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In the Hour of 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)

The incarnate God, Jesus the Christ, approached the Holy City of Jerusalem for the last time in His ministry here on earth. He did not come as the King of kings, as He will when He returns once again, He came as the prophet John the Baptist had said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) Before His entry into the city He paused from a high position and looked over the city and beheld it and wept. He looked down and the magnificence of the city and the Temple, the center of worship of His Father filled with the beauty of its mass of Gold and white marble. And Yet He wept.

As He entered into the city riding upon a donkey, greeted by multitudes of jubilant people hailing Him as the King of kings laying their garments down for His procession to tread upon and waving palm branches in joy and shouting in great jubilance for the one to free them from Roman servitude had finally come. “The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9) He entered into the city and yet He wept.

Jesus wept not silent tears that may have slowing trickled down His cheeks and hid themselves in His beard. No, this was not tears of joy nor mute sorrow caught in the moment of overwhelming excitement. This was the loud sobbing from the deep heaving bosom filled with uncontrolled emotion from an aching heart of compassion for the people of His choosing. These were not flowing tears born out of selfishness for the suffering He knew He was about to face on their behalf. These were tears of sorrow for the souls of the men whom He loved enough to die for. These people who by covenant were to be a nation of priest that the world might through them be ever blessed by right living. This purpose was written in their Law of Moses given by God His Father to the people that they would have purpose and meaning to their lives. “And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:5) As Jesus looked at the multitudes this is not what He saw. What Jesus saw was described early on in His ministry to His disciples. “Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36)

If the Jewish nation had kept their covenant relationship with God this Holy City of Jerusalem would have been highly revered and the kings of the world would have come to learn of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. As it was, the Romans had come along with their pagan gods and defiled the people and subjected them under their rule. The Jewish nation was commissioned to do a mighty work through God that the nations of the world might be blessed but their leaders gave into their own selfish lust for power. As a result the splendid and far reaching work the Jewish nation might have accomplished through God was left undone. Now their cup was overflowing with iniquity by their lack of spiritual nourishment.

“If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace!” If they had, and we by their history should know the things which make for peace. Jerusalem was, and is, the chosen city for the throne of God. However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.” (1 Kings 11:13) Jesus visited them this day as the Lamb of God, to sacrifice Himself for the propitiation of the sin of the world. To pay by the sacrifice of His life and the shedding of His blood to wash away the sin of all people that through Him they could be reconciled unto God the Father. Yet they came out in jubilee not for faith or worship in Spirit and Truth but for the peace found in the power of world domination. Yea, hail the King of Kings! Now, they thought the words of the Prophet Jeremiah would be fulfilled. At that time they will call Jerusalem ‘The Throne of the LORD,’ and all the nations will be gathered to it, to Jerusalem, for the name of the LORD; nor will they walk anymore after the stubbornness of their evil heart.” (Jeremiah 3:17)

Jerusalem the city of the Holy Temple of God, which represented God with His people, would now be the center of Jewish world rule. But this was not the purpose nor the time of this prophecy. They could not understand the new concept that God would rule from the throne of their heart and not in some distant Temple apart from the people. Jesus did not overthrow the Roman grip nor did He defeat their enemies of fellow men but defeated the greatest enemy of man Satan himself. When Jesus went into the pride of their city and cleaned out the thieves in the Temple, God’s House, they did not understand His judgment because of their pride and unbelief. If people would see the judgments of God in the context they are made, love, they would learn righteous living through His judgments. “At night my soul longs for You, Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently; For when the earth experiences Your judgments The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.” (Isaiah 26:9)

No one wants to be judged for their actions. It generally is not a pleasant thing to endure especially if we are not living as we know we should according to the Word of God. Some consider the judgment of God against sin as harsh but it is not even near as harsh as God’s judgement against the unrepentant. Today we are living in the Church age, the age of God’s grace. It is a time that God has given to man to turn away for unrighteous living and return to living on the moral standard found in the Word of God as best as we can. The death and resurrection of Jesus took away the need for a Temple in which to sacrifice animals in place for our sins. Jesus went to the cross to pay that wage for us and His last words were, “It is finished!” (John 19:30) The work is done, the debt for sin is paid, and all any man need do is “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)

Jerusalem missed their hour of visitation when Jesus made His triumphant entry unto the streets of the city. And he lamented that the Temple would be destroyed and the people of the city displaced. That the nation of Israel would cease to exist as a state until 1948 AD. This judgment happened some thirty years later in 70 AD when Titus attacked the city and burned it. Leveling the Temple for its value in Gold. Are we, you and I missing the visitation of Jesus? As I look out upon our nation, a nation that we founded upon the moral principles of the Scriptures in God’s Word, we have turned away from these truths and fallen to an ever changing pop culture. If we do not make our stand on the truths of God’s Word, then we may very well miss the visitation of our Lord in this age of grace. Soon His bride that Church will be called out and the forces of evil will be free to bring their reign of terror unrestrained. Then too the world will face the judgment of Jerusalem because they missed the visitation of the Lord. Christ came the first time with a message of peace and was crucified for it. He came as the Lamb of God but soon He shall come as the Lion of Judah and He comes to Judge, “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” (John 16:8) When Jesus comes again He also will bring His reward. “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.” (Revelation 22:12) When God visits His people He brings Justice and Peace.

If the Holy Spirit is visiting you this is the day of your visitation. He brings unto you the invitation to take up your cross and follow Jesus to the home that He has prepared for you. God visits you and brings His faithful forgiveness. “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people” (Luke 1:68) When God visits you He calls you away from the evil of this world and seals you for the greater world to come in the Kingdom of God. He through His Spirit teaches you how to live the abundant life. “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:12)

This is the day of your visitation from the Lord and it is the only day that you have for none have the promise of tomorrow. I pondered that for many years of my life, more years than I have ahead of me, wasted time I could have had living the abundant life in service to the King of kings and Lord of lords. That is behind me now and that is where I leave it, as the Lord has removed it from my plate by His forgiveness. If the is the case for you, then hallelujah! If not, then the Lord says to you, “At the acceptable time I listened to you, And on the day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

Durant Bible College, March 31, 2015

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