Sermon #66 Zechariah Series
Title: Justice Satisfied
And Mercy Promised
Text: Zechariah 13:7-9
Subject: Redemption and Its Result
Date: Sunday Evening — September 23, 2007
Readings: Rex Bartley and Larry Criss
Tape # Zechariah #66
Zechariah has been describing God’s mighty operations of grace in his people by his Spirit, opening to us the Fountain of cleansing in Christ’s blood by the revelation of grace, causing us to look on him whom we have pierced in repentance and faith, causing us to know him whom to know is life eternal (12:10-13:6). In Zechariah 13:7-9 the prophet declares God’s great work of redemption for us in the sacrifice of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ and God’s great promise to save all for whom his Son was slain at Calvary. You might ask, “Why would Zechariah describe the experience of grace and God’s work in us before telling us about the accomplishments of Christ at Calvary as our Redeemer?” That is a good question; and the answer is obvious. — No sinner can ever know anything about the accomplishments of Christ for us until he experiences the work of God the Holy Spirit, until he is washed from sin and uncleanness in the “Fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins.”
You will never be made to know and mourn for your sin by the thunders and lightning of Sinai’s fiery mountain, but only by looking on him whom we have pierced, by seeing the agony and bloody sweat of the Lord Jesus in Gethsemane and hearing the groans and cries of the suffering Son of God when he was made sin for us upon the cross. To look upon him whom we have pierced will fill heart and eyes with godly sorrow for sin and mourning for the crucified Savior. To see by the eye of faith, as revealed to the soul by the power and grace of God the Holy Spirit, the darling Son of God bound, scourged, buffeted, spit upon, mocked, and then, as the climax of cruel scorn and infernal cruelty, crucified between two thieves — this believing sight of the sufferings of Christ, will melt the hardest heart into contrition.
And when we see, by the same eye of faith, that this was the smallest part of his sufferings, that there were depths of soul trouble and of intolerable distress and agony from the hand of God as a consuming fire, as of inflexible justice and righteous indignation against sin wherever and in whomever found, and that our blessed Lord had to endure the wrath of God until he was poured out like water, and his soft, tender heart in the flames of indignation became like wax, melted within him (Psalm 22:14) — then we can in some measure conceive what he undertook in being made sin for us.
When all the sins of his people were made his, when he who knew no sin was made sin for us, the wrath of God that we deserved fell upon him. Separation from God, under a sense of his terrible displeasure, and that on account of sin that was made his own, that abominable thing which his holy soul hates — is not this hell? This, then, was the hell experienced by the suffering Redeemer when the Lord laid on him the iniquities of us all (Isaiah 53:6). And it is upon the basis of this great sacrifice that God promises mercy to his people. He who is a just God can only be our Savior upon the basis of justice satisfied. The title of my message is Justice Satisfied and Mercy Promised. Read Zechariah 13:7-9 with me.
(Zechariah 13:7-9) “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. (8) And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. (9) And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.”
That this blessed scripture points to Christ, and to him only, the Lord Jesus himself fully confirmed in his discourse with his disciples at the Mount of Olives (Matthew 26:31; Mark 14:27).
(Matthew 26:31) “Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.”
(Mark 14:27) “And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.”
I want you to hold your Bibles open on your laps and follow along with me as we look at these three verses of Zechariah’s prophecy together. May God the Holy Spirit, who inspired Zechariah to write these words on paper, now write them upon our hearts.
The Sword Awakened
“Awake, O sword.” — What is this “sword” but the sword of God’s holy justice and furious anger and wrath? The Hebrew word for “sword” (brx chereb kheh’-reb) occurs more than 400 times in the Old Testament. It speaks of an offensive weapon of war, used in close-range combat to thrust into and slash to pieces an adversary. The sword was sharp as a barber’s razor (Ezekiel 5:1). So it was kept in a sheath except when it was to be used (Ezekiel 21:3-5).
This is the “sword of the Lord” (as it is called in Judges 7:18, 20). It is the sword that belongs to Jehovah, the sword he uses against his enemies.
This is the sword of Divine justice, not his rod of correction. It is not the instrument with which he chastises his people in driving foolishness from them (as in Proverbs 22:15). It is the instrument with which he slays the ungodly and executes his justice upon them (Deuteronomy 32:41-42).
(Deuteronomy 32:41-42) “If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me. (42) I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.”
