Because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.
Luke 19:28-48 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
After He had said these things, He was going on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.
29 When He approached Bethphage and Bethany, near the mount that is called Olivet, He sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village ahead of you; there, as you enter, you will find a colt tied on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as He had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 They said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 They brought it to Jesus, and they threw their coats on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As He was going, they were spreading their coats on the road. 37 As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the [d]miracles which they had seen, 38 shouting:
“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 Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” 40 But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”
41 When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 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. 43 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, 44 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.”
45 Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling, 46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘And My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a robbers’ den.”
47 And He was teaching daily in the temple; but the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him, 48 and they could not find anything that they might do, for all the people were hanging on to every word He said.
In yesterday’s text we saw how Zaccheus responded to the drawing of the Father and to the time of the visitation of Christ in his life. As it was with Zaccheus, the visitation of Christ into the life of an individual is often a life altering encounter. I think of Paul who was persecuting the early church. Acts 9:1-9 says: Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.” The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. Surely that visitation; that encounter with Christ altered not only the life of Paul; but of the church and the world. I think also of the thief on the cross, next to Jesus. Luke 23:39-43 says: Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” That visitation of Christ; the encounter between the dying thief and Jesus, may only have changed the life of that one, but it also forever serves as a reminder that He is faithful to reveal Himself as Lord and Savior, even to a persons last moments. There are of course many others whose encounters with Christ are recorded in scripture. There are also countless others, millions of individuals who have had life altering encounters and visitations from Christ from even before He was here to the present time. Those encounters; those visitations will continue until the time He physically returns.
In today’s text it says: 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.” As with individuals, nations, regions, cities and other groups of people are also subject to the visitation of the Lord. I think of Egypt, a country which had experienced God’s salvation and provision in the time of Joseph, but failed to recognize the hand of God and the voice of God working and speaking through Moses. That powerful nation was defeated and removed from its place of prominence in the world because they did not recognize the time of their visitation. I think of the city of Nineveh, which did repent at the message of Jonah, and it was spared. Again, there are many other accounts recorded in scripture and countless accounts since that time, both of those who recognized and responded to the visitation of Christ and those who did not.
For us though, for the church, for our cities, for our regions, for our nation and for the world, the greatest question of our time is will we recognize the time of the visitation of Christ in the world today? No one can deny that throughout the world today these are life altering times and circumstances. Some indeed are seeing Christ; drawing near and responding to Him in this time. Others respond by denying God; blaming Him, or rejecting Him as the only real answer to the problems we face. Some, in their arrogance, boast of their own abilities. Some rely strictly on the limited wisdom and knowledge of man and science. We can be sure of one thing: this is a life altering time in the history of the world, the nation, the regions, cities, the church and individuals. The question is, will we recognize the time of our visitation? Will we turn to God and repent, or will we be left ruined and destroyed, without even one stone upon another because we “did not recognize the time of our visitation?”
2 Chronicles 7:13-15 God says: When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. Indeed Lord, may it begin with us, with Your people, with those who are called by Your name. May we be the first to humble ourselves and pray. May we, Your people turn from our wicked ways. May there be a revival in the church and an awakening in the land and around the world. May we truly recognize the time of our visitation, so that the world will be altered, healed; that Your kingdom would come and Your will would be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.