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Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

God Will Visit Jerusalem

by Dr. Michael Whiting

Today's Reading

Zechariah 2:10-13

The well-known prophecy of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey is the subject of tomorrow’s devotional on Zechariah 9, but a lesser known text at the beginning of the same book contains a very profound prediction that the Messiah’s coming would also be the very incarnation of God among His people. The promise in this passage is that God will visit Jerusalem.

"'Shout and be glad, Daughter Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,' declares the Lord" (Zech. 2:10). Here again we see the commitment and promise of God to dwell with His people. 

God’s coming in the Old Testament often signified two things: judgment and salvation. The discipline Israel was under would be reversed and judgment would fall upon the nations oppressing Israel leading to the salvation of the chosen nation. So for the Jewish people hearing this prophecy, this meant that through the Messiah the land would be liberated by God from the captivity of Israel’s enemies.

However, as we can reflect on the person of Jesus Christ, we realize the prophecy says so much more than this. The Jewish people in the Gospels could not conceive that the Messiah would be God Himself incarnate – and certainly not a man raised in such humble beginnings in Bethlehem and Nazareth. Yet in Jesus, God did indeed visit Jerusalem, and in Jesus God dwelt among the people (John 1:14; cf. 14:9). He even cleansed His own temple, but Jesus was rejected and killed for claiming unity and shared authority with the Father in heaven.

As Jesus was approaching Jerusalem in Luke 19:41-44, knowing what would transpire to Him in the coming days, He wept for the city and explicitly stated that His own people failed to recognize the "time" of their "visitation" by God. They did not recognize God in their very midst but schemed to put Him to death – even in cahoots with their Gentile oppressors! Yet some Jews did become believers and went on to spread the Gospel to the Gentiles.

In Zechariah 2:11 it states that "Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people." As John the apostle a few hundred years later wrote in the opening chapter of his Gospel (Jn. 1:11-12): "He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God."

All believing Gentiles are these "many nations" that Zechariah prophesied about who have come to know Israel’s God through faith in Jesus as the Christ, His Son, but I often wonder if we would have been like those in the Gospels who missed God walking in their midst?

Would we have so quickly followed after Jesus when so many of the crowds did not? Would we have believed that in Him we were beholding God? Would we have been offended and angered by Him?

Are there ways in which each day we, blinded by sin, fail to recognize reflections of His presence with us – enlivening the miracle of nature that surrounds us, in all the blessings that bring us gladness, in opportunities for relationship and ministry that He calls us to respond to, in the prompting to reconcile with an offended brother or sister or to turn away from sinful strongholds?

Perhaps we only see our circumstances but not the God who is there behind them and is at work in them, not as a detached observer but One who has chosen to dwell in and with us that we might flourish in Him. 

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