God has visited
Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited …
his people. (Luke 1:68, NLT)
I love the way Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist,
describes God’s redemptive act in Jesus — that God has visited His
At this Christmastime, let’s focus on what it means to be
visited by God in the person of Jesus Christ. His visit that began at Bethlehem
has several meanings.
First, it is the visit of an official with a right to
inspect. In fact, the Greek word for visit comes from the same root as the word
for “bishop” — to look over, to oversee.
We speak of visit in formal ways. For example, a health
department visits a restaurant to ensure the premises are clean and the food is
An accrediting team visits a college or university to assess
whether that school operates consistent with its mission and maintains
standards at least comparable to other institutions of higher education.
A general visits a military base to make sure the troops are
in a state of readiness.
Jesus also came to inspect. He lived among us and saw up
close and personal how far we were from God, but His visit to us did not repel
Him from us.
Because, He came not just to inspect — but to visit
His own family. The fourth Gospel writer put it succinctly: “He came to his
own” (John 1:11).
Families come from long distances to reunite at Christmas.
It’s so wonderful to spend a few days together with those we love and have not
seen for a while. There are lots of hugs, tears, memories exchanged and gifts.
Jesus comes to us and embraces us as family. “To all who
received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become
children of God” (John 1:12, NIV).
The third way Jesus came to visit is to help. Luke 7 tells
the story of Jesus’ raising from the dead the widow’s son at Nain. The
awe-filled crowd exclaims, “God has visited his people” (v. 16, NLT).
Jesus’ visit to planet Earth is one of mercy for the poor
and needy. That’s us!
More than 30 years ago, NASA sent the Voyager space probe
into the universe. It carried a 12-inch copper disk filled with diagrams,
photographs, music and recordings of Earth sounds. It was the intention of NASA
that if Voyager were ever discovered by aliens, then they would know something
about life on this planet.
How differently God communicates with us. He didn’t send us
a recording. He sent us His Son! Jesus is God’s interplanetary probe —
all the way from heaven to Earth.
Jesus visited us — for 33 years He lived among us. He
inspected us, and we came to know that none of us is righteous, no not one! But
His visit was far more than inspection. In coming to us as family, Jesus showed
that He loved us. He not only took mercy upon us, but His visit resulted in our
being saved from our sins, delivered from death, and granted eternal life!
A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, I am unworthy that You would come and visit me.
But I thank You that You knocked at the door of my heart. You didn’t barge in.
You waited for me to open the door and invite You in! Your visit changed
everything for me. Now I know my sins are forgiven and I have an eternal home
with You through all the ages to come.
GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies
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