Summary: The bitterness that we feel when we first realise what we have done is compared to the bitterness of losing an only son. Perhaps in this we begin to understand what it cost the LORD God to secure the free gift of our salvation.
GRACE, REPENTANCE, FORGIVENESS
The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ loved us before we loved Him (1 John 4:19). God ‘so loved’ us that He sent His Son Jesus into this world to die for our sins (John 3:16). Christ died and rose again, and ever intercedes on our behalf at the right hand of God (Romans 8:34).
It was ‘while we were dead in our sins’ that Christ died and rose again, and gave us new life, and elevated us with Him into the heavenly realm, and secured our destiny (Ephesians 2:4-7). It is the LORD God who makes the first move to secure our salvation by pouring out His Spirit (Zechariah 12:10), giving us the inclination and the ability to pray (Romans 8:26). The proper response arises from the twin graces of faith and repentance.
With the LORD there is forgiveness of sins, that He might be rightly feared (Psalm 130:4), and that we might with reverence ‘boldly approach the throne of grace’ (Hebrews 4:16). Then, and only then, we discover that the LORD has already opened a healing fountain to cleanse us from our sins (Zechariah 13:1). This is through the shed blood of His only begotten Son: the One whom WE pierced (Zechariah 12:10; Revelation 5:9).
It is God who speaks when he says, “they shall look upon ME whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for HIM” (Zechariah 12:10). This change of person from first person to third person - “Me” to “Him” - suggests a multiplicity of Persons within the Godhead. ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself’ (2 Corinthians 5:19): when we pierced Jesus, we also pierced the Father.
The “mourning” that follows represents the tears that arise from a truly repentant heart. The bitterness that we feel when we first realise what we have done is compared to the bitterness of losing an only son. Perhaps in this we begin to realise what it cost the LORD God to secure the ‘free gift’ of our salvation (Romans 6:23).
We might also consider what it cost Jesus. People speculate as to the meaning of the blood and water that flowed out of Jesus’ side when His body was pierced by the soldier’s spear (John 19:34). They ask, ‘Did He die of a broken heart?’ Yet the real meaning is more profound. The outpouring of the blood is Jesus’ self-sacrifice. It was the opening of a cleansing fountain for those who are afflicted by sin and uncleanness (Zechariah 13:1).
The blood of the sacrifices used to be poured out on the sides of the altar in Jerusalem. This was flushed away by water, and drained into the brook to the east of the City, which would have been in full flow at Passover (Psalm 46:4; Ezekiel 47:1). On many occasions Jesus had led His disciples over this brook as they crossed the valley to and from the Mount of Olives.
The outpouring of the water prefigures the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39). Water flowed in the Garden of Eden, where man first received the spirit of life (Genesis 2:7; Genesis 2:10) - and water flows in the new Jerusalem, where God dwells (Revelation 22:1-2). God presents Himself as the fountain of living waters, much to be preferred above the broken cisterns of man-made religion (Jeremiah 2:13).
Jesus’ subsequent resurrection and ascension into heaven opened the way for the sending of the Holy Spirit (John 4:10; John 4:14; John 16:7): the same Spirit who enables us to mourn for our sins (Zechariah 12:10; Revelation 1:7). Let us drink anew of the Holy Spirit and - forsaking all others - boldly approach the throne of God’s grace in the Name, and by the Blood, of Jesus.
‘Unto Him who has loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood… unto Him be the glory forever. Amen’ (Revelation 1:5-6).