time of visitation | Luke 19.28-44
And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:28-44 | ESV
It’s one of those classic Bible stories we frequently capture in children’s coloring books and retell with colorful flannel-graph figures (okay, dating myself a bit there). It’s just one of those fun stories. Cool palm branches, happy faces, children singing, a cute donkey.
And as with all familiar tales, it’s easy for us to miss what’s really happening.
Our challenge this week is to slow down just a bit and take it all in. As becomes clear both in Luke and John’s telling of the Palm Sunday event, people were missing it. Even as they welcomed Jesus with such jubilation, they missed what was really happening right at that moment.
It was the time of their “visitation.” Peace was showing up on their doorstep, and they didn’t have a clue.
This is our life experience far too frequently, isn’t it?
Whether through apathetic detachment or despite enthusiastic engagement, we so often fail to grasp the significance of the moment that is unfolding right before us.
Until it is past.
Until he has passed.
This week is an opportunity to stop in the midst of the excitement of a familiar story, and look with a discerning wide angle lens to see what is really happening here.
And while we’re at it, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to slow down
and do this with the events unfolding in our own story this week…
What would you say is the key to being more present in the moment so that we’re not just relying on hindsight later to fill us in on what really just happened? What’s the key to stop being clueless?
Lord, wake me up to the story that is unfolding right now around me. Keep me from a detached stupor that doesn’t even hear the noise – and from just getting caught up in the enthusiasm of the noisemakers. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear – and then the courage to enter the Story. Through Jesus.