The Lord God said, “My sword shall be bathed in heaven” (Isaiah 34:5). And now he cries, “Awake, O sword!” Why? Why does the Lord God command his sword to “awake”? Because it has been asleep! It could have performed its work of justice the first time man sinned, and on every subsequent occasion since. But it is as though Jehovah in his longsuffering held his sword in its scabbard and commanded it sleep until such time as he would awaken it.
Note well, it is God himself who awakes his sword and sets it to work. He commands it and orders it. It is he who opens his armory and brings forth “the weapons of his indignation.” He says, “I command the sword” (Amos 9:4; Jeremiah 50:25). It had been a long, long time since our father Adam had sinned and we sinned in him; and justice demands satisfaction. It had been a much longer time since Christ became Surety for us and engaged to swallow the sword in his soul. But now, the time had come; and Jehovah cries, “Awake, O sword!”
The Victim Identified
Against whom does the thrice holy Jehovah awaken his glittering sword? He cries “Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, and against the Man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts!” — “Be astonished, O ye heavens at this!” — “O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD!”
The Lord God calls for his sword to awake against his Shepherd! His Shepherd is our Shepherd, the One to whom he has trusted his flock, the flock of his sheep, his elect. It is not against the sheep that justice is awakened, but the Shepherd; and not simply one of the many shepherds of God’s sheep, but against one particular Shepherd, even Jehovah’s Shepherd. — Don’t miss this sweet thought. — Jehovah’s Shepherd is also our Shepherd! “The Lord is my Shepherd!”
· The Good Shepherd who gave his life for his sheep (John 10).
· The Great Shepherd who is raised from the dead (Hebrews 13:20).
· The Chief Shepherd who is coming again to gather his sheep into his heavenly fold (1 Peter 5:4).
(Psalms 23) “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (2) He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. (3) He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. (4) Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (5) Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. (6) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”
Read on. — This Shepherd is also said to be the Man; not a Man, or any Man, but one specific Man, — “the Man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts.” There is one Man spoken of throughout this blessed Book as “the Man,” and that Man is the God-man our Savior (Psalm 1:1; 80:17; 127:5; Isaiah 46:11; Lamentations 3:1; Ezekiel 40:4-5; Zechariah 1:10; 6:12; John 19:5; 1 Timothy 2:5).
(Psalms 1:1) “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”
(Psalms 80:17) “Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself.”
(Psalms 127) “A Song of degrees for Solomon. Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. (2) It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. (3) Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. (4) As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. (5) Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”
(Isaiah 46:11) “Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.”
(Lamentations 3:1) “I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath.”
(Ezekiel 40:4-5) “And the man said unto me, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall show thee; for to the intent that I might show them unto thee art thou brought hither: declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel. (5) And behold a wall on the outside of the house round about, and in the man’s hand a measuring reed of six cubits long by the cubit and an hand breadth: so he measured the breadth of the building, one reed; and the height, one reed.”
(Zechariah 1:10) “And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth.”
(Zechariah 6:12) “And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD.”
(John 19:5) “Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!”
(1 Timothy 2:5) “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
Clearly, those two words, — “the Man” call our attention to the singularity and perfection of this one Man who is Jehovah’s Shepherd. In fact, the word used for Man in our text (rbg geber gheh’-ber) means “the mighty, noble valiant man.” He who is our Savior, Jehovah’s Shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ is the perfect man (Hebrews 2:5-18), the perfect “Son of Man.” When you look at Christ, “Behold the Man!”
(Hebrews 2:5-18) “For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. (6) But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? (7) Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: (8) Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. (9) But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (10) For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (11) For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, (12) Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. (13) And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. (14) Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; (15) And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. (16) For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. (17) Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. (18) For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”
But he who is our Savior must be and is more than a mere man, more even than a perfect, mighty, noble, valiant man. This Man is God! He is the God-man our Savior. Our text reads, — “Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, and against the Man that is my Fellow, saith the Lord of hosts.” The Lord of Hosts calls Jesus of Nazareth — “THE MAN, MY FELLOW!”
· God calls us his children (John 1:12; Galatians 6:4-5; 1 John 3:1-2).
· He calls some men his friends (James 2:23; John 15:14).
· But nowhere else does the God of Glory refer to a man as his “fellow.”
The words “my fellow” imply more than one like me, or one associated with me. They suggest one united to me by the possession of common nature, rights, privileges, interests and aims. The triune God here declares the Man Christ his equal, him being “in the form of God” and “equal with God” (Philippians 2:6; John 1:1-3, 14; 5; 1 John 5:7; Colossians 2:9-10). This Man who is Jehovah’s Fellow is God manifest in the flesh, God in our nature. Our Savior said, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.”
