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The Hour of His Visitation

by David A. DePra

     Five days before the passover, Jesus entered into Jerusalem.

He had been there before, mind you, but this time it was different.

When He had entered before, it was not with much fanfare. In fact,

one time it was in secret. (Jn. 7:10)

     Why in secret? Because, Jesus said, "My time is not yet come."

(Jn. 7:7)

     These words are not insignificant. Jesus had a time; an HOUR.

Before that last week, which began with "Palm Sunday," Jesus'

hour had NOT come:

Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine

hour is not yet come." (Jn. 2:4)

Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is

is always ready. The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth,

because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. Go ye up unto

this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast: for my time is not yet fully

come. (Jn. 7:6-8)

Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him,

because his hour was not yet come. (Jn. 7:30)

These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the

temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet

come. (Jn. 8:20)

     But with "Palm Sunday," and Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, it is

clear that Jesus' hour HAD come:

And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son

of man should be glorified. (Jn. 12:20)

Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from

this hour? But for this cause came I unto this hour! Father, glorify

Thy name. (Jn. 12:27)

Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his

hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the

Father. (Jn. 13:1)

These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and

said, "Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also

may glorify thee." (Jn. 17:1)

     Why exactly WAS this hour? It was the hour in which Jesus, and

of course, His Father, would be glorified. How? Through His death

and resurrection.

Paul writes to the Romans:

Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the

seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son

of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the

resurrection from the dead. (Rom. 1:3-4)

     Jesus was proven to be the Son of God through the resurrection.

This does not minimize His death, for there is no ressurrection

unless there is a death. That applied to Jesus and it applies to us.

     There was, however, much which led up to this "hour" of which

Jesus spoke. Therefore, let us back up a bit. Let's trace some of

the history of this long-awaited "hour," which would begin with Jesus'

entry into Jerusalem on what has come to be called, "Palm.



     Most of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke record events

which happened before the death of John the Baptist. Most of the

gospel of John records events which happened after. There is, of

course, some overlap. But this is the reason why the gospel of

John contains so much information which differs from the other three


     Accordingly, there is no record of the temptation of Jesus in the

wilderness in the gospel John. But there is in the other three

gospels. The temptation may not seem to have any relationship

to Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. But it does. It has a direct one.

What was going on in that temptation had everything to do with

what occurred over three years later on the first "Palm Sunday."

     The temptation in the wilderness occurred during the forty day

fast which Jesus experienced immediately after His baptism by

John, and just prior to the beginning of His public ministry. (see Mk.

10:1-13) But the first thing we must see is that Jesus did not just

wander into the wilderness and fall prey to this temptation. No. The

Bible makes it a point to say that Jesus was, "Led up of the Spirit

into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil." (Matthew 4:1)

     Have you ever been LED into a trial by God? So often we make

the mistake of thinking that God would never lead us into a trial. But

the fact is, He does it all the time. In fact, why would we want to be in

a trial for any other reason except that we have been led there by


     Incidentally, there is no contradiction between the fact that God

led Jesus to be tempted by the Devil, and the prayer, "Lead us not

into temptation," which we find in the Lord's prayer. The Lord's

prayer, as verified by the context, suggests, "Leave us not IN the

temptation, BUT deliver us from evil." This agrees with all other

scripture, including the one which tells us that God will not allow us

to be tempted with more than we can bear -- a promise which

would not even need to be IN the Bible if we were to pray never to

be lead into temptation in the first place.

     So Jesus was LED into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit -- to be

specifically tempted by the Devil. Why? For the same reasons we

must be exposed to temptation: To seal and fortify in us the things

of God.

     Faith MUST be tested. It MUST be. If faith is never tested, then

it remains mere assent to Truth. That is not bad, mind you, for

assent to Truth is a necessary beginning. But it is only if my faith is

met with CONTRADICTION that I can be given the opportunity to

stand. Only then can faith become a living part of me.

     Here we must see the difference between God's purpose in

trials, and the Devil's purpose. God uses trials to PROVE us. The

Devil uses the same trials to TEMPT us. In other words, God uses

trials to bring out in us genuine evidence -- in the form of righteous

character -- of that which He has put IN us by His grace. That is a

GOOD thing. The Devil, however, seeks to tempt us to GIVE AWAY

what God has freely given, in favor of something less. THAT is a

bad consequence and the temptation to evil.

     Thus, God NEVER tempts us unto evil. But He will allow, even

ordain, that the Devil be allowed to tempt us unto evil. Why? So

that we might REFUSE it and choose good!

     This might seem just an exercise, but it is not. You and I are

moral creatures indwelt with eternal life. We have been born again

of incorruptible seed. But unless we are faced with moral issues,

indeed, eternal issues -- over which we can choose -- all of that

would remain rather static. We could not grow. So God uses even

the Devil to help us grow. He lets him tempt us so that we might

face issues and choose good.

