Much of the Old Testament is doom and gloom to try and get the very sinful people of God to repent and follow the Lord well. But repentance and following Jesus are works of the Spirit. We need the Spirit to reveal to our deceitful hearts our wickedness and we need his power alongside our right choices to live lives that are pure and holy.
Zechariah in this passage prophecies the pouring out of the Spirit in Jerusalem in a a similar way to the well known Joel 2 passage Peter quotes at Pentecost and Ezekiel 39:29.
I love the poured out imagery. Last night I watered my plants again pouring out water from the watering can abundantly so slightly withered plants came to life again. The Spirit is poured out – with grace and to empower pleas of mercy. As the next verses show, the Spirit is poured out to
- Kings – the house of David
- Priests – the house of Levi
- Everyone else
God’s Spirit will be poured out to all and for all. We first see this kind of revival power on the day of Pentecost, when the huge crowd or not long before had gathered to shout “Crucify Him!” are now recognising as they “look on whom they have pierced”, quite what they have done.
Acts 2:36 “Let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Lastly Zechariah prophecies “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.” I’d not tumbled to that verse before today! Again it is similar to Ezekiel 47 where Ezekiel prophesies a stream of water flowing from the Temple bringing life and healing where it goes. At the annual feast of Tabernacles, the priest would enact that in a kind of prophetic action, pouring out a jug of water. In John 7 Jesus stands up and says he is the stream of living water that will bubble up within those who believe in Him. So Zechariah’s prophecy echoes that idea majoring on the cleansing from sin.
These glorious prophecies were fulfilled in Acts 2 as the Spirit is poured out on Jews in Jerusalem, who are convicted of their sin and the fact they are the ones who pierced Christ on the cross. They repent, believe, are baptised and receive the Spirit, who gives them power to be holy. The promise goes wider as Jesus death on the cross broke down the wall of hostility between Jew and Gentile and enabled us to be included into the people of God! Hallelujah!