You will arise and have compassion on Zion,
for it is time to show favor to her;
the appointed time has come.
For her stones are dear to your servants;
her very dust moves them to pity.
The nations will fear the name of the LORD,
all the kings of the earth will revere your glory.
For the LORD will rebuild Zion
and appear in his glory.
(Psalm 102:13-16 NIV)
The appointed time has come, the time of God’s favor and compassion on Zion. This is the song of Christmas and the pursuit of the wise. It is the benediction of Zechariah: “Blessed is 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” (Luke 1:68-70).
It is the magnificent praise offered by Mary: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior … He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever” (Luke 1:46-47, 54-55).
It is the wonderment of the angels: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord … Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:10-11, 14 NIV).
It is the thanksgiving of Simeon, who lived in expectation of seeing the Messiah, as he was promised by the Holy Spirit: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word. For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).
It is the testimony of Anna, who inhabited prayer all her life and witnessed the fulfillment of what had been promised to Simeon. She, too, saw the Messiah: “And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).
It is the quest of the Magi, pagan star-gazers who came seeking the Messiah: “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him” (Matthew 2:2).
The appointed time of God’s favor is the ministry of the Lord Jesus Himself. “Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel’” (Mark 1:14-15). And in the synagogue, Jesus stood and read from Isaiah 61: “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then He sat down to teach and declared: “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:17-19, 21 NIV). Through the Cross and the Resurrection, Jesus Messiah won the victory and established His kingdom forever.
The appointed time has come, the time of God’s favor and compassion on Zion — and on the rest of the world — and it began at Christmas.
Let Earth Receive Her King
Advent, Christmas and the Kingdom of God
by Jeff Doles
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Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.