THE Temptation

     Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil. It

was during those forty days that Jesus settled forever some of the

final basic issues which needed to be settled before He could

embark on His ministry.

     Now, never get the idea that Jesus had sinned, and that God was,

through this ordeal, setting Him straight. No. But don't think that just

because Jesus was the Son of God that He automatically brought

with Him personal experience of every aspect of what it means to be

human. To the contrary, "though He were a Son, yet LEARNED He

obedience by those things which He suffered. And being MADE

perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that

obey." (Heb. 5:8)

     Jesus was MADE perfect -- the Greek means "mature" -- by

those things which He suffered. He "learned" -- by walking through

those things -- obedience to God. And He did all of this without

once sinning because He never turned away from God AS He

walked and learned.

     Thus, when we find Jesus in the wilderness, we find Him facing

issues and learning through them things which He had not faced

before. And those things which He faced were directly related to

His entry into Jerusalem on "Palm Sunday," three and one-half

years later.

A Short-Cut to Glory

     The Devil presented Jesus with three temptations -- all of which

carry roughly the same theme. First, Jesus was tempted to satisfy

His hunger by turning stones into bread. Then, the Devil asked

Him to throw Himself off the pinnacle of the temple. Thirdly, the

Devil offered Him all the kingdoms of the world. Why were these

suggestions temptations to Jesus?

     If we were the ones being tempted in the wilderness, the Devil

would have taken a different approach. But with Jesus, each of the

three temptations approach the same issue: Jesus' reason for

being born. Jesus' purpose and plan.

     More specifically, what was that issue? Jesus had come to

redeem the world. But not -- during this first visitation -- as a King.

He came as a Lamb. John announced Him thusly: "Behold,

the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!" (Jn. 1:29)

Jesus would only become King of kings and Lord of lords if He

died as a Lamb, and was then later raised.

     Satan, however, offered an alternative. But not an alternative TO

God's will. He knew He couldn't get Jesus to buy into that. But he

offered an alternative way of achieving God's will. Thus, Satan was

offering Jesus -- not something which contradicted God's will -- but

God's very will and purpose! -- through a means other than death

and resurrection.

     Unless we see this, we will miss the point. Jesus was not being

offered anything less than the very things which God had promised

Him: Daily provision. To protect Him. All the kingdoms of the

world. That is precisely why the Devil was able to quote scripture

as verification. But there was ONE problem: The Devil was offering

the things God has promised through another method than God

had purposed. The Devil was, in effect, saying, "You can have all

of this without having to go through Calvary. You can have it all

right now!"

     Why would this tempt Jesus? Because He was power-hungry?

Because He was afraid to die? Afraid of being crucified? No. It

would tempt Him only because carried in those promises was

the deliverance of the world. Jesus LOVED those He would save.

Therefore, being offered a short-cut to ending their misery and

bondage would be a temptation.

     We see this especially with the last two temptations. If Jesus

had hurled Himself off the pinnacle of the temple, and God had

saved Him, this would have been in full view of those in Jerusalem.

The result would have been that Jesus would have been publicly

recognized as the Messiah -- for the Jews had a traditional belief

that the coming Messiah would do that very thing. Jesus would

have then been proclaimed Messiah and could have began to

reign and rule. The misery of God's people could have ended

right then -- instead of continuing on for what is now two-thousand


     A similiar temptation was wrapped up in the Devil's offer of all

the kingdoms of the world. If Jesus had accepted the offer, He

could have put all the wrongs and sufferings of those kingdoms

right. And when you love people, that is a temptation.

Jesus, however, knew that the ills of the world, and of Israel,

could not be solved until He died as the Lamb of God. He had to

take away the sin of the world. And He had to be raised. Thus,

the temptations in the wilderness were actually geared to aborting

the very redemptive plan of God. Thankfully, Jesus passed the


The Hour

     The temptation in the wilderness was not the only time Jesus

was tempted to accept a short-cut to glory. Two other times come

to mind. The first was the marriage feast at Canaan. Jesus' mother

told him that "they have no wine." (see John 2:3) There was more

to this than just the words, because Jesus replied, "Woman, what

have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come." In other words,

Jesus knew His mother was trying to force His HOUR. She wanted

Him to reveal Himself as the Son of God; as the Messiah.

     Jesus could not yield. That's why He rebuked her by saying "His

hour" had not come. He knew she wanted the hour to be right then.

But it couldn't be right then. Nevertheless, He did work a miracle.

     Now, it might seem strange that Jesus would rebuke His mother,

only to turn right around and work the miracle. It may seem as if He

goes ahead and does what she asked. But He did not. He did do

a miracle, but did not reveal Himself as the Messiah. That is the

whole point of the passage, and why it is recorded as it is.

