READ: Psalm 133, Zechariah 12, Matthew 15, Titus 1
Jesus grants us the grace of grief over our sins, our loss, and our shame. Biblically grace and prayer are gifts from God that lead us to realize how much of Him we are missing. Grace and supplication lead us to long for Jesus, to ache for more of Him, and to agonize over how we have treated Him in the folly of our insubordinate hearts.
Historically, the Jewish people have for the most part rejected Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah. Those of us who work among Arabs must diligently pray for revival among the Jewish people lest we take up the prejudices of those we serve. Zechariah reminds us that God will one more time bring the Jewish people to Himself on a broad scale, prophesying: “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and supplications; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for His only son, and grieve for Him as he grieves for a firstborn” (Zech. 12:10). There is a day rapidly coming when a significant portion of the Jewish people will repent, anguished at what they have done to the Messiah, groaning from deep within their spirits for union with and fullness of Jesus.
What is true for the Jewish people is also true of us. God gives us grace to pray, and prayer opens our eyes to how we have pierced Jesus, how we have wounded Him through rebellion. Grace prayer first sobers us by reminding us what is in our hearts: evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemy (Matt. 15:19). All these things, plus more, are in my heart and yours. Grace prayer leads us to mortification and deep mourning and wailing of soul at how disgusting, vile, and twisted we are–every one of us. Grace prayer helps us understand how little of Jesus we have apprehended, how marred is His image upon us, and how much more of Him there is to know. Grace prayer fosters in us an anguished longing for what we have foolishly lost, for what we have cavalierly abandoned.
When God sends a spirit of grace and supplication upon us, the unexpected result is mourning for what we have insulted, for who we have offended and lost. Grace not only bestows Christ’s riches on us; it also opens our eyes to how much we have wounded Jesus, how we have pierced Him with our post-salvation sin. The redeemed do more injury to the Savior than do the unconverted. It is right that we anguish and sorrow over Him whom we have pierced. A spirit of grace and supplication leads us to mourning, and mourning leads us to the morning.