we confess covetousness we begin to discern the idols of our hearts. In fact, that’s where Zachariah will go. And in verse two, he says on that day, chapter 13, verse two, I will banish the names of the idols from the land. And that’s what happens in us as well. And we’re not probably worshipping pagan deities like her dad, Ramon, but we’re talking about where we place our trust and where we seek ultimate joy, peace, love, whatever it may be. And more so than in this progression. It’s not just the confess the wrong things we’ve done, but we confess the good things we’ve left undone our sins of omission, those times where you could have helped, but turned a blind eye. And Tim Keller shares that he’s spoken pastor for many years spoken to many nearing death, who expressed regret for the things They left unknown. Like, yeah, do we regret things we’ve done? Yes. But many more regrets the things that we did not do they feel like they’re wasted their lives. And that then warrants this negative verdict when they stand before a judge, there’s this invisible Wait, that’s feels like that’s on all of our shoulders. I mean, so many of us, even if we deny the existence of God, or some sort of absolute standard will still feel at the end of our lives like we have failed to live up to our own standards. So we must ask the question now, not just do you believe? Although that’s an important question, Have you have you looked on the one you’ve pierced, but do you truly grieve more that he repented, look on him new pierced, see his love, see how you’ve repaid his kindness with rejection, and self will time and time again. And repent. This point, I would invite the worship team up, because we’re going to spend a few minutes in silent confession to have this opportunity to grieve our sins. And just a few moments in the worship team will lead us in a song in which we get to declare that we are rejecting those idols of the heart and trusting in Christ instead. But as we spend this time, in silent confession, you know, in the quiet of your own heart, how I pray that God would grant us true morning, grief, tears. John of the latter, a church father says this, he says when the soul grows tearful, weeps and is filled with tenderness, and all this without having striven for it and let us run, for the Lord has arrived uninvited, and is holding out to us the sponge of loving sorrow, the cool waters of blessing sadness, with which to wipe away the record of our sins that we experienced that even now are tears are not the end of the story. Weeping lasts but for a moment, and joy comes in the morning. On that day, that day of revival, Zachariah tells us that God will open a fountain for David’s house And all God’s people that’s read chapter 13 verse one, on that day, a fountain will be open to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.
So this fountain opens to cleanse us from sin and impurity to wash away the filth of our rebellion against God. Now, these words sin and impurity are important they show up in the Book of Leviticus, when dealing with the purification or the the sin offering and gets translated in different ways. The whole point of this offering was to eliminate the guilt that we have when we do what we should not have done, and at the same time to wash away the impurity that might get on us from being around the sorts of things that made you unclean back then wrong food, dead bodies, all that kind of stuff, whatever it is, that renders us unfit to approach God, to be able to dwell in His presence. This offering is to take care of that. Well, that’s the main idea here. Now at last, by Christ’s cleansing blood, we can stand before God, pure and forgiven. As a Jewish proverb, it says what soap is to the body tears are for the soul. At repentance, we receive that cleansing from sin, because sin to files sinned to files us to files others that defiles our environment. You think of the ravages of war, as just a poignant illustration of this so often driven by sin and sinful atrocities are committed during it and the marks are there for generations. Take more individual examples. If a woman cheats on her husband, every time she opens her wallet, she will see the ATM card she used to get the cash out to pay for the hotel every time she drives by probably not just that hotel, but that hotel chain. Her consciences pricked the car itself the outfit she wore the lipstick shade she put on, or maybe that’s too severe for us. You think Well, that’s not my kind of sin. What about the dad who just blows up in the backyard when throwing the ball around with the sun because the sun was careless and broke something and the dad knows that by his reckless words. He has I pierced his son. Now every time he goes into the garage and he sees the mitt there, he remembers the backyard itself. There’s this grief attached to it his son’s face, you get the idea to scrub. The memories of our sins often feels as fruitless as scrubbing soap scum from cracked grout in a decrepit shower. Sin leaves such deep stains, especially in the mind, and soul. We are all here plagued conch consciences stricken with guilt and shame. But God cleanses us. The blood of Christ purifies us and washes us white as snow. Here’s First John chapter one, the blood of Jesus, his son purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we acknowledge it, we’re willing to grant this is true. What the Bible says about me is actually true. If we can fess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all on righteousness. There it is, again, by the way, sin and impurity dealt with, what have you been? What have you done? What have you left undone? In Christ, it doesn’t matter now. I mean, think of Paul Paul, who could spear the cries of the persecuted church, who had the blood of innocents on his hands men like Stephen, whom he watched stoned to death, with approval on his faith. Paul could write there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Or to use the language of this passage is William Cooper did 250 years ago yesterday, there is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emanuel’s veins, and sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains,
that invisible weight of our failed expectations, it drops when we come to the cross. If you’ve ever read Pilgrims Progress, and if you haven’t, could you like remedy that this week? You should have read that. Okay. But if you haven’t read Pilgrims Progress, you know, pilgrim stands before the cross, He gazes at the cross, he looks at the one he appears, he’s got this burden on his shoulders already Christian, but he’s carrying a burden around with him until he looks at the cross, and the burden drops from his shoulders. And better still, I love this it rolls down a hill and is swallowed by the sepulchre by the empty tomb. Of course it is that makes perfect sense. If we come to Christ to God by faith in Christ. When God looks on us, He sees us as pure and the burden falls. And the empty tomb. It’s the receipt. It’s what it is. You know, you leave a door and sometimes the alarm goes off as you’re walking out of a store or something, you’re like, well, nope, paid for it. That’s the resurrection is paid for. Okay, the receipt is done. It’s like when the prison doors swing open, and the guards go, you’re free, the doors of hell, and the grave have swung open. There’s an old hymn that says well made the accuser roar of ills that I have done. I know them all, and 1000s more. But the Lord knoweth none. Because the Lord chooses to forget God knows everything. He knows all your sins, and He chooses to forget them. I do not know what you brought in with you tonight. But I know this, you can be free of it. The burden could drop here and now. Not because you cleaned yourself up. Not because you got your act together because you didn’t and you don’t. But because God by His grace cleanses us. Hebrews 914 How much more than will the blood of Christ who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from Acts that lead to death so that we may serve the living God? consciences cleansed? God moved first. What wondrous love is this God poured out pours out His grace on us. Look on the one you pierced. mourn your sins that nailed Him to the cross. and receive His cleansing pardon. Let’s pray together. Lord, as we sang to open the night, would you help us to behold the Lamb? Behold the man upon the cross my sin upon his shoulders, and grieve, mourn, weep bitterly because of what we have done to you in our sin because of how we’ve defiled ourselves and each other in this world because of our sin. But Lord, may we then receive the grace that you offer, through that lamb, slain for us, Christ upon the cross, receive the grace that you offer the pardon for our sins and the cleansing that our repentance brings, that we might stand before you, Lord, not perfect, not by any means, but being perfected in Christ, and now by his perfect righteousness given to us, able to stand before you in prayer, even now. Help us Lord to know your forgiveness, and the freedom that comes with it. We pray through Christ our Lord.
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