Merry Christmas From the Prophets-Part FourRev. Michael Calvert, Ph.D., December 22, 2019
Part of the Advent 2019 series.
With the arrival of the Fourth Sunday of Advent this Lord’s Day, we will again turn to one of the Old Testament prophets to discover another of the ancient and inspired promises of Christmas.
This week our sermon passage will come from one of the most enigmatic books of the Bible, penned by one of the least known of the prophets, Zechariah.
You might be surprised to know that it is this prophetic book, written after the exile (about the year 520 BC), that is so very important for our understanding of the life of Jesus. In fact, one Bible scholar has noted that,
“ The last six chapters in the book of Zechariah are a part of the Old Testament on which Jesus Himself had deeply reflected and to which the New Testament writers turned to interpret His story.”
And one of my favorite New Testament commentators, the late Dr. F. F. Bruce, also recognized that the final chapters of the apocalyptic prophecy of Zechariah have “ left their mark in the passion narrative of all four Gospels.”
This is particularly evident in the passage we will turn to this Sunday, Zechariah 12:10-13:1.
There we find the following words:
“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 him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn . . . . On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.”
What a remarkable promise!
I think you can see the most obvious ways in which this prophecy was fulfilled in the life and death of our dear Savior and Lord! And I believe we can also recognize the links to Christmas as well, for Zechariah envisioned One, a great Redeemer, who was both divine and human.
He saw One who had the sovereign power of salvation and could declare the promise of redemption, “ I will pour out” (the Lord God is the speaker here), but also One who could suffer and die for the sins of the people, “ on me . . . whom they have pierced.”
On Sunday we will prayerfully examine these inspired words, and we will trace their fulfillment in the Gospels as we reflect for a final time upon the profound mystery of the Incarnation of our Lord.
10And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. 11In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. 12And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; 13The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; 14All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart. (KJV)