A Fountain Opened for Repentant Sinners

In our Senior Bible Fellowship at Faith PRC, we have been studying some of the post-exilic minor prophets, namely Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. This past Wednesday night we finished the prophecy of Zechariah, which has some marvelous messianic prophecies. Among them are Zech.12:10 and 13:1, where we find these precious covenant promises:

And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. …In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.

In his commentary on these passages (especially Zech.13:1), John Calvin provides some beautiful gospel thoughts about the meaning and fulfillment for us NT believers. Below are a few of those comments, including his closing prayer to this section. These words are also fitting in light of our commemoration of the atoning sacrifice of Christ for us through the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper this morning in my home church.

From this verse we again learn, that Zechariah promised the spirit of repentance to the Jews, so that they would find God still propitious to them, when their circumstances were brought to the verge of despair: for it would not have been enough for them to feel sorrow, except God himself became propitious and merciful to them. He had said indeed that the Spirit of grace and of commiserations would be poured forth; but he had not as yet taught clearly what he now adds respecting remission and pardon. After having then declared that there would be felt by the Jews the bitterest sorrow, because they had as it were pierced God, he now mentions the fruit of this repentance. And hence also appears what Paul means by sorrow not to be repented of; for it generates repentance unto salvation. When then our sorrow is blessed by the Lord, the end is to be regarded; for our hearts are thereby raised up to joy. But the issue of repentance [Calvin means, what repentance issues in – cf. the last paragraph below], as Zechariah declares here, is ablution: and he alludes to the legal rites when he says,

A fountain shall be opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. We know that formerly under the law many washings were prescribed to the Jews; and when any one had become defiled, to wash himself was the remedy. It is certain that water was of no value to cleanse the heart; but the sins of men, we know, are expiated by the death of Christ, so that true ablution is by the blood which he shed for us. Hence the types of the law ought no doubt to be referred to this blood. The meaning is that God would be reconciled to the Jews when they became touched with sincere sorrow, and that reconciliation would be ready for them, for the Lord would cleanse them from every defilement.

He speaks of a fountain opened; and he no doubt intimates here a difference between the law and the gospel. Water was brought daily to the temple; but it was, we know, for private washings. But Zechariah promises here a perpetual stream of cleansing water; as though he had said, “Ablution will be free to all, when God shall again receive his people into favor.” Though remission of sins was formerly offered under the law, yet it is now much more easily obtained by us; not that God grants a license to sin, but that the way in which our filth is cleansed, has become more evident since the coming of Christ. For the fathers under the law were indeed fully assured that God was so propitious as not to impute sins; but where was the pledge of ablution? In the sprinkling of blood, and that blood was the blood of a calf or a lamb. Now since we know that we have been redeemed by Christ, and that our souls are sprinkled with his blood by the hidden power of the Holy Spirit, it is doubtless the same as though God had not only set before our eyes our ablution, but also placed it as it were in our hands, while to the fathers it was more obscure or shown to them at a distance.

…The import of the whole then is — that though the Jews had in various ways defiled themselves, so that they were become filthy before God, and their uncleanness was abominable, yet a fountain would be prepared for them, by which they might cleanse themselves, so as to come before God pure and clean. We hence see that it was the Prophet’s object to show, that the repentance of which he had spoken would not be useless, for there would be a sure issue, when God favored the Jews, and showed himself propitious to them, and already pacified, and even provided for them a cleansing by the blood of his only-begotten Son, so that no filth might prevent them to call on him boldly and in confidence; for instead of the legal rites there would be the reality, as their hearts would be sprinkled by the Spirit, so that they would be purified by faith, and would thus cast away all their filth.

Prayer

Grant, Almighty God, that since thou hast been pleased to adopt us as thy people, and from being thine enemies, profane and reprobate, to make us the children of Abraham, that we might be to thee a holy heritage, — O grant, that through the whole course of our life we may so repent as to attain thy mercy, which is daily set before us in thy gospel, and of which thou hast given us a sure pledge in the death of thy only Son, so that we may become more and more humble before thee, and labor to form our life according to the rule of righteousness, and so loathe ourselves, that we may at the same time be allured by the sweetness of thy goodness to call upon thee, and that being thus united to thee, we may be confirmed in the faith, until we shall reach that blessed rest which has been procured for us by the blood of thy Son Jesus Christ. — Amen.

Published in: on November 20, 2022 at 6:59 AM  Leave a Comment  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://cjts3rs.wordpress.com/2022/11/20/a-fountain-opened-for-repentant-sinners/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: