Missing the Day of Your Visitation

23 03 2013

Jesus_on_Donkey_PalmSundayCrowdWhat a difference 7 days will make!

The scene is joyous, sounds of a party, crowds chanting, people running, children jumping. The crowds gather to see a man riding on a donkey entering the city.  “Look it is Jesus of Nazareth, the miracle worker,” some cry!  Others run to retrieve palm branches to wave at the procession.  With shouts of praise the crowd chants words from the Psalms, ” Hosanna to the son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!”   They chant Hosanna, meaning, “Save now, we pray,” expressing the anticipation and hopes of the crowd.  Has this Jesus come to declare Himself King of the Jews and deliver us from Rome?  Throwing their garments in the road in respect for an honored guest they receive Him into the city, with shouts of, “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”  A crowd was running before Him and running behind Him chanting, praising, and singing as His closet followers walked alongside wondering in amazement what does this all mean.  It was quite a day, and an exciting celebration.

The Gospels record the story in Matt 21, Mark 11, Luke 19, and John 12.  This is what Christians celebrate as Palm Sunday, the first day of Passion Week.   The name is derived from the palm branches that were waved at Jesus and laid in the road before Him as he entered Jerusalem, the City of David.  The colt or donkey that He was riding upon was lent to Him by a generous benefactor so He could fulfill the prophecy of the coming of a King to Jerusalem, Zechariah 9:9.

This day marks the beginning of the end of the earthly ministry of Jesus.  In just a few short days that same crowd would be chanting, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” as well as “Give us Barabbas!”  They would exchange Jesus, the miracle worker, for Barabbas the common thief.

The crowd of that day, no different than crowds of today, entered into the frenzy of the majority.  While wildly chanting, praising, and running with the fellow next to them they were asking, “Who is this?” Matt 21:10.  “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee!” rings out as the answer and there is the problem.

Luke records in his Gospel a profound insight into the man Jesus who in the midst of accolades, praises, and cheering crowds of adoration is stuck with deep sorrow to the point of weeping for they had missed the time of their visitation.

When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.  “For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” Luke 19: 41- 44  NASB

The future destruction of Jerusalem foretold just a few decades away.  Here we get a glimpse into the heart of God who weeps deeply and grieves that the coming consequences need not be if only their eyes had opened.  The life and ministry of Jesus had afforded them a strategic season, τὸν καιρὸν, of visitation, inspection, and investigation.  They had the opportunity to see Jesus for who He was and accept his testimony concerning Himself.  Instead they either missed it all together, “Who is this?” or projected onto him their own analysis of who he was, “This is Jesus, the prophet!”

It is no different today.  Like many church going Christians of today the citizens of Jerusalem followed the crowd, sang the songs, declared Him King of Kings but missed the intention of His coming and the authority of His words.  Then there are others who look to the knowledgeable in the crowd and ask the question “Who is this?” Only to be misled by their uninformed answer!  Oh, and let us not forget the religiously arrogant who are simply jealous that the crowds are groping to know and follow Jesus rather than listening to them.

On Palm Sunday,  millions will flock to church in their Sunday best to sing, praise and hail the coming of the triumphant Jesus.  But my deep concern is that we all will miss the time of our visitation.   Will we see him for who He is?  Will we pause in the din of the crowd to ponder the consequences of missing the moment?

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.  John 14:6 NASB

 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,
 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26  NASB

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” John 8:12 NASB

 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.  John 6:35 NASB

Perhaps you have heard the claims of Christ in your life.  Maybe even joined a crowd shouting Hosanna.  But the real questions is have you recognized your day of vitiation?  Have you heard the words of Jesus and believed them?  He is more than a prophet, more than a miracle worker, more than a great teacher.  Jesus of Nazareth of the Galilee, the man who would suffer upon a tree for you and me, He is God very God, maker of Heaven and earth!  He is the judge of the living and the dead.  He will come again to receive to Himself all who have put their hope and trust in Him.  If you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead and confess with your mouth that He is Lord while turning from a life without God you will experience His salvation and Life.  Ask Him today to fill you with His Holy Spirit and —- Do not miss the Day of Your Visitation!








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