CLAIM: Zechariah writes, “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn” (Zech. 12:10). John states that this passage predicts Jesus (Jn. 19:37; Rev. 1:7). Is this the case?
RESPONSE: A number of observations can be made:
First, Zechariah predicts that the Messiah would be “pierced.” Isaiah already explained this (Isa. 53:5), but Zechariah makes it clear that the Suffering Servant will be the Messiah. These “wounds” were performed by the Messiah’s “friends” (c.f. 13:6)!
Second, Zechariah predicts that Messiah will be originally rejected by the Jewish people. The “inhabitants of Jerusalem” mourned over Yahweh for piercing him. Notice what the text says: “They will look on Me whom they have pierced.” Up until this point, Yahweh has been speaking in the first person (Zech. 12:1-9). Jesus predicted that the Jewish people would welcome him when he returned (Lk. 19:41-44; Mt. 23:37-39), as this passage predicts.
Third, the coming of the Messiah will permanently end prophecy. As we look into chapter 13, we see that the Messiah’s arrival ends prophecy permanently. Once the Messiah comes, there will be no need of prophets (c.f. Heb. 1:1-2).
Fourth, many rabbis interpreted this passage as messianic. In the Talmud, Succah 52a, we read: “Why is this mourning in Messianic times? …One opinion is that they mourn for Messiah Ben Joseph who is killed, and another explanation is that they mourn for the slaying of the evil inclination. It is well according to him who explains that the cause is the slaying of the Messiah since that well agrees with this verse. If it refers to the slaying of the evil inclination, it must be asked, is this an occasion for mourning? Is it not rather an occasion for rejoicing? Why then should they weep?”