All Eyes on Christ
“The burden of the word of the LORD in the land of Hadrach, and Damascus shall be the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the LORD. And Hamath also shall border thereby; Tyrus, and Zidon, though it be very wise. And Tyrus did build herself a strong hold, and heaped up silver as the dust, and fine gold as the mire of the streets. Behold, the Lord will cast her out, and he will smite her power in the sea; and she shall be devoured with fire. Ashkelon shall see it, and fear; Gaza also shall see it, and be very sorrowful, and Ekron; for her expectation shall be ashamed; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited. And a bastard shall dwell in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines. And I will take away his blood out of his mouth, and his abominations from between his teeth: but he that remaineth, even he, shall be for our God, and he shall be as a governor in Judah, and Ekron as a Jebusite. And I will encamp about mine house because of the army, because of him that passeth by, and because of him that returneth: and no oppressor shall pass through them any more: for now have I seen with mine eyes.”
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth. As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.”
“Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee; When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man. And the LORD shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord GOD shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south. The LORD of hosts shall defend them; and they shall devour, and subdue with sling stones; and they shall drink, and make a noise as through wine; and they shall be filled like bowls, and as the corners of the altar. And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land. For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids.”
This ninth chapter begins with a phrase that normally implies heaviness and sorrow, — “The burden of the word of the Lord.” But here it speaks of a burden of great joy. There is nothing in this chapter but good news. Here the prophet of God speaks of God’s salvation being brought to and wrought in his elect among the Gentiles, the gathering of his chosen from the four corners of the earth.
“The burden of the word of the LORD in the land of Hadrach, and Damascus shall be the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the LORD” (v. 1). — Read this blessed promise in connection with the last verse of chapter eight. Then, “the burden of the word of the LORD…shall be the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the LORD.”
All Eyes on Christ
That Man who is a Jew, upon whose skirt sinners take hold, is himself the Lord God our Savior toward whom men everywhere look. In verse 17 we are plainly told that this is a prophecy of God the Holy Spirit bending the hearts of rebel sinners to Christ the Savior-King in this gospel age by the omnipotent power of his irresistible grace.
“The eyes of man…shall be toward the Lord.” — What man? Certainly, the prophet’s words must refer to that one Man specifically mentioned in the previous verse, “him that is a Jew,” the Lord Jesus Christ, Immanuel, upon whose skirt we take hold by faith. The eyes of our glorious Head and Representative, the Lord Jesus Christ himself, were always upon the Lord. From everlasting his eyes were toward Jehovah his Father, and our Father, as our Covenant Surety (Psalm 40:6-10). Our Redeemer’s eyes were toward the Father throughout his life of obedience (Hebrews 10:5-7), and when he died upon the cursed tree (John 17:4).
But Zechariah’s words here must also mean that the eyes of God’s elect, the redeemed of the earth, the eyes of every sinner chosen of God, as the tribes of Israel, must and ultimately shall be all toward Jehovah the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, looking to him and to him alone for grace, salvation, and eternal life. Our salvation is looking to Christ. It begins in a look (Isaiah 45:22). It continues in looking (Hebrews 12:2). And it ends in a look (Revelation 22:4).
All the hosts of God’s chosen look as one upon the Lord Jesus Christ, just as Israel looked upon the serpent Moses raised before them in the wilderness. That is just as it should be! It is he whom God the Father has exalted. It is he to whom the triune God has given all pre-eminence. It is he who is “All and in all.” Where or to whom should we look, but to him for wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, peace, protection, and grace, forgiveness, preservation, and everlasting glory?
Shall not the eyes of the chosen be toward him whom God the Father unceasingly looks? Shall we not trust him whom the triune God trusted from everlasting as our Surety (Ephesians 1:12)? No mortal can imagine, let alone describe, the infinite complacency and delight with which the triune God looks from everlasting upon the God-man, our Mediator. God the Father looks to, has forever looked to, and shall only look to the Lord Jesus Christ, that man who is a Jew, to magnify his law and make it honorable, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to satisfy all his holy justice, to put away sin, to save his people from their sins, and to glorify him.
