“He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.” (Zechariah 2:8)
You who trust Christ are “the apple of his eye;” and “he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.” What an astounding statement! The first thing it tells me is that we, who are “the apple of his eye,” are a terribly weak people who need our Lord’s constant protection. The pupil of the eye is a very weak, tender, and sensitive part of our bodies. It is easily hurt with the least thing. It vividly displays the feeble state of God’s people in this world. How soon and easily we are disturbed, distressed, and hurt by our enemies! But our safety does not depend on us and our strength.
I am weak, but Thou art mighty!
Hold me with Thy powerful hand!
If we are “the apple of his eye,” how highly esteemed we must be by our God and Savior! He guards and cherishes his own as a man does his eyes, the very pupil of his eyes. He protects us as “the apple of his eye.”
Whose eye is this? It is the eye of Christ, our God, who led his people through the wilderness, ever keeping them as “the apple of his eye” (Deut. 32:10). As the pupil is a vital part of the eye, and a part of a man’s self, highly honored and tenderly protected; so are the Lord’s people parts, as it were, of himself. We are members of his body, closely united to him; and whatever injury is done to us he reckons as done to himself. To one persecutor he spoke from heaven, saying, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” (Acts 9:5). Being highly esteemed by him, and having the strongest affection for us, he personally resents every affront of our foes and will punish all who seek to injure us. He so assuredly keeps us as the very apple of his eye that it is written, “There shall no evil happen to the just.”
The pupil of the eye is the most tender part of the most tender organ of our bodies. When our Savior says by his prophet, “He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye,” he asserts that we are truly one with him, one with him in the
truest, fullest, most real manner imaginable! As truly one with the Son of God as the pupil of your eye is one with your body!
No doubt this is a special reason why God is jealous over his people. He who touches you touches Christ himself. You and I are in the closest possible union with Christ, the glorious head of the body. And it will be at the cost of eternal hazard that anyone touches Christ’s mystical body. If you hurt his people wilfully, the Son of man will say, “Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me,” and the recompense shall follow.
This word from our Savior, “He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye,” also sets forth the inexpressible tenderness of God’s love for us. As Calvin states, “There is nothing more delicate or more tender than the eye in the body of a man; for were one to bite my finger or prick my arm or my legs, or even severely to wound me, I should feel no such pain as by having the pupil of my eye injured.”
Here is the lovingkindness and tender affection of God our Savior for us. — The Lord our God, who sits upon the circle of the earth, before whom the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers and the nations are as a drop of water in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance declares, “He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye!”
How marvellous! His everlasting love is fixed upon such worthless worms as we are! That the triune God should love such utterly worthless, insignificant, and sinful creatures as we are is utterly astounding! Even the heavens are not pure in his sight, and he charged his angels with folly. And how abominable is man, “who drinketh iniquity like water!” Yet, he condescends to love us!
O great and glorious God! How is it that you could choose such debased, depraved, rebellious, hard-hearted creatures? Why should you look upon such and bring us into your favor? “What is man, that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that thou visitest him?” This question we can never answer except in the Words of our Savior himself, “for so it seemed good in thy sight!” It was of his grace, of his own will and good pleasure, that the Lord God has lifted us up from the dunghill and made us to sit among princes.
C. H. Spurgeon said, “God’s love, which at first came to us freely, has so ennobled us in Christ, that God’s present esteem of us in Jesus is not without reason and justification. Love without cause has now imparted and imputed such loveliness to its objects, that in Christ they are fitting subjects for love’s embrace.”
We are “his workmanship,” his masterpieces. God’s wisdom is seen in the sun, the moon, and the stars. Infinite wisdom is seen in every flower and in every living thing. But the wisdom and the skill of the Almighty are far more clearly seen in the believer than in any other work of his hand. Man, as a creature of God, born the first time, is fearfully and wonderfully made. But when born again, created new in Christ, and regenerated, he is far more fearfully and wonderfully made (2 Cor. 5:17; Col. 1:12; 2 Pet. 1:4; 1 John 3:1, 9).
When we realize that our great God has made his people the objects of his eternal love, the trophies of his noblest skill, and vessels of honor fit even for the Master’s use, it is but little wonder that he should guard them with a jealous care, even as a man does the apple of his eye.