Today’s Reading: Zech 12:1–14:21, Acts 26:1–32, Job 31:1–8
Today’s Theme: The Spirit of Grace
Today there is no clear theme but we do speak about the spirit of grace which God pours out, granting repentance to His people. We see God’s grace in the very creation of man and then in His plan to redeem and restore man to His own Glory.
The oracle of the word of the LORD concerning Israel: Thus declares the LORD, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him: (Zechariah 12:1, ESV)
We are not extensions of God, nor are our spirits a part of or akin to the Holy Spirit. God created man’s spirit when He breathed into man the breath of life.
The heavy stone
On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it. (Zechariah 12:3, ESV)
This is a good lens to see today’s news through and explains the troubles in the Middle East. It also gives us direction on future events. We should pray that our nation will not hurt itself meddling in Israel as we have done in the past.
Jesus son of David, Son of God.
On that day the LORD will protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them on that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the angel of the LORD, going before them. (Zechariah 12:8, ESV)
A nod to the Messiah who is of the Davidic line and is God.
And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. (Zechariah 12:9, ESV)
This points to Armageddon
The spirit of grace
“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 him 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. (Zechariah 12:10, ESV)
This will be a sovereign move of God at the return of Christ to the Glory of God, The Jews will see Jesus who was nailed to the cross and because God gave them a spirit to repent they will.
There is a fountain
“On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness. (Zechariah 13:1, ESV)
There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins, Jesus is the fountain of life.
“And on that day, declares the LORD of hosts, I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, so that they shall be remembered no more. And also I will remove from the land the prophets and the spirit of uncleanness. (Zechariah 13:2, ESV)
Be encouraged, false teachers and demons days are numbered.
False prophecy is evil
And if anyone again prophesies, his father and mother who bore him will say to him, ‘You shall not live, for you speak lies in the name of the LORD.’ And his father and mother who bore him shall pierce him through when he prophesies. (Zechariah 13:3, ESV)
God takes false prophecy really seriously.
Jesus, the struck shepherd
“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who stands next to me,” declares the LORD of hosts. “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; I will turn my hand against the little ones. (Zechariah 13:7, ESV)
This can be seen in both a good and bad light, it was used to describe the essential truth of what happens to followers when a leader is struck and in particular context to Jesus when He was arrested. However in this context it is God’s judgement on a bad leader in Israel and the wicked followers.
The fire of refinement
And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’ ” (Zechariah 13:9, ESV)
God’s fire which is often hard times will refine our character in God.
Protect the women
For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. (Zechariah 14:2, ESV)
This is terrible, we put our household and wives / daughters in danger when we rebel.
Jesus’ 2nd Coming
On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward. (Zechariah 14:4, ESV)
The great prophecy of Jesus at his second coming.
The Lord’s army
And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. (Zechariah 14:5, ESV)
Jesus comes with saints and angels.
And it shall be inhabited, for there shall never again be a decree of utter destruction. Jerusalem shall dwell in security. (Zechariah 14:11, ESV)
This must be a future event yet to come as since this prophecy Jerusalem was destroyed in 70AD.
especially because you are familiar with all the customs and controversies of the Jews. Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently. (Acts 26:3, ESV)
This is a bold and good request when someone is being shared the Gospel, it’s worth asking them to listen patiently.
The miracle of salvation
And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them I persecuted them even to foreign cities. (Acts 26:11, ESV)
Paul was a zealous persecutor of the church before he met with Jesus. It is a glorious miracle that he is now a disciple.
But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, (Acts 26:16, ESV)
Paul’s calling to ministry was a divine appointment of the sovereign Lord. God call us all to service and being Your witnesses.
The mission, outlined
to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ (Acts 26:18, ESV)
The purpose of Paul’s mission to the gentiles is outlined by Jesus. To open their eyes, turn them from Satan to God. This is the core purpose of all ministry.
The end and goal of the Gospel is that we might have an inheritance to the glory of God.
Repentance is necessary
but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. (Acts 26:20, ESV)
Repentance is turning to God. True repentance will result in changed behaviour.
The gospel, summarised
that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.” (Acts 26:23, ESV)
A great summary of the validity and end of the Gospel with particular focus on the hope the resurrection gives us.
But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words. (Acts 26:25, ESV)
Paul did not accept the abuse from Felix and maintained that the words he spoke were true and rational. Paul was a rationalist in a sense and we should also be. Our gospel is rational.
Seek to persuade
And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” (Acts 26:28, ESV)
Oh yes Paul sought to persuade and so should we.
A covenant with our eyes
“I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin? (Job 31:1, ESV)
This is a covenant all godly men should have, as Jesus warned us when we look with lust we are guilty of adultery.
A gross caricature
Is not calamity for the unrighteous, and disaster for the workers of iniquity? (Job 31:3, ESV)
This is simply not true, we do go through hard times as well.
The lust of the eyes
if my step has turned aside from the way and my heart has gone after my eyes, and if any spot has stuck to my hands, (Job 31:7, ESV)
We must be careful of the lust of the eyes and coveting, materialism and short sighted lust in general, our hearts must not follow our eyes, we should walk by faith and not by sight, Lord help us.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on Acts 26