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Today in Zechariah chapter 12 we begin the second oracle in the book of Zechariah! It is interesting to note that the Hebrew term for "oracle" or "the word of the Lord" is only used 3 times in the Old Testament - here in 12:1, in Zechariah 9:1 and in Malachi 1:1. This indicates that Zechariah chapters 9 through 14 were likely written at about the same time as the book of Malachi - the last book of the Old Testament - which we'll be reading in a couple of days! :) This 2nd oracle in Zechariah consists of the final siege of Jerusalem and Jesus' return as Messiah to defeat Israel's enemies and establish his kingdom. Below is a Russian artist's icon of the prophet Zechariah from the 1400's:
Chapter 12 verse 10 is a powerful Messianic verse in today's readings: "Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on all the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died." The first sentence indicates a pouring out of the Holy Spirit. In the second sentence it appears that Jesus is speaking in the first person - here in the Old Testament! The use of the word pierced here is similar to Psalm 22:16 - "they have pierced my hands and my feet" and John 19:34-37 - "Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”" Below is an oil painting from the year 1515 of the One they pierced by the German painter Matthias Grünewald:
Chapter 13 verse 7 is another powerful verse about Jesus: ""Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, the man who is my partner, says the LORD Almighty. Strike down the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn against the lambs." This last sentence is quoted by Jesus just before his arrest in Matthew 26:31 and Mark 14:27. It is applied to the scattering of the apostles, but can also be considered for the dispersion of the Jews in A.D. 70 after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. And yet, even after the sheep were scattered, do you realize that Jesus is seeking after his lost sheep? Have you been found by Jesus?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Zechariah titled "Oracle Concerning Israel" is at this link.
Worship Video: Today's readings remind me of Handel's Messiah's Hallelujah Chorus and here it is live on December 24, 2006 from Olympic Square park in Hong Kong:
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