ZECHARIAH 12:10: “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.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: Only the Lord can change the heart of man! As you read the words of the Old Testament Prophets it becomes increasingly clear, only the Lord can change the heart of man. Only the Lord can turn a heart that is bent toward sin and destruction and transform it into a heart of grace and mercy. The senseless acts of violence that men inflicts on other men shows the utter depravity and hopelessness of an unchanged heart. Yet, the Gospel message is clear – even the vilest heart can be transformed when it turns to Jesus Christ.
Zechariah speaks of the coming restoration of Israel as they look upon the “ONE” whom they have pierced. This is a reference to the unveiling of their eyes to see Jesus as their Messiah. This change does not come through education, social reform, police, or military action. This change can only come through revelation. The wonderful hymn sums it up so beautifully. “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see.”
So many times as Christians, who have already embraced Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and Lord, we forget this important truth. We rightfully get angry when we view the acts of terrorism and violence in our world. Our hearts are filled with sorrow for the innocent victims. We also become filled with fear. We begin to look with disdain upon those who walk in utter darkness and are the perpetrators of these senseless acts of violence and wickedness. Like James and John, the sons of thunder, we would like to call out fire from heaven to consume them. And in our moment of anger, sorrow, fear, and desperation, we forget the example and the words of Jesus. As Jesus hung on the cross, pierced and rejected by the ones He came to save, the victim of senseless violence and wickedness, He cried…
- “…Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do…” (Luke 23:34 ESV)
This does not negate their need to repent. It also does not negate the call to justice. God has instituted those in authority over us to exercise judgment against the ungodly and those who work such acts of wickedness and violence. However, it is a call and a reminder to the Christian that Jesus Christ came to die for all men and women. We must remember that – “…all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” And, most importantly, we must remember the Biblical truth that – “all lives can be redeemed” when they come to sincere repentance through a revelation of Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord.
So, as we watch the horrific acts that are being perpetrated against the innocent, let us pray for justice and mercy. Justice, that the lives of the innocent victims will be protected and vindicated through the civil execution of justice. Mercy, in that those who are bound by sin and blindness may have a revelation of Jesus Christ and find transformation through His life and love. We must remember that Saul was a Christian killer before he became the great Apostle Paul. His vast education did not save him. His conscience did not convict him and lead him to Christ. It was the revelation of the one whom he had pierced, as he traveled on the road to Damascus to kill more Christians, that transformed his life. So later, this transformed and redeemed Paul would write these words,
- “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV)
“And such were some of you…” These are some of the most powerful words in the Bible. They point us to our roots, and our redemption. They also remind us that no life is beyond the power of redemption through the power of Jesus Christ. The Bible calls us to be angry and to sin not. We must rise up with righteous anger against the power of sin and the devil and pray for the salvation of souls. We must pray that those who are walking in blindness, who are working acts of senseless wickedness, will have their eyes opened to see Jesus. He is our only hope! He is the only one who can transform a life bound in sin and destined to destruction.
Lord, forgive me when my heart is not broken for the lost. Forgive me when my anger is directed toward others destruction rather than their redemption. Strengthen those who You have placed in authority to protect the innocent and to punish the ungodly. And as You do, raise up an army of intercessors who will pray for revival in our world. Lord Jesus, bring Your revelation of grace and mercy to those who walk in darkness, who are bound in sin. May those who walk in darkness be encountered with the marvelous light and love of Jesus Christ- and be transformed!
In Jesus Name!