“Therefore,” our Lord Jesus said, “doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again” (John 10:17). If God the Father loves Christ as our God-man Mediator for undertaking and accomplishing our redemption by the sacrifice of himself, how we ought to love him! If God the Father unceasingly beholds him with rapturous pleasure, satisfaction, and delight, how pleased, satisfied, and delighted we should be to behold him!
O blessed Son of God, let our eyes, our hearts, and our souls be fixed on you, until every affection of our beings go out to you! As the Old Testament saints, seeing his day afar off, rejoiced, and were glad, let us rejoice to behold our Savior in this day of grace as those who are enlightened, and whose faces are not ashamed (Psalm 34:5). May God the Holy Spirit bend our hearts toward our Savior with every rising sun (Philippians 3:7-14).
In this chapter God the Holy Spirit gives us a prophetic description of our Savior’s first advent. He describes how the Lord Jesus comes to sinners in the mighty operations of his saving grace. He tells us how the Son of God causes chosen sinners to look to him. And the very first thing he tells us is this: — When the Lord Jesus Christ comes to save, he first destroys. Our Lord Jesus Christ is a gracious Destroyer. He only saves those who need saving. So the first thing he does in his saving operations is to make sinners know their need of him. “The Lord killeth, and maketh alive.” He strips before he clothes. He wounds before he heals. He empties before he fills. He slays before he saves.
“All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him.
This He giveth, this He giveth. —
‘Tis the Spirit’s rising beam.”
That is what is portrayed in verses 2-8. Spurgeon once said, “The first thing we have to do in preaching the gospel is to get men lost.” But the only one who can get sinners lost, the only one who can make a person know his lost condition without Christ is Christ himself. In these verses the prophet of God speaks prophetically of Christ coming to his chosen among the Gentiles in grace. But the first gracious acts he performs are acts of destruction.
He destroys the wisdom of the wise, making them fools (v. 2), taking the wise in their own craftiness. He destroys the riches men and women ignorantly imagine they have before him, making them poor in spirit (v. 3). He causes his chosen to be cast out in wrath and devoured with fire, that he might gather them in mercy and feed them with grace (v. 4). He abases and humbles, turning our hope and expectation into our shame, that he may lift and exalt us by his grace, and give us a good hope through grace (v. 5). If ever the Lord God saves you by his grace, he will humble you in the dust and break your pride, causing you to lie as a hopeless, fatherless bastard before him, that he may be gracious to you and give you the Spirit of adoption (v. 6). He will destroy every false god that may be your God (v. 7). Pastor Henry Mahan once wrote…
“The first thing the Holy Spirit does when he comes into a person’s heart is this: — He finds that person with a very good opinion of himself. And there is nothing which prevents a person coming to Christ like a good opinion of himself. The Holy Spirit must lay bare that heart and let him see the loathsome disease of sin, uncover to him all the evil and defilement of the human heart. “The heart is deceitful above all and desperately wicked; who can know it?” But it must be known before the sinner will fall at the feet of Christ and cry, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner.” Actually, the Spirit of God not only reveals the corruptions of our evil deeds, but the corruptions of our best deeds, until the convicted sinner weeps with Wesley and says…
‘Depths of mercy, can there be
Mercy still reserved for me?
Can my God His wrath forbear?
Me, the chief of sinners, spare?’”
When he has swept away every refuge of lies, the Lord himself will be our Strength and our Shield, our Rock and our Salvation (v. 8; Psalm 28:7; 62:2, 6; 94:22).
Next, in verse 9 we see that when Christ comes to save, he comes as our King. — “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”
“Behold thy King cometh unto thee.” The wise men asked, “where is he that is born King” (Matthew 2:2). The Lord Jesus Christ does not come begging sinners to make him their King, or let him be their King. He comes as our King, demanding surrender. Our Lord as God incarnate is King of Kings (Revelation 19:9-16; Psalm 2:6; Acts 2:36). As King he is sovereign in salvation (John 17:2; Romans 9:12-16). I ask you: — Has the Lord Jesus entered into your heart? Does your heart go forth to meet him with welcoming hosannas, like those Jewish children did 2000 years ago? Is Christ King in your soul?
Third, Jesus Christ is the just God. — “He is just” (v. 9). That means he is righteous in all his ways, holy in every aspect of his Being, and good in all his works. Both Stephen and Peter called him, “the just One” (Acts 3:12-15; 7:52). When the Lord Jesus comes in saving mercy, he makes the sinner to see and acknowledge the justice of God in his own condemnation and in redemption (Romans 3:24-26).
