A Word for the Weary

“The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary.”
(Isaiah 50:4)

 A Word for the Weary,

“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can”
J.R.R. Tolkien

Each of us in on a journey, a road that goes ever on and on. There are days when the journey can seem like a pleasant stroll through lush grass, the sun shining warm on your face, the wind softly at your back. Then there are days when we are weary of the journey, the road is rocky and uneven: This message is a word for the weary.

The road is long and filled with dangers, heartbreaks, disappointments and griefs. You have been let down and hurt, and, if you’re honest, you have caused the same to others.

At times it seems you walk alone, left in the dust of those who move at a quicker pace, who’ve got it all together.

At times it seems the burden is too much to carry, too much to bear. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, but even that seems like a Herculean effort.

At times it seems that the way forward is clouded and uncertain is the destination. You are tempted to give up, to just stop where you are, to quit altogether.

Don’t give up. Do not despair.

God has a word for you, a word for the weary.

His word shows the way.

His word is a light unto your path.

His word assures, encourages, and strengthens the weary.

What is this word of God? Well, it’s not a “what” but a who.

The word of God for you is the Word made flesh: Jesus Christ.

He has come to be the way, the truth and the life.

He has come to shine the light on those who dwell in darkness.

He has come to be Emmanuel, God with Us, so that we are never again alone on the journey.

He has come to give the invitation:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28–30)

Writing this a week before Christmas, it is important for us to be reminded why He came. There is an old hymn (not really a Christmas Carol, but just as relevant) that shows us how Christ is the Word to the Weary. All who are weary: hear and come near. (Click here to listen)

Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus, ready, stands to save you,
Full of pity, joined with power.
He is able, He is able;
He is willing; doubt no more.

Come ye needy, come, and welcome,
God’s free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh.
Without money, without money
Come to Jesus Christ and buy.

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Bruised and broken by the fall;
If you tarry ’til you’re better,
You will never come at all.
Not the righteous, not the righteous;
Sinners Jesus came to call.

Sola Deo Gloria!

He Came for You

“[The Grace of God]… which now has been manifested
through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus,
who abolished death
and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel…”
(2 Timothy 1:10)

Here we are, once again, in the first week of another Advent Season. The Christmas decorations are up, the lights are shining, the music is playing, and The Christmas Story movie is undoubtedly already playing on a continuous cycle from now until the end of the month. Ah Christmas!

I’ve been especially struck by the idea of Advent this year. The word “advent” means “coming.” In the Advent Season, we celebrate Christ’s coming for our salvation, and are encouraged to remember, long for, and prepare for His glorious return. He has come, and He is coming again!

In my sermons this Advent, I’ve been asking the question, “Why Did Jesus Come?”  We’ve been looking at those verses where Jesus tells us why He came (to bring fire, to fulfill the law…).  Still, maybe a better question to ask would be, “For Whom Did Jesus Come?”

Thinking about the way Christ came to be with us, and who He came to be with – just thinking about this is staggering.

He came, from the realm of glory, to be born, meek and mild, the King of Glory enthroned in a humble manger. He came, heralded by the Heavenly Host of Angels, and was greeted by lowly, working-class shepherds. He came, full of grace and truth, teaching the wisdom of God, and He was surrounded by the blind, the sick, the poor, the outcast – all those who had been rejected by the world. He came full of righteousness and bringing the judgment of God, and was friend to sinners, the prostitutes and the tax collectors.

He came to these. He came for these. The Incarnate Word of God, Emmanuel, God with us, to seek and to save the lost.

Christ is the Lord of the universe – “by him all things were created… and in him all things hold together (Col 1:16-17) – therefore we must meet Him as He is. If we want to find Him, to know Him, to walk with Him, to be found with Him, then we need to first recognize ourselves among those for whom He came. We have to see our brokenness and our desperate need for a savior to come. We need to realize we are the blind, the sick, the poor, the sinner; we are the ones for whom He came. As long as we keep denying this truth about ourselves, then Jesus will always be coming for someone else, one of them over there. But once we realize who we are, and that we are the ones Jesus came for – then we will know Him and we will know great joy.

This is the tremendous grace and mercy that we find at Christmas, the beautiful reminder of God’s love in Advent. This is why the heavens rang out with “good news of great joy.” He has come for us. We did not deserve it, we could not earn it, but God loved us so much that He sent His Son for us. We are the ones for whom He came. He has come to be Savior to those dead in their sins, Shepherd to the lost, Healer of the sick, Light for those in darkness, Hope for those in despair, Friend of sinners.

This is the grace which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. This is the grace that comes to us in Advent. “Glory to God in the Highest!”