     Another time Jesus was tempted to take a short-cut to glory was

is found in Matthew 16. Peter had just proclaimed that Jesus was

"the Christ, the Son of the Living God." Jesus had answered by

telling His disciples that He must go up to Jerusalem and die, and

then be raised. But this didn't fit into the disciples plans for Jesus as

the Messiah:

Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far

from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But He turned and said

unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me.

For thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of

men. (Matt. 16:22-23)

     Peter did care about Jesus. But he, as did the others, wanted the

kingdom right then. And there was personal ambition involved too,

as is evidenced by other passages. Thus, Satan was able to use

that ambition in Peter as a tool to try to tempt Jesus. Peter was

essentially saying to Jesus what the Devil had said in the

temptation in the wilderness. He was saying, "No, Lord. You don't

need to die. You are the Messiah. We need You now. Far be it

from Thee, this idea of dying!"

     Again we see that the HOUR of Jesus' glorification was a focal

point. The Devil did everything he could to try to force it early, to

negate it all together, or to try to bring it to pass upon another basis

than that of the death and resurrection. And all in "the name of love."

All in the name of being the true Messiah!

     The most subtle temptations -- with usually the worst possible

consequences -- are not always those which tempt us to some act

of moral sin. Moral sin is bad and we must resist it. But some of

the worst sins are those where we try to bring to pass the very will

of God -- but through our own strength. We use the things of God

for our own glory. We operate under the power of religious flesh.

     The only way to the will of God is through Calvary. We must

first die if we are to be raised. This is not only true with regard to

salvation, but it is true as a process in the Christian life. We cannot

reign and rule with Jesus Christ if we side-step our Cross.

     Had Jesus yielded to Satan, He would have entered into

Jerusalem on an entirely different basis. He would not have

entered on a donkey. He would not have entered as a Lamb led

to slaughter. He would have stormed in as everyone's hero, but

in doing so, left the world in bondage to sin and evil. As mere

humans we cannot fully grasp what was at stake here, or the

possibilities involved. But we do know that Jesus was faithful, and

that thankfully, He gave Himself for us as that Lamb without blemish.

NOW is the Hour

     When Jesus humbly entered into Jerusalem five days before the

Passover, He entered in a way which fullfilled prophecy. We find

that prophecy in Zechariah:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem.

Behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation;

lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

(Zech. 9:9)

     Probably everyone in the crowd that day thought that the next

step was for Jesus to enter the temple and sit on the throne. He

would begin His reign and rule and restore Israel to her former

glory. Indeed, we can almost imagine that to a person they were

hoping that Jesus would be to them what Satan had tried to make

Him to be: A Messiah King -- right then. Not a Lamb of God.

This hope of the crowds is evidenced by the fact that the Jewish

leaders protested to Jesus over what the crowds were saying. The

people were shouting and proclaiming:

Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name

of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. (Matt. 21:9)

     The Pharisees recognized what was going on. And they didn't

like it. They didn't want Jesus as the Messiah or king. They wanted

Him dead. They therefore demanded that Jesus rebuke the

people. But Jesus told them that if the people remained silent that

the very stones would cry out.

     Jesus' entry into Jerusalem that day was not only the fulfillment

of Bible prophecy, but it was a clear statement to the effect that He

was the Messiah. There could no longer be any question about

this. Jesus hour HAD come. But it had not come in the way anyone

but Jesus Himself had expected. Jesus' hour would be an hour

of death. Only later would He reign and rule as King.

Jesus Wept

     Israel wanted a king. A Messiah. But right from the beginning,

Jesus had come as the Lamb of God -- who would take away the

sin of the world. Therefore, as mentioned, Jesus' HOUR was not

the hour the Jews expected. It was a completely different kind of


     The crowds all around Jesus were rejoicing. They had no

way of knowing what would happen in less than a week. They had

no way of knowing that Jesus would die, and that in their generation

the entire city of Jerusalem would be destroyed. Jesus, however,

did know. Thus, He wept. He wept because He loved them.

     There are two times in the Bible where it says that Jesus wept.

The more familiar one is when Jesus wept before He raised

Lazarus from the dead. But Jesus also wept upon entering the Holy

city on that Palm Sunday.

And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,

Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the

things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine

eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall

cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee

in on every side. And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy

children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon

another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. (Luke


     That doesn't sound much like a mad, angry, harsh God, who is

eager to punish people does it? It sounds like a God who loves

people so much that He hurts for them even when He must allow

the consequences of their unbelief to come upon them.

     Imagine it. Jesus had just been celebrated by the crowds. He

was being honored. But rather than glory in that, He wept. He knew

what they did not know. Judgment was coming. They had wanted

a Messiah -- but only on THEIR terms. They had rejected what

God wanted to give them.

The Hour of Visitation

     Jesus came into Jerusalem on that day just as was prophecied.

