The Time Of Your Visitation

On Palm Sunday the people gathered around Jesus and worshiped and sang and had a great time welcoming the messiah they thought they were getting. But they missed the obvious. Jesus didn’t come to deliver them from Rome. He came to deliver them from sin.

Please open your Bible and read from the Gospel of Luke chapter 19.
Read Luke 19:28-44

Many times the observation is made that the crowds which cheered for Jesus on Sunday were shouting for his death by Friday. But while the crowds where crying out with joy, Jesus was crying out with anguish. They danced and he wept. Both for the same reasons – because even though they had all the pieces to the puzzle they failed to recognize that God himself had come down among them. They thought he was the messiah they wanted, he knew they had rejected the messiah he really was.

They missed the time of their visitation.

Again, remember the context of this event. Jesus is riding on a donkey in fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy. The people around Jesus are shouting his name and rejoicing. Everyone around Jesus is in the middle of a huge party. They’re dancing and worshiping his arrival (as a human king) and waving palm branches. As Jesus makes his way towards the city of Jerusalem, the people of Jerusalem come pouring out towards him. They’re acknowledging him as their messiah (created in their own image.) They cry out “save us now Son of David!” (Hosanna son of David). They are throwing coats on the ground as a sign of subjection to Jesus. They are certain that the Davidic king has come to strap on a sword and drive out the Romans.

I can imagine through all of it that Jesus’ heart was growing heavier and heavier. He understands the rejoicing. He is one of the few who understands that prophecy is being fulfilled. Finally as he crests a hill or rounds a corner he turns to look upon Jerusalem, and seeing the city he completely loses control. Jesus, the man of the hour – the people’s hero – bursts into tears in the middle of his parade.

The verb used to describe Jesus’ crying out is one of loud sobbing which expresses very deep emotion. It’s specific usage means that Jesus burst out in loud wails quite suddenly. Can you imagine being at a hero’s parade and having the hero break down in loud wailing, tears?

The people had seen the miracles proving who Jesus was. The Pharisees had confessed through Nicodemus in John 3:2 that they at least knew that Jesus was from God. All around him the people were praising him as their Messiah – the kind they wanted. But Jesus was crying.

The very name of Jerusalem means “They shall see peace”. If they had accepted the peace which God offers the story might well have been different. And so Jesus Cries, If you had only known the things which make for peace! But they did not. They had all the indicators but they failed to interpret the signs. They failed to recognize what God had done.

Instead of recognition it had been hidden from their eyes. The term used there in the 42nd verse means that the truth had been concealed from plain sight.

God had blinded the eyes of the people of Israel. Remember the call of Isaiah where the temple thresholds shook from the cries of “Holy! Holy! Holy!” coming from the angels. When Isaiah accepted the call God told him he was going to a people who would hear but not listen, they would see but not perceive. They were blinded to the obvious. Now the final culmination of it had come. They had missed their messiah and because of it they would be severely judged. The results of their blindness and the consequent rejection are devastating – not only to Jerusalem but to Jesus himself as he looks into the future and sees the devastation that will come upon them.

Look at the description in verses 43-44. (Luke 19:43-44)

This two verse prophecy is full of complete judgement with no way out. The only way out was accepting Jesus as the Messiah of God. Instead he was accepted only on their terms – which amounted to rejection of God.

The fulfillment of the prophecy can be clearly seen in Josephus’ “History of the Jewish War”

“While the sanctuary was burning … neither pity for age nor respect for rank was shown. On the contrary, children and old people, laity and priests alike were massacred” (6.271).

“The emperor ordered the entire city and the temple to be razed to the ground, leaving only the loftiest of the towers … and the portion of the wall enclosing the city on the west.… All the rest of the wall that surrounded the city was so completely razed to the ground as to leave future visitors to the spot no reason to believe that the city had ever been inhabited” (7.1–3).”1

All of this judgement came upon them because they did not recognize the time of their visitation. how were they to recognize it?

Recognizing their Visitation

1. The Life of Jesus had portrayed it.

The Pharisees had already recognized Jesus long before they rejected him. (Look at Nicodemus’ introductory remarks to Jesus in John 3:2 “…we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

2. The Word of God had promised it

The prophetic word of Daniel placed this day squarely in their sight. Please read to Daniel 9:24-26.

