The God Who Visits Us

In the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, Hamas has openly called on the people of Gaza to use themselves as human shields against Israeli airstrikes. The Berean Call recently quoted from an interview with Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri in which he said, “The policy of people confronting the Israeli warplanes with their bare chests in order to protect their homes has proven effective against the occupation. Also, this policy reflects the character of our brave, courageous people. We in Hamas call upon our people to adopt this policy, in order to protect the Palestinian homes.” For an extended period of time, Hamas has been shooting rockets at different cities in Israel. Israel has recently responded with airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza, but this has led Hamas to encourage the civilians of Gaza as human shields against the airstrikes (standing on the roofs of the buildings housing the terrorist infrastructure). Hamas sees this as an opportunity to accuse Israel of using indiscriminate airstrikes that cause civilian casualties.
If we boil it down to the root of what is happening, the Muslims of Hamas see this “jihad” against Israel as one of the ways that they can gain Allah’s favor. They believe that Allah will be pleased with them if they allow themselves and even their children to be killed in the name of jihad. Ultimately, they are striving to gain Allah’s favor by the sacrifice of themselves and their families. In the end, this is one of the saddest and most tragic attempts of people to find favor from their deity.
But Hamas is not the only one striving to gain this favor. Throughout the world and through many different religions, people try many different methods to gain this favor. They go to church; they pay tithe; they try to do “good” things; perhaps they even try to serve their deity in one way or another.
But the Bible says that no person can reach God through his own efforts. John 3 records the meeting of Jesus and Nicodemus at night, a conversation that revolved around the idea of eternal life. In essence, Jesus was teaching Nicodemus how to receive eternal life and enter the kingdom of God. John 3:13 says, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” This verse is key in understanding the significance of Christ’s coming to earth. No one has ascended into heaven to attain salvation. No one has been able to procure salvation either for himself or for others. Romans 3:23 shows the failing of human effort when it says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Today in Gaza, Hamas is trying to do what people have done for centuries; try to gain the favor of a deity, but fall short. No one has ascended to heaven to bring salvation back to man.
But the second part of John 3:13 shows the remarkable gift that God has given to us. No one has ascended to God, but God has ascended to man. The Bible teaches that Jesus is eternally and fully God. But He took on the nature of man in order to provide salvation. Hebrews 2:14-15 says, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Christ took on the nature of people in order to provide salvation for us. Jesus, the eternal God, became man in order to save man. Truly no one has ascended to God, but God has descended to us to provide us with salvation. We never could measure up to God, so God provided His way of salvation, a way that is dependent on what He did for us, not what we do for Him. In Luke 1, we have the song of Zacharias after his son, John the Baptist, was born. A small portion of the song focuses on John the Baptist, but most of it focuses on God and what He would do through another baby who would soon be born, Jesus Christ. Luke 1:68 says, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; For he hath visited and redeemed his people.” Man cannot ascend to God, so God visited man to redeem them and bring them salvation (The idea of God “visiting” His people is a prevalent one throughout the Bible. It does not mean that God only “visits” for a short time and then leaves His people. Instead, it refers to God working and interacting with people in a special way. Sometimes God visits people in His mercy to help them, but at other times, particularly in the Old Testament, God visits them to judge them for sin). At this point in history, when man could do nothing to save himself or ascend into heaven on his own accord, God visited man. Jesus became man in order to bring salvation to us. God does not expect us to sacrifice ourselves or our families in order to gain His favor. Instead, God sacrificed His Son to pay for our sins and to grant us His favor (John 3:16; Hebrews 10:11-14). What a truly wonderful God we serve, One who did everything to provide our salvation for us. The reality of God’s grace and mercy should humble us, and it should cause us to return thanks to God. We could do nothing to earn our salvation or ascend our way to God, so God visited us, saving us from our sin, giving us an eternal home in heaven, and showering us with blessings beyond our comprehension. What a wonderful God we serve, the God who would visit us.
–Pastor Tim

One thought on “The God Who Visits Us

  1. Hannah

    Great connection between current events and the worldwide state of men’s hearts. One of my favorites of the recent posts.

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