Fourth, look at verse 9 again. When the Lord Jesus comes in saving power, he causes the sinner he has chosen and redeemed to know that he alone is Savior, and that he who is our King and the just God comes in free grace, “having salvation.” He is “a just God and a Savior” (Isaiah 45:21). Jesus Christ the man is God our Savior (Titus 1:3; Luke 2:30). He came to give his life as a ransom for many, to purchase his covenant people out from under the curse of the law, and to save them from their sins (Matthew 20:28; Acts 20:28; Acts 4:12; Matthew 1:21).
He has salvation on his heart and salvation in his hands. He has salvation as our covenant Surety to bestow upon the sons of men; yes, salvation for the rebellious also (Psalm 68:17-20). He has obtained salvation for us by his blood (Hebrews 9:12). He has salvation to give freely to whom he will. — “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will” (John 5:21). He is Salvation (Isaiah 62:11; Luke 2:30). — “He that is our God is the God of salvation.”
Fifth, the prophet tells us that the Lord Jesus Christ, our just God and Savior, always comes to his chosen as one who humbled himself, “lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass” (v. 9). He comes to sinful men and women as a man completely identified with our humanity. He is totally and fully God almighty; and he is a real man (John 1:14; 1Timothy 3:16; Philippians 2:5-9). He is the God-man. He emptied himself, magnified the law, perfected righteousness, and died for us as a man, that he might redeem, save and fill us by his grace, making us the righteousness of God in him (Isaiah 42:21; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 9:12).
Next, we are told that the Lord Jesus, when he breaks the battle bow, when he conquers the rebel’s heart, “shall speak peace unto the heathen” (v. 10). He does not come to make peace. He did that at Calvary. He comes to speak peace by the blood of his cross (Colossians 1:19-22). Christ is our Peace with God; and he alone is able to “speak peace unto the heathen” (Ephesians 2:12-17; Romans 4:25-5:1).
Notice this, too. — His kingdom is not set up with sword or battle bow, yet we are told, “his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth” (Psalm 72:8-19; Malachi 1:1).
Seventh, when the Lord Jesus comes into your soul, conquering and to conquer by his sovereign grace, when he speaks peace to your troubled heart and conscience, he will be your Deliverer. That is what the rest of this chapter declares (vv. 11-16). Blessed be his name, when Jesus Christ comes to save, “deliverance will come.” — “As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water” (v. 11). That is exactly what we read in Romans 11:26-27.
“And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”
Notice that those he delivers are called his prisoners. — “I have sent fort thy prisoners.” — Our blessed Lord Jesus came to set his people free (Luke 4:18), to free his ransomed ones from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:10-13), the bondage of sin (Romans 6:14), the fear and terror of death (Hebrews 2:15; Revelation 1:18), and the grip of the devil (Heb. 2:14).
“He breaks the power of cancelled sin,
And sets the captive free!”
How does the Son of God set the captive free? How are his prisoners sent forth out of the pit wherein is no water? He does it “by the blood of thy covenant” (v. 11; Hebrews 13:20). He declares to the “prisoners of hope,” that they shall receive of the Lord’s hand “double” for all their sins (v. 12; Isaiah 40:1-2), the double portion of firstborn sons (Deuteronomy 21:17).
The Lord Jesus Christ brings deliverance and sets captive prisoners free by bending the hearts of his chosen to himself (v. 13), and revealing himself to them. He reveals himself by blowing the jubilee trumpet of his grace (vv. 14-15), by causing them to hear and believe the gospel. He saves them “as the flock of his people” (v. 16; John 10:16). The Good Shepherd always seeks and saves his sheep. And when the Lord Jesus saves his people, he says, “they shall be as the stones of a crown” (v. 16). Imagine that. The Son of God makes us jewels in the crown of his glory. — “And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him” (Malachi 3:17).
Oh, may God the Holy Spirit cause you now to look away to Christ. May the Lord Jesus, ever bend our hearts, that we may have our eyes turned toward him forever. Then shall the Word of the Lord be rest unto our souls, and we will forever adore him, saying with the prophet to one another, “How great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty” (v. 17).
Listen to sermons at FreeGraceRadio.com