23 Nov The Long-Awaited Visitation
Last Sunday, Pastor Jeremy Chasteen closed our series in Titus with a sermon from Titus 3:9-15 and preached the truth that our unity in Christ is a display of grace in a chaotic world.
Read: Matthew 1:1-17
This Sunday, Pastor Will Jackson will begin our Christmas series: “Messiah,” with a sermon from Matthew 1:1-17, highlighting the truth that the long-awaited Jewish Messiah is in fact our Messiah. This Sunday marks the beginning of the Advent season, where we both remember the increasing anticipation of the promised Messiah to appear and express our own increasing anticipation for his promised second appearing. In preparation for our Sunday gathering, let this devotional from John Piper direct your hope to the Messiah who has visited us and will visit us again.
Reflect: “The Long-Awaited Visitation”
“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 of God to our world: “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 For centuries, the Jewish people had languished under the conviction that God had withdrawn: the spirit of prophecy had ceased, “Israel had fallen into the hands of Rome.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.”
“The Long-Awaited Visitation,” December 3rd Reading, in Good News of Great Joy: Daily Readings for Advent, by John Piper.
Sing: Song List for Sunday
1. “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus,” Arr. Laura Story
2. “O Come Emmanuel,” Arr. Paul Baloche
3. “Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery,” by Matt Boswell
4. “Maranatha (We Long to See the Day),” by Crosspoint Music