When Jesus Comes for a Visit:
After the angel had appeared to Zacharias, he wasn’t able to speak until after his son was born. But after John’s birth, Zacharias’ tongue was loosed and he was filled with the Spirit and empowered to speak this beautiful song of praise about Jesus:
“Blessed is 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.” (Luke 1:68-69; 76-79). Zecharias told the people who had been faithfully waiting for the promise of the Messiah that God was finally visiting His people.
“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:68-69; 76-79).
Then John began to prophesy the Word of the Lord over his son John. (That’s a good thing for parents to do – to speak God’s Word over their children!). The one phrase Zacharias uses here to describe Jesus has captured my heart. He said, “Through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us.” We are sinful people who have messed up big time. We have broken God’s holy law. We are sinful, rebellious and disobedient people, and we don’t deserve God’s love. But because God is tender and merciful, He visits and saves us.
The Son of God Himself stepped out of the glory and majesty of Heaven and took on human skin. “This is the God of the gospel of grace: A God who, out of love for us, sent the only Son he ever had wrapped in our skin. He learned how to walk, stumbled and fell, cried for his milk, sweated blood in the night, was lashed with a whip and showered with spit, was fixed to a cross and died whispering forgiveness on us all.” (Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel).
Because Jesus was a human being, He knows what it’s like to be hungry, thirsty, tired, rejected by friends, abandoned and betrayed. Everything we go through in our lives, God Himself has experienced it. King David marveled at this truth when He wrote: “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?” (Psalm 8:3-4). Why would an all-powerful, pure and holy God want to visit weak, sinful human beings? Who are we that God would choose to visit us?
The visitation of God in the form of His Son Jesus wasn’t unique to the life of Jesus. Back in the Garden of Eden, the Lord visited the first two human beings, Adam and Eve. Genesis 3:8 tells us that “they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.” From that time until today, God has always delighted to visit His people. God visits His people and saves them from their sins, forgives them, heals their sicknesses, brings peace and hope to their troubled hearts, and reveals Himself to them in many different ways. I’m thankful for the greatest visitation that took place 2,000 years ago when Jesus – Emmanuel – walked among us. But I’m more thankful for the fact that Jesus is still visiting His people today.
Pastor Chris Jordan