10 “And I will pour out on the house 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. 11 On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be as great as the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12 The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves: the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives, 13 the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of Shimei and their wives, 14 and all the rest of the clans and their wives.
(Zechariah 12:10-14 NIV)
Today we continue with our study of chapter 12. Remember that chapters 12 through 14 are talking about events that will take place in the future (both for Zechariah and for us). These events are around the time of Jesus’ second coming.
In verses 1 – 9, Zechariah describes all the nations descending on the tiny country of Israel, with the city of Jerusalem being the center of their target. Despite the enemy nations’ efforts, the Lord steps in to save and protect helpless Judah and Jerusalem.
As we begin today’s text, the focus shifts from the physical salvation of God’s people from their enemies to the spiritual salvation of God’s people.
The Lord goes from images of being a warrior (verses 4, 8, and 9) to images of a compassionate Father (verse 10). The Lord will pour out His grace and mercy on His people, as they will suddenly realize that the very One that their ancient forefathers had killed is, in fact, Jesus, the long-awaited Messiah!
We might think that realizing that Jesus is Messiah would be a cause for rejoicing and great celebration. Instead, this realization that Jesus is Messiah sets off nationwide mourning and repentance. The Lord describes this deep lament as if a family had lost their first-born and only son (v. 10). In their minds, they are asking how they as a people could have been so blind as to not see that Jesus was Messiah? And the fact that their forefathers had put Him to death was inconceivable.
This is no small thing, like feeling sad for a day and moving on. Verse 11 describes this as a major call to repentance and mourning that is compared to the deep loss that the nation felt when King Josiah was killed (2 Kings 23:29).
Verses 12 – 14 call out the fact that each family will mourn by itself, and the women and men will mourn separately. In our modern culture, this probably sounds a little strange, doesn’t it? In the ancient Jewish culture of Zechariah’s day, this separation by families and by gender within each family showed the genuineness of the mourning and repentance. The men did not repent because of the sorrow of the women, or vice versa. One family did not repent because of another family’s sorrow. This was a deep calling from the Lord Himself to each person in each household.
Remember, too, that in ancient Jewish culture, professional mourners were often hired when someone died. These “professionals” were really hypocrites who could turn on the waterworks of tears and sounds of pitiful wailings on command without feeling any genuine remorse or loss. Granted, they had a purpose in Jewish culture, to publicly express the loss of the family. In verses 12 – 14, there are no paid professionals, only broken hearts within each and every individual.
And to this brokenness, God pours out His grace and mercy, to comfort them (v. 10).
Dear friend, have you realized through these passages that Jesus is really who He said He was – the Messiah, the Savior of the world? The Apostle Paul said, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9 NIV).
If you have made this commitment today, may you also receive God’s grace and comfort as He promised. Tell someone about your commitment to Christ, and experience the peace that comes from your new-found relationship with Him.