(John 1:1-3) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) The same was in the beginning with God. (3) All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
(John 1:14) “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
(1 John 5:7) “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”
(Colossians 2:9-10) “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (10) And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.”
He is truly and truly man; fully God and fully man, all God and all man.
(1 Corinthians 15:21) “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.”
The very first promise found in Holy Scripture expressly declared that fallen man must be redeemed and saved by another Man. The woman’s Seed must crush the serpent’s head. Satan had triumphed over the nature of man in the fall; and the same nature of man was promised to conquer death, hell and the grave. He who is our Savior must be a man, a perfect man; but he must be more. He must be God. None but man could be a suitable Redeemer; and none but God could be a competent Redeemer!
The Shepherd Smitten
Read on — “Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, and against the Man that is my Fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the Shepherd!” Look yonder, O my soul! See the Lamb of God nailed to Calvary’s cursed tree! — The sword of God’s holy, offended justice, having been asleep from the dawn of creation, is now awakened, removed from its scabbard, and commanded to sheathe itself in the heart of heaven’s Darling and bathe itself in his precious blood.
Wait justice! Wait Divine Sword! He who is smitten by justice must be justly smitten. Justice cannot, under any circumstance, slay the righteous! The righteous cannot be punished any more than the guilty can be justified. Justice will never allow such a thing. Without question, every son and daughter of Adam deserves that justice bathe its furious, glittering sword in their blood, because all have sinned and the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23; 6:23). But the Man who is Jehovah’s fellow is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” He knew no sin. Guile was never found in his mouth. Iniquity is not in him. Justice cannot slay him. That is exactly right. Justice cannot slay the righteous (Proverbs 17:15).
(Proverbs 17:15) “He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.”
How, then, can the triune God, the thrice holy Jehovah call for his glittering sword of justice to awake and smite the Man who is his Fellow? Hear the answer and learn the sweetest, most blessed, most wondrous thing ever revealed from heaven (Isaiah 53:4-12; Romans 3:19-26; 2 Corinthians 5:20-21; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18).
(Isaiah 53:4-12) “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. (5) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (7) He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. (8) He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. (9) And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. (10) Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. (11) He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. (12) Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
(Romans 3:19-26) “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. (20) Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (21) But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; (22) Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: (23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (24) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (25) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (26) To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
(2 Corinthians 5:20-21) “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. (21) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
(1 Peter 2:24) “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”
(1 Peter 3:18) “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:”
The Sheep Scattered
“Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, and against the Man that is my Fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered!” This prophecy was particularly fulfilled in our Lord’s disciples. On the eve of his death he told them, — “Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me” (John 16:32). And when the Lord’s enemies came to take him to the place where he would be stricken, “Then all the disciples forsook him and fled” (Matthew 26:56; Mark 14:50).
· All forsook him
· Peter denied him.
But blessed be the name of our God, the God of all grace, the sentence does not end there! The Lord God promises mercy to those poor, sinful, scattered sheep for whom Christ shed his precious blood at Calvary.
(Zechariah 13:7) “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.”
These “little ones” are the Shepherd’s lambs, including those little lambs (his apostles) who deserted him. They are “little ones” in God’s sight, his dear “little ones.” The Father is so fond of his “little ones” that he will not permit even one of them to perish (Matthew 18:14). The Shepherd is so fond of his “little ones” that he will tolerate none who would harm or despise them (Matthew 18:6, 10). They are “little ones” in their own sight, especially as they view themselves before God their Savior, crying “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). The Lord God promises “I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.”
· His Omnipotent Hand
· His Hand of Mercy and Grace
· His Hand of Forgiveness and Restoration
· His Hand of Love and Tender Care
· His Hand of Protection and Defense
· His Hand of Comfort and Peace
· His Hand of Grace and Salvation
Verses 8 and 9 show us that it is particularly his hand of grace and salvation that is spoken of here.
(Zechariah 13:8-9) “And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. (9) And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.”
There is in this world a remnant according to the election of grace who must be saved. They are here referred to as “the third part” of the earth. They are the 144,000 redeemed from among men, the whole Israel of God who must be sealed by the Spirit of grace before time shall be no more. At the appointed time of love…
· They shall call upon the name of the Lord.
· He will hear them and own them as his people, saying, “It is my people.”
· And they shall lift their hearts to heaven crying, “Abba, Father,” “The Lord is my God!”
May you be numbered among them. May God now turn his hand upon you, for Christ’s sake.
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