On March 5, 444 BC King Artaxerxes issued a decree () to rebuild Jerusalem. In the prophecy of Daniel 9:25 we are told that there will be a total of sixty-nine seven year periods until the day that the anointed one (Messiah) comes. If you do the math and multiply 69×7 and again multiply that by 360 days in a Jewish year you end up with 173,880 days from the decree of King Artaxerxes to Nehemiah – until March 30, AD 33 the very day that Jesus sat on a colt riding it into Jerusalem surrounded by throngs of would be messianic worshipers.2

They had been told the very day when the Messiah would come to them and they had still missed the kind of Messiah that Jesus was.

3. The Prophecies had clarified it

The prophecy of Zechariah was one of dozens of fulfilled prophecies which identified the Messiah in unmistakable ways. If they had been paying attention they would have paused and seen that God was answering his own promises in Jesus. (Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.)

Nevertheless they did not recognize the time of their visitation.

The Tragedy of Missing the time

Judgement. Jerusalem was about to undergo terrible judgment because they didn’t recognize the time of their visitation – but the reason they didn’t recognize it was because they had been blinded. Why would God permit that?

Because even though he loved Jerusalem, and even though he loved Jesus, his passion for the lost world of dying sinners drove him to a greater level of sacrifice. Jesus had to die on the cross. He had to be betrayed. So that he could be the perfect sacrifice for sinners.

When you see the heart of Jesus breaking over Jerusalem, do you care? We do not weep over the lost, our hearts – once warm to the passions of God have grown cold. I wonder in the depth of my heart, would I have wept over Jerusalem? The answer is in the secondary question, “Do I weep over the lost?”

The passion of the Christ is a passion for souls. He wept over Jerusalem for the same reasons he went to the cross. Because People are going to hell. He wept because he saw the coming judgement on Jerusalem, and he wept not because they would merely die, but because he knew they would die without him. Do we have a passion for souls? Do you? Do I?

Recognizing Our Visitation

God has come in the flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. He is the God-man. he died on the cross and rose again, and today we worship him. But what are you worshiping him for?

Is he nothing more than fire insurance for you? Many have “accepted Jesus” as nothing more than a lucky rabbits foot and a “get out of hell free” card. Jesus doesn’t work that way. He wants more than your acknowledgment that he exists, he wants your obedience. Obedience isn’t what saves you – but if your faith is a saving faith it will generate obedience in your life. Not perfect obedience (1 John 1:8-9) but certainly obedience nonetheless.

Jesus came to redeem you. My question is, have you truly accepted Jesus? Is he not only your savior but also your Lord? Do you see Jesus for who he is? If you’re struggling to recognize Jesus perhaps it’s time to ask God to reveal him to you.3 For no one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him. As we know people who are blinded to Christ I think also that we can ask God to reveal Christ to them.

The time of our visitation is now. The time of your visitation is today. In the elements of Communion Jesus Christ’s death has been proclaimed. His Easter morning resurrection is already being celebrated in advance. And the same indicators which Jerusalem had received still cry out to you today. The Life of Jesus proves that he is the Son of God. The word of God from Genesis and all the way through points resolutely towards Jesus as the fulfiller of God’s righteous requirements of the Law. And the many fulfilled prophecies declare the identity of Jesus Christ as the Savior of those who will come to Him.

The question is: have you come to Him? Jesus has clearly been portrayed before you today as crucified, buried and raised again. Today is the day that he is revealed. Have you recognized the time of your visitation? “What was true of the Jewish nation can also be true of individuals. To miss Jesus is to miss the time of visitation and face accountability before God.”4

Now is the time to come.

1William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, vol. 11, New Testament Commentary : Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke, Accompanying Biblical Text Is Author’s Translation., New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953-2001), 878.

2Hoehner, Harold. Chronological Aspects Of The Life Of Christ. p126

3Matt. 11:27; 16:17; Lk. 10:22

4Darrell L. Bock, Luke, The IVP New Testament commentary series (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1994), Lk 19:28.