THE LONG-AWAITED VISITATION - John Piper
“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, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us…” —Luke 1:68–71
Notice two remarkable things from these words of Zechariah in Luke 1. First, nine months earlier, Zechariah could not believe his wife would have a child. Now, filled with the Holy Spirit, he is so confident of God’s redeeming work in the coming Messiah that he puts it in the past tense. For the mind of faith, a promised act of God is as good as done. Zechariah has learned to take God at his word and so has a remarkable assurance: “God has visited and redeemed!” Second, the coming of Jesus the Messiah is a visitation “The God of Israel has visited and redeemed.” For centuries, the Jewish people had languished under the conviction that God had withdrawn: the spirit of prophecy had ceased, Israel had fallen into the hands of Rome. And all the godly in Israel were awaiting the visitation of God. Luke tells us in 2:25 that the devout Simeon was “looking for the consolation of Israel.” And in Luke 2:38 the prayerful Anna was “looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.” These were days of great expectation. Now the long awaited visitation of God was about to happen—indeed, he was about to come in a way no one expected.
As I enter this season of advent, I often find myself acting like Zechariah and not believing the promises I have in God. Wouldn’t it be great to have confidence God will do what He promises? Believing so strongly we refer to it in the past tense as if it already happened?
Are we feeling great expectation and anticipation for our coming King? Are we as excited about God coming as we are for Santa? The long awaited visitation and coming of God is nearing – are we ready for it even if He comes in a way we were not expecting? We all have our expectations for God – but what if our expectations aren’t His? Are we still excited to have Him visit?
My goal as I move through the advent season is to be prepared – to be able to believe in the promises of God and to know His plan is the best one for my life. To be able to say, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel that visited, redeemed us, and saved us from our enemies.” After all, wouldn’t that be the best Christmas gift ever? As we look forward to His birth at Christmas, we can be encouraged to know it already happened. All we have to do is believe.