Thursday, December 26, 2013

Zechariah 12: The Cross and the Spirit

Zechariah 12:10-14 And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a Spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.  On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be as great as the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.  The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves: the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives,  the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of Shimei and their wives, and all the rest of the clans and their wives.

The coming of the Holy Spirit of grace and the atoning death of Christ at the Cross would occur together: "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a Spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced" (12:10). Without the Cross, there would be no outpouring of the Holy Spirit: the piercing of Christ took place on the Passover and the outpouring of the Spirit took place fifty days later on the Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). Both events must be seen as one and received together.

On the day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter spoke to the inhabitants of Jerusalem: "Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”  Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:36-38). Peter emphasizes that the Spirit and the Cross must both be received together to enter into the kingdom of God.

Yet, in many churches, the focus has been on the Cross and forgiveness of sin but there is a lack of emphasis on ministry of the Spirit of grace and supplication. While the Cross guarantees our position as children of the Kingdom, the Holy Spirit grants us the power to live as children of the Kingdom. So, in the Alpha Course, we not only emphasize the need for forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ (weeks 1-4) but also the need to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit at the weekend retreat (week 6). We cannot separate the Cross and the Spirit in the Gospel. They come in one package.

Father, thank You for the Cross that transfers us into Your kingdom and for the Holy Spirit that empowers us to live in righteousness, peace and joy in Your Kingdom. Amen.

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