The Jews had waited and waited for their Messiah. But when He

came, they did not know the hour of their visitation. In fact, many of

them even called Him the Devil.

     You see, Israel also had an HOUR. They had an hour at which

the Messiah would come to them. But they did not know it. They

rejected Him.

     Why? Unbelief. Hardness. The leaders of Israel in that day

had so hardened themselves against God -- but in favor of their

traditions ABOUT Him -- that they could not even recognize the

sinless and perfect Son of God who stood before them. And as

said, they called Him an agent of the Devil.

     We are likewise capable of not knowing the hour of OUR

visitation. God may have, for years, been preparing us for a

purpose. Perhaps that purpose is a new revelation of Jesus Christ.

Perhaps something else. But if during that preparatory time, we

begin to resist Him, and insist on bringing to pass His will in our own

way and time, we will not recognize Him when He comes. We may

even find ourselves at odds with Him.

     There are many, many Christians today, including many leaders,

who have done this. God has continually tried to do a work in them

so that He can bring them on in Christ. But they will not give up the

pride which governs them. Sometimes this is spiritual pride -- the

desire to be looked at by others as "God's called;" as a "great

spiritual leader." Other times it is just a matter of people trying to

establish their personal righteousness through works and service.

But when the hour of their visitation is upon them, they cannot

accept that it is of God. It is too different and unexpected. It does

not jive with their spiritual agenda.

     The church, in general, has been guilty of this for two-thousand

years. We do not take God seriously. We think that we can do as

we please and all will be well. So we compromise with right in order

to keep our churches and ministries running. We do whatever it

takes to keep the money flowing and the members happy. And

our personal lives? Well, we belong to a church, so we are ok. We

serve at church. So we have a reward coming. We preach the

gospel. So this must be proof that we are right with God. No.

     The Bible is filled with warnings to the people of God. God tells

us that we must not neglect what He has given us. He tells us that

He is no respecter of persons. He says that we will reap what we

sow. And make no question. It is going to happen. It happened to

Jerusalem. It will happen here. Each of us WILL reap what we sow.

If we sow to corruption that is exactly what we will reap.

     It will happen because God loves His people. Jesus wept over

Jerusalem because He knew judgment was coming. It was not a

judgment that was the product of God's anger. It was a product of

His love. God MUST deal with sin or He cannot love.

But what about grace? If all is forgiven, and all is free, then how

can judgment even be a possibility?

     Judgment is a possibility BECAUSE grace is free. If a person

refuses what is free, what is left but judgment? If God had left it to us

to earn our salvation, earn our reward, or even earn His grace, then

we might offer an excuse. But He has not. He has given it all freely

in Jesus Christ. Therefore, what excuse can we give for not

embracing the free gift?

     That is why there is such a thing as the unpardonable sin. There

can only be such a sin if everything is free. The unpardonable sin

is the refusal of God's freely-given forgiveness. God cannot

forgive the refusal of His forgiveness or He would be denying

Jesus Christ, Himself, and be making a moral place for sin.

So there is an hour of visitation for each person; for each nation.

Would that the people of God wake up and realize that Jesus is

standing at the door, knocking. May we bid Him to enter. NOW.

Rejected of Men

     On the day that Jesus entered into Jerusalem riding on a donkey,

He already knew what was to happen to Him. He may not have

known each and every detail, but He knew the events and outcome.

He knew He would be rejected of men and delivered up to death,

and had already said those words to His disciples. Yet, because

God is faithful, and because He always keeps His Word, Jesus did

enter into Jerusalem that day as Messiah -- despite knowing they

would reject Him.

     For at least three-and-one-half years, and for all we know, much

more, Jesus had faced temptation -- not only in all areas such as

we -- but in eternally higher areas. Again and again the Devil had

tried to get Him to move out into His own will. He had tried every

conceivable method to get Jesus to rationalize and reason and

argue that it would be best for all if He just by-passed the Cross and

the resurrection, and took His God-given place on the throne. But

no. This was the Lamb of God right now. Not the King of kings. He

first had to die. Only then could He reign and rule.

     Actually, this process of death and resurrection is still going on.

The historical event of Jesus' death and resurrection is complete

and finished. His victory is likewise finished. But God's work is

still on-going in US -- as to it's application. If we want to meet the

King we have to embrace the Lamb. We can then reign and rule

with Him to God's glory.

     In effect, Jesus hour CAME, but never ended. It is still His hour.

Now is the time for His hour in US.

     Jesus was rejected as Messiah by God's own chosen people.

But of course, none of this took God by surprise. Even THAT was

prophecied. Even THAT was used of God to accomplish the plan

of Redemption. In effect, the very rejection of Jesus was turned

around and became THE HOUR of His glorification. Jesus had

His hour. And the results of it are eternal and all-incompassing.

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