(this transcript has been lightly edited for readability)
Well, if you're a person that likes mysterious and rather confusing visions, read Zechariah. Zechariah is a mysterious, confusing vision after vision after vision. Zechariah was a prophet and priest around twenty years after the return of God's people from captivity in Babylon. And things are not as good as people of God would've hoped. In fact, Zechariah is addressing discouraged people.
The Temple foundation has been constructed, but the Temple is unfinished, and it's that living between the ‘already’ and the ‘not yet’ that is so hard. It's that life in the middle where you sort of see the promises of God, but you don't see them really realized fully. And I think that's very helpful because that's where we all live. You see glimpses of God's promises, but you don't see them in full bloom yet, and there are times that is so discouraging. God promises me peace, but I get shreds of peace; but I don't get complete peace in my heart, and I don't have complete peace around me. And it's that weary middle that is addressed in Zechariah.
Where are the glorious promises that the earlier prophets spoke of? If you were living in Zechariah's day, you would say, “Don't read me that stuff, I've heard that; it doesn't seem to be happening. It seems to be little to be encouraged with.”
Yet in the midst of this are some of the most beautiful promises of God. Zechariah 3, says this, “I will remove their iniquity in a single day.” Now what possibly could that be talking about? Do you have a clue? When is this ‘single day’ that sin is once and for all dealt with? You could not get a more direct prophecy of the cross of Jesus Christ unless those words, “the cross of Jesus Christ,” were there.
And then you have these words written in the 12th chapter of Zechariah, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on…whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. (And) the land shall mourn, each family by itself: the family the house of David by itself, and their wives of by themselves; (and) the family the house of (Nathan) by itself, and their wives by themselves.” And the passage goes on.
Again, who is the One who is pierced and what is that mourning about? What God consistently does for His people is He keeps saying, “Don't be discouraged; this is not all there is. There is more to come.” For people in the Old Testament, that was the promise of His first coming; “I'm not done yet, there's a Lamb Redeemer King coming. He will be pierced for your sin so you would receive my mercy.” For us, it is, “I'm coming again; don't give up, don't be discouraged, there's more to come!”