Summary: Palm Sunday Service - A King coming to a rebellious city, a hotbed of resistance against his rightful authority. Willing to make peace - Only on His own terms
Dakota Community Church
April 17, 2011
Hour of Visitation
When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
So here he stands before the city as a king who in a matter of days will be crucified by his rebel subjects. What will he do? What will he say?
As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
Three truths we can glean from the words of Jesus at this pivotal moment in His life:
1. A visiting God with ignorant people.
The term “visitation” is used to describe God’s coming to His people for the purpose of either saving or judging.
Genesis 50:24 (Saving)
And Joseph said to his brothers, "I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob."
Isaiah 29:5-6 (Judging)
But the multitude of your foreign foes shall be like small dust, and the multitude of the ruthless like passing chaff. And in an instant, suddenly, you will be visited by the LORD of hosts with thunder and with earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire.
Visitation appears two other times in this same book and helps to define what Luke is saying:
And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David…
And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, "A great prophet has arisen among us!" and "God has visited his people!"
When Jesus says, "You did not know the time of your visitation," he means, "You did not know that my coming to you is the coming of God for your redemption, your salvation."
They were ignorant concerning the time in which they lived.
God, in Jesus Christ, had come into the world in a way that He never had before. The time was unique, and the chosen people were mostly oblivious.
"When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, 'A shower is coming.' And so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, 'There will be scorching heat,' and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
This raises the question as to why they were so unaware of the monumental time in which they lived. How did they miss this? God living amoung them, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, raising the dead, forgiving sin – rescuing the lost sheep.
Another great question is how can God judge these people; especially in the harsh way Jesus describes, for NOT knowing something?
2. Judgment for not knowing what may be known.
These people are not facing judgment for something they have no way of knowing – God has made it clear to them – they have chosen not to know.