During Advent, I will preach a sermon series called “Jesus Came for Us” about why Jesus came into the world and who He came to save. Of course, Jesus came into the world to save sinners, to rescue people like you and me who would be forever lost without God’s grace offered through Jesus Christ.
Through the four Sundays of Advent, we will talk about Jesus coming for people who are overwhelmed (Dec. 2), for those trapped in spiritual and emotional bondage (Dec. 9), for sinners drowning in shame (Dec. 16), and for people like each of us who have real needs we can’t solve ourselves (Dec. 23). Jesus came for us.
I hope these messages will speak not only to our faithful church members but also to anyone ready to hear a word of hope and encouragement. With that in mind, I would like to ask you to invite friends and family members to join us for worship during Advent. I have prepared invitation cards with information about our worship times and this sermon series. Please pick up an invitation and hand it to a neighbor, co-worker, relative, friend or anyone else who might be open to hearing the good news about why Jesus came into the world.
The first message, on December 2, will explore Jesus’ invitation to people feeling overwhelmed with the burdens of life. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus calls to Himself all “who are weary and burdened.” He offers “rest for your souls” under His easy and light yoke.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Everyone does, sometimes. People carry financial burdens of debt and mounting expenses, and social burdens of trying to fit in and be accepted by others. We carry the load of strained relationships, stress at work, and the needs of people we love. Even more, we struggle under the weight of spiritual burdens like shame and doubt.
Jesus said, “Come to Me.” This remains His invitation of grace to everyone feeling overwhelmed, stressed out or just tired of carrying a heavy load. Jesus invites us to come to Him, but first, Jesus came to us. He didn’t wait up in heaven for people to search for Him and make us climb up to His heavenly throne. No, Jesus came to us, born as a helpless child, offering Himself into a world of need so He could hand deliver this invitation of rest.
Jesus doesn’t want the people He loves to feel overwhelmed by the pressures of life. He wants to set us free and to lift burdens from our shoulders. He offers us to a peace that fills our hearts now, in this life, and will last for all eternity.
What is extraordinary about Jesus’ offer of rest for the weary is that He grants us rest and peace by means of His own sacrifice, suffering and death. The rest Jesus offers is not simply a good night’s sleep or a few days of R&R at the lake. Jesus’ death and resurrection bring us rest for our souls, peace for our hearts that so often beat rapidly under the spiritual oppression of a dark and troubled world. Jesus’ victory over sin, evil and death assure us that we can rest in God’s loving presence.
This is why Jesus came into the world. This is the good news of Christmas that we are called to share with the people around us. May God bless your Christmas celebration with rest and peace, and may He bless our church as we share His love and message with those in need.