And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.…
Repentance is the first duty of a sinner under a dispensation of mercy; prepares for a right reception of Christ as a Saviour; and is a part of that new and holy course of life which every true Christian leads. It accompanies every other exercise f piety, and terminates only when we arrive at heaven. The text contains o prediction of the repentance and conversion of the Jewish nation. In part fulfilled at Pentecost, in part to be yet fulfilled.
I. THE SOURCE FROM WHICH TRUE REPENTANCE FLOWS. If true repentance imply an entire change of heart, comprehending a genuine sorrow for sin as committed against God, a hearty forsaking of it, and an acceptance of God's mercy as revealed in Jesus Christ, then it is obvious that it must spring from the influences of Divine grace. Accordingly the source of it is thus spoken of, "I will pour upon the house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplications." The allusion is to the pouring out of water, which is the usual emblem for the bestowing of the influences of the Holy Ghost. Refreshing as water to the thirsty, is the grace of the Holy Spirit to the Church of God. The peculiar effect of the Spirit of God in His operations on the heart, is described in the titles here given to the Holy Ghost — "the Spirit of grace and supplications," — that is, the Spirit by whose influence grace is implanted in the mind, and supplications are addressed to the throne of mercy. The Holy Ghost is promised as the Spirit of grace, because all grace and holiness proceed from Him. As the "Spirit of supplications," because one of the earliest effects of Divine influences is prayer. We pray in the Holy Ghost. It is by His sacred instruction that we discover our ignorance, poverty, defilement, misery, and danger. It is by His teaching we receive with faith the truths and promises of the Gospel. The Spirit produces a return to God, and a thorough conversion of heart and life.
II. THE CHIEF MEANS BY WHICH REPENTANCE IS PRODUCED. "They shall look upon Me whom they have pierced." Repentance, generally speaking, springs from a view of a crucified Saviour. The view of the crucified Redeemer which is spoken of in the text, cannot be understood as a bodily sight by the eye of sense. It is a spiritual and rational contemplation of Him by the eye of penitence and faith. Surely there is no object which in itself should so powerfully attract our notice. If the very circumstances of the spectacle should fix our attention, still more should we be moved when we reflect on the Divine dignity of the sufferer. But this is not all. You and I have had a share in this death. God had "laid on Him the iniquity of us all." But what if all this woe and suffering should be for our salvation! Should not this lead us to regard the scene with still more intense earnestness?
III. THE EFFECTS OF THE SPIRIT OF GRACE THUS LEADING THE SINNER TO LOOK BY FAITH TO HIM WHOM HE HAS PIERCED. The returning Jews, when they shall view by faith their crucified Messiah, will mourn for their national sins in piercing Him, and for all their personal transgressions. See verses 11-14. The spiritual import of this prediction is accomplished in every true penitent. Mourning for sin will arise from that view of its malignity and hatefulness which the Cross of Christ displays. The genuine sorrow of a penitent flows from the believing sight of a pierced Saviour. The law convinces of sin, but the Cross teaches us to abhor it.
1. Apply to the sincere Christian — that he may learn the important place which true penitence occupies in a Christian life: the connection of repentance with the hopes and privileges of the Gospel: and that the exercise of evangelical repentance is connected with a holy and circumspect conduct.
2. To the ungodly and impenitent. If any subject can show them their obligation to repent, and affect their hearts with a desire to do so, it is the one we have been reviewing.
(D